Cricket World Cup Review – II

Finally, after a month long saga, group games concluded with the ICC top 8 making it to the knock out stage. Pakistan finished top of Group A, trouncing Australia effortlessly. Ponting and his men look highly vulnerable, only a miracle can help them retain their trophy. On the other hand toppers, Pakistan pleasantly surprised us with their fielding efforts, I remember they almost messed up a game due to poor fielding. Meantime, Umar Gul is reversing and swinging the ball late, I have never seen any bowler move the white ball in that fashion, his form will be crucial as Pakistan takes on an unpredictable Indies team.

Other qualifiers from Group A are Sri lanka and New Zealand. Both teams have their strengths and disturbing weaknesses. Sri Lanka is over reliant on Sangakara, rest of the batting line up has been scratchy, bowling too has been on-off. New Zealand as always are wild and thrilling, never know which way they would go. New Zealand will take on South Africa, my prediction is either they will blast away the Africans or loose by a huge margin, no scope for a close game.

Group B has remained exciting till the very last league game. However, it was England and Bangladesh who provided the best moments in the last two weeks. Bangla tigers culled England in a dramatic fashion, few days later england who had to win to survive in the CWC, beat an indisciplined WI in a thriller. Meantime, SA destroyed Bangla dreams of making it to the Quarters. Barring a familiar collapse against England, SA has been top of its game throughout the tournament. Their win against India proves that they can handle pressure and pull off victories under tense situations.

India had a very ordinary time. Batting disasters and listless bowling has planted huge doubts in the mind of fans and experts on its chances to win this WC. We are no more the favorites in the tournament. Batting, which was supposedly our stronghold came apart during the powerplay each and every time we batted first. Bowling has been terrible, Harbhajan and Zaheer have hardly done anything noteworthy, If India has to do well at the Knock Stages, these two gentlemen have to come good, now is the time which matters the most. On the brighter side, three Indian Batsmen are going strong. Sachin thundered two centuries [ We didn’t win any of those games though ], Sehwag is at his belligerent best. Yuraj has risen like a Phoenix and reaffirmed the good old saying – Form is temporary, Class is permanent.

For the first time since the 1987 edition, every team from this stage seems to have an equal chance of winning the trophy. All the eight teams have their issues, no one is outstanding, no one looks threatening, no one carries the clout of a world champion. It’s all even. Whichever team plays three  good games from here will clinch the cup. I am hoping the big guns will rise to the occasion.

Looking forward to the Quarter Finals, especially, India v/s Australia. 😀

 

 

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