"Once I got past that stage and I got full body cramps"
As the 2023 ICC World Cup reached its thrilling end, fans have been treated to an exhilarating spectacle that transcended boundaries and united nations in a shared passion for cricket.
The tournament has showcased breathtaking team and individual displays of skill, unwavering determination and moments that etched themselves into the annals of cricketing history.
From record-breaking performances to thrilling matches, each moment contributed to the World Cup and will be remembered for years to come.
Join us as we relive the magic of the 2023 ICC World Cup, celebrating the best of the best in an unforgettable showcase of cricketing excellence.
As India and Australia faced off in the final on November 19, 2023, we look at seven of the best moments from the tournament.
Glenn Maxwell’s Heroics
Australia reached the semi-final thanks to a sensational performance by Glenn Maxwell.
Afghanistan had posted a total of 291-5 and reduced Australia to 91-7 in the 19th over, leaving the side with a slim chance of progressing through the tournament.
But Maxwell put on a stunning display and scored an unbeaten 201 runs to defeat Afghanistan by three wickets.
However, it took a toll on Maxwell as he was heavily cramped and struggled to run.
After the match, he revealed: “I started having a bit of a stiff back, which became back spams throughout the middle of my innings.
“That was just from fielding during the heat of the day, bowling 10 overs in a few different spells, then sitting down for an hour and a half after fielding. I froze up a little bit before I went out to bat.
“Different body parts started going at different times. The first thing was the middle toe on my right foot started to bend back and I thought, ‘Oh no, this is going to be horrible’.
“The next few overs were so frustrating – I was facing up, knowing my foot was just about to go into cramps. I knew I was not going to be able to run soon.
“My normal limit is facing 40 to 50 balls. Once I got past that stage and I got full body cramps, I was in a bit of trouble.
“I started breathing really fast and it was like I was going into shock. I told my wife that’s the second most pain I’ve ever been in [after breaking my leg last year].
“My whole body was shaking because I felt like I couldn’t get any air in. The physio came out and started trying to control my breathing. There was a little bit of panic because I just didn’t know what to do, I was in so much pain, I didn’t know how to stop it.”
Afghanistan upset England
Current World Cup holders England suffered a major shock at the hands of Afghanistan in Delhi.
A lacklustre bowling performance allowed Afghanistan to reach 284 all out. But England’s batters succumbed under the pressure and were bowled out for 215.
It was Afghanistan’s first win over England in any format and second win at a 50-over World Cup. The achievement was celebrated by their fans in the stadium.
Afghanistan went on to replicate their remarkable feat with an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan.
Afghanistan’s top three batters smashed fifties while their captain, Hashmatullah Shahidi, made an unbeaten 48 in their pursuit of a 283-run victory target.
It was Afghanistan’s first ODI victory against Pakistan.
Aiden Markram’s Fastest Century
Aiden Markram hit the fastest World Cup century as South Africa’s 428-5 was a statement 102-run victory over Sri Lanka.
Markram reached his hundred off 49 balls, one quicker than Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien against England in Bangalore in 2011.
Afterwards, he credited England’s aggressive playstyle.
Markram said: “They almost started this way of playing, and other teams have got to keep up.
“If they are going to keep making big scores, you are going to have to find a way to try and get there.”
“I would certainly say that they initiated it, and now you look at world cricket in general – it has followed in that same direction.
“That 2019 World Cup was massive, seeing how things came to fruition for them, and in the years afterwards to see how everyone else is following speaks volumes about what they did.”
He also said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if his record was beaten by the end of the tournament. Just 18 days later, Glenn Maxwell broke it.
Australia vs New Zealand
Australia vs New Zealand proved to be an all-time classic as it became the highest-scoring World Cup game in history.
Australia was initially in pole position after a 175-run opening partnership from Travis Head and David Warner.
Their final total was 388.
But a century from Rachin Ravindra kept the Black Caps on track before their last recognised batter Jimmy Neesham stepped up for an impressive cameo.
He scored 58 off 39 balls, however, it was not enough and Australia won by five runs.
With a total of 771 runs, it was the highest-scoring game at a World Cup, beating the 754 scored in South Africa’s win against Sri Lanka earlier in the tournament.
Virat Kohli has enjoyed a spectacular tournament but it was his semi-final performance against New Zealand that broke numerous records.
One of the highlights was scoring the most runs in a single ODI World Cup.
He went past Sachin Tendulkar’s mark of 673 runs, a record which had stood for 20 years.
Kohli broke the record with a single against Glenn Phillips.
Kohli also became only the third Indian batter to score 600 runs in a World Cup campaign.
It was also Kohli’s eighth 50+ score of the 2023 World Cup, the most anyone has ever managed in a single tournament.
During the match, he reached a record 50th ODI century, causing the crowd to erupt.
Kohli eventually went out for 117 but his performance helped India to a 70-run win and take them to the final.
India crush Sri Lanka
India sealed a place in the semi-finals by thrashing Sri Lanka by 302 runs.
Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill scored a combined 189, eventually giving Sri Lanka a mammoth 358 target.
It was India’s bowlers that shone.
Sri Lanka had a nightmare start, losing four wickets for three runs inside four overs.
Mohammed Shami’s five for 18 made him India’s leading wicket-taker in ODI World Cups, with 45 wickets in just 14 matches.
Mohammed Siraj also did a lot of damage, taking three wickets for a loss of just 16 runs.
After qualifying for the semi-final, captain Rohit Sharma said:
“We’re very happy knowing we have officially qualified.”
“It’s been a good effort from the entire squad, it has been clinical, we’ve wanted individuals to put their hands up.”
Australia Win the World Cup
India and Australia faced off in the final in front of over 130,000 spectators.
India took to the crease first, however, their batting appeared more cautious than usual.
This was coupled with excellent bowling and fielding by Australia.
India ended their innings on 240 all out.
But India hit back, reducing Australia to 47-3.
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne weathered the storm with a combined total of 192. Head in particular put on a dazzling display, scoring 132.
Australia went on to win by six wickets and secure a sixth ICC World Cup.
Player of the match Travis Head said: “Not in a million years did I think that would happen [being man of the match today and in the World Test Championship final].
“What an amazing day. I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.
“It is a lot better than being sat on the couch at home!
“I’m very lucky that everything went well and I was able to get back and the support that the boys showed, I didn’t think this would happen.
“I was nervous in the first 20 balls but Marnus [Labuschagne] batted brilliantly and it is great to bat with him. It was an amazing partnership.”
Throughout the 2023 ICC World Cup, cricket enthusiasts have reflected on an unforgettable journey marked by certain highlights.
The 2023 ICC World Cup has not only added new chapters to the cricketing history books but has also left an indelible mark on the hearts of fans who revelled in the thrill of each match.
After Australia won the World Cup for the sixth time, the memories forged during these remarkable moments will endure, serving as a reminder of the magic that unfolded on the field.
The 2023 ICC World Cup has left an indelible legacy, and the echoes of these seven best moments will resonate in cricketing conversations for generations to come.