1. Shimron Hetmyer: Floppy hat, swagger in his stride, flamboyant follow through, Hetmyer is a throwback to the Caribbean batsmen from the era gone by.
Captain of the under-19 West Indies team that won the World Cup, Hetmyer has had an explosive start to his international career. An average of 40 in his first 25 games with a very impressive strike rate of 110, including 4 centuries, gives a good indication of his potential. His presence in the middle order means you won’t expect West Indies to slow down at any point during the innings.
2. Hazratullah Zazai: Another left hander, this time the opening batsman from Afghanistan. Zazai first grabbed attention when he smashed 6 sixes in 6 balls during the Afghanistan Premier League. Earlier this year, he smashed 162* off 62 balls against Ireland in a T20 international in a record-breaking team total of 278.
Partnered at the top by the explosive Shahzad, this opening partnership may hold the key to Afghanistan’s World Cup run. They have the bowlers to challenge any batsmen in the world, but it is their batting which generally falls short. If Zazai hits form, that may well change.
3. KL Rahul: Bit of a surprise to see him there? Well, while Rahul has been around the Test team for a long time, he has found opportunities in ODIs much harder to come by.
He has played only 14 ODIs till date, mainly due to the formidable combination of Rohit and Dhawan at the top. However, with the number 4 slot opening up for him, he will have the chance to add to his 14 ODI caps during this tournament. In good form after an excellent IPL and a 100 in the warm-up game against Bangladesh, Rahul will be looking to make that number 4 spot his own and bolster that Indian middle order.
4. Asif Ali: One of the real finds of the PSL, Asif Ali is the big hitter Pakistan desperately needed lower down the order.
Having suffered huge personal tragedy earlier this month, Asif has re-joined the side in England this week. His form in the lower middle order will be crucial for Pakistan to provide the high tempo finish to their innings. With a strike rate of over 130, he has shown he is very capable of doing that, but needs to add a little more consistency to his game at that Number 6 spot. If he finds that consistency in this tournament, the bowling teams better watch out.
5. Rassie van der Dussen: Filling the boots of AB de Villiers in the South African middle order is a near impossible task, and it may fall to a rookie batsman in his first year of international career.
At 30, he is not really young and has been around the cricketing world having played in Canada, the Caribbean, and of course South Africa. He had an excellent start to his international career against Pakistan and continued the good touch in Sri Lanka, and is currently averaging 88 in his short ODI career. South Africa have one of the most frightening bowling attack in the World Cup, and if their batsmen click to back them up, who knows, this may finally be their year.