Arguably one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the 12th edition of the ICC World Cup is set to enthrall cricket enthusiasts when it kickstarts from 30th May, pitting the likes of hosts England and exciting South Africa against each other. Over a span of 45 days and across 48 scintillating contests, the ICC mega event is expected to bring the best of the participating nations in what promises to be an exciting affair.
But, the World Cup isn't just about winning the coveted trophy. In fact, cricket's biggest tournament has a history of bringing exciting contests, fiery duels and individual brilliances to the fore. And, this year promises to be no different.
From the top wicket-takers to leading run-scorers, the upcoming ICC tournament has had the cricket fans wondering who'd claim the top honours in individual performances. While we will discuss the wicket-taking heroes in another article, let's discuss the probables for the batting honours this year.
When it comes to scoring most runs in the World Cups, no one comes close to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who scored 2,278 runs across six tournaments he played. Though Tendulkar's record will take some doing, but the current batting geniuses of the game will surely be eager to make a mark at the biggest stage.
Going purely by numbers, here's a look at five batsmen who might be seen ruling the charts in the list of leading run-getters at the World Cup this year.
Undeniably one of best batsmen in the world right now, Virat Kohli will be the key to India's charge at this year's World Cup. The Indian captain needs no introduction to batting and the fact that, at the age of 30, he has already slammed 41 ODI hundreds - only behind Tendulkar's tally of 49 tons, shows how special and consistent this lad is.
But, that's not all. Kohli is going into the World Cup with a formidable form and, for someone who takes a special liking to big events, he is surely expected to reign supreme in England and Wales. To back that claim with numbers, Kohli has scored 4,306 runs at an average of 78.29 - most by any batsmen in ODIs since the World Cup in 2015.
While it's really hard to predict whether he'll actually emerge as the leading run-scorer at the upcoming event, the numbers surely tip him as one of the favourites. And, given his artistry with the willow, we might end up seeing a Kohli special this year.
One of the most devastating openers in limited-overs cricket, Rohit Sharma, having begun his career as a middle-order batsman, found his true calling at the top of the order. A preferred opener by the Indian team management, Rohit has made the opening spot his own on the back of spectacular performances in white-ball cricket.
His malleable wrists and knack to find the gaps have all added to his batting masterclass which continues to evolve over the years. Just like his skipper Kohli, Rohit will also be one of the vital cogs in India's dreams of lifting their third World Cup trophy this year. Since the 2015 edition of the World Cup, Rohit has amassed 3,790 ODI runs at an average of 61.12 - only behind Kohli in the elite list.
His last stint in England saw him smashing an unbeaten 137 in the first ODI in Nottingham - something that should bolster his confidence going into the World Cup. The right-handed batsman is coming off a title-winning season with Mumbai Indians who lifted a record fourth IPL trophy this season. While there is no doubt over Rohit's abilities, the Indian opener will need convert his starts into big figures if he intends to challenge other batsmen for the top batting honours at the World Cup.
For someone who was tipped as a future England captain at the age of 23, Joe Root has not only lived up to the billing, but has also successfully managed to rally his troops in the build-up to the World Cup at home. Rated amongst the top batsmen in the world, Root, on his day, is more than capable of running away with the game.
At this year's World Cup, Root will surely be a key player, providing the much-needed stability to their batting line-up. If playing at home doesn't strengthen his case, the fact that Root has slammed 3,498 runs at an average of 58.30 in ODIs (since the 2015 World Cup) further makes a probable candidate for the top batting honours in the upcoming event.
The right-handed batsman will be seen leading England's charge at the ICC spectacle, but while his leadership skills will be put to test, Root's batting might cannot be questioned.
One of the batting mainstays for England over the years, Eoin Morgan will once again be seen stabilising the innings for his side while plying his trade in the middle-order. The left-handed batsman has all the experience he needs to make this event his own and playing in familiar conditions further helps his cause.
Predictions apart, according to the numbers, believe it or not, Morgan is placed fourth in the list of leading run-scorers in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. The left-hander has scored 3,039 runs at an average of 46.75 - something that surely makes him one of the probables for the top batting honours at the World Cup this year.
For those who need more than just numbers to believe his batting might, Morgan, recently, broke a roof tile with a huge six during the fifth ODI between England against Pakistan at Headingley. How's that for intent?
Quinton de Kock
A sweet timer of the ball who thrives on his fearless striking abilities, Quinton de Kock has established himself as South Africa's preferred opening batsman over the years. The left-handed batsman, who grew up as a baseball player, can take on any opposition bowling attack and give them a run for their money with his brutal hitting.
De Kock goes into this year's World Cup with 2,971 runs at an average of 50.33 in ODIs. There's no surprise to see him at the fifth spot in the list of top run-getters in the 50-over format since the 2015 edition of the World Cup. To put things in perspective, De Kock has amassed 353 runs, including three fifties and a hundred, in his last five ODI innings.
Given the conditions, De Kock is likely to cherish the challenge and tear into the opposition bowling attack. His success with the willow will be key to South Africa's hopes of getting rid of the 'chokers' tag and clinch their maiden World Cup title this year.