There's something about the World Cup that brings out the best in some players who are privileged to be a part of it. By the same token, some others put on their most deplorable showing. The two sides of the coin is an inevitability when one considers how high the stakes are. Going all out to win, some succeed admirably, leaving their mark for generations to be overawed by. While others falter miserably, leaving a black spot to be forever ashamed of. Oneindia Cricket notes some of the positive and negative records set by teams and individuals alike in the glorious, all-supreme tournament known as the World Cup.
Since there's seldom anything more exciting than watching a sextet of runs garnered with one powerful biff, we first look at the most number of sixes hit by individual players in the big tournament. Australian captain Ricky Ponting bears that distinction, blasting a tally of 30 maximums in 39 games. He is followed by South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs with 28, Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya with 27, Sourav Ganguly with 25 and Ponting's compatriot Matthew Hayden with 23.
While the Little Master is short-ways down the list of the 6-hitters, he holds the record for most repetitions of the second most celebrated scoring shot - the four. Sachin Tendulkar has hit the ball a record 189 times to the fence, in 36 matches. That's an average of more than 5x4s a match. Australian opener Adam Gilchrist comes in second with 141 fours, followed by New Zealand's Stephen Fleming with 134 fours and the Ricky Ponting with 130 fours and West Indies stalwart Brian Lara, with 124.
Not surprisingly, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar share the record for the most number of centuries in World Cups at 4 a piece. But they are not alone in this regard - former Australian opener Mark Waugh and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly also have 4 World Cup centuries under their belt.
But Sachin also holds the record for the most number of half-centuries in the history of the big global tournament - with 17 fifty-plus scores. Ricky Ponting and Herschelle Gibbs share the second position, having both scored 10 half centuries each in cricket World Cups held to date.
Scoring big totals in matches is all about striking up those meaty partnerships along the way. Going back into World Cup history, one will discover that most of the longest stands have come from Indian batsmen. Ex-skippers Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly were involved in the highest partnership in World Cups. In a match against Sri Lanka in the 1999 edition, they put together 318 runs for the second wicket. The second best partnership in the event also belongs to the Indians. Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly got together to score 244 runs for the second wicket, in a game against Namibia in the 2003 Cricket World Cup.
Since, the batsmen's strike rate has been a factor that has come in for a lot of scrutiny in the last few World Cups, it's interesting to note that South Africa's Lance Klusener bears the biggest power-quotient for the player with the highest batting average in a tournament (140.50), that being the 1999 edition, with a staggering 122.17 runs per hundred balls faced.
On that note, kudos to Aussie opener Matthew Hayden for notching up the fastest century in World Cup cricket. The record ton came off just 66 balls, against South Africa in a 2007 league game. Thus, Hayden had beaten Canada's Jim Davison's record of a century off 67 deliveries faced in a group-stage match against the West Indies in the 2003 edition.
The fastest half-century in the big tournament is by New Zealand's Brendon McCullum against Canada in St Lucia, 2007. He got it off just 20 balls, overtaking the Proteas' Mark Boucher, who had made a 21-ball fifty against Netherlands less than a week previous. Jim Davison of Canada reached his fifty off just 30 deliveries.
Meanwhile, South Africa's Hershcelle Gibbs became the first batsman in the World Cup to score 6 sixes in an over, against the Netherlands in a 2007 group game.
Another feather to India's cap is the highest team total ever scored in World Cup history, which is 413/5 against Bermuda, made on 19th March 2007. That day, Virendra Sehwag made 114 off 87 balls with 17 fours and 3 sixes, Yuvraj Singh 83 off 46 and Sachin Tendulkar 57 off 29 balls, batting at number 6. It was the lone bright spot to an otherwise disasterous World Cup which India exited in the first round itself.
The second highest team total was 398/5, which was notched up by Sri Lanka against Kenya in the 1996 World Cup. Then Australia compiled 377/6 against South Africa in the 2007 edition, while India made 373 against Sri Lanka in crucial group game in the 1999 World Cup and New Zealand hit up 363/5 against Canada in the 2007 edition.
On the flip side, Canada brings up the rear with the lowest total ever in the big event - 36, which it was all out for in 18.4 overs, against Sri Lanka in the 2003 World Cup. Then Namibia shares with Canada, the second lowest total in World Cups, both being bowled out for 45, by Australia in 2003 and England in 1979, respectively. Scotland's 68 all out against the Windies in 1999 and Pakistan's 74 all out versus England in 1992, round off the 5 lowest scores in World Cups.
Finally, it can be either disheartening or humorous (depending on whose side you're on) when recognised batsmen get out for no-score. Kiwi Nathan Astle leads the list of World Cup duck-makers with 5 from 22 matches along with Pakistan's Ijaz Ahmed, from 29 matches. They are followed by the West Indies' Keith Arthurton, South Africa's A B de Villiers, Pakistan's Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ireland's Kyle McCallan and India's Kris Srikkanth, all who have 4 ducks a piece.