We have reached the knock-out stage in the ICC cricket world cup. Two matches are left with one being inconsequential. In the final eight there are no surprises. All the expected teams, including England and West Indies, have reached the last eight. Three teams who have never won a World Cup and five teams who have won the World Cup more than once. That leaves us with four high powered quarter-final matches.
Three teams fancy their chances
South Africa were the favorites. One thing or the other has denied South Africa their World Cup glory. A stupid rain rule, a blistering knock by Lara, a patient knock by Steve Waugh, a dropped catch by Hershelle Gibbs, or human error by Lance Klusner and Allan Donald. South Africa have found more ways than one to lose the Cup.
New Zealand and England have never won the competition. England not winning the cup sounds ironic, but it is true. What are their chances of England winning this time? The chances are still the same. New Zealand is one team alongside Pakistan which is hard to predict. Even for the so called pundits.
The best part of this World Cup is every team is vulnerable, every team was beaten and there are no clear favorites.
India won’t meet Pakistan (until the semis)
It has never happened that India hasn’t played Pakistan in a world cup. There are high chances that this might not happen. There are equally high chances that India and Pakistan could meet either in semi-finals or finals. Pakistan are almost certain to reach semi-finals with a chance to play either England or West Indies in the quarter finals. Both teams Pakistan can fancy its chances against. For India though the outlook looks grim. Theywill either meet Sri Lanka or Australia, the teams which have been India’s nemeses in previous editions of the cup. Given India’s clean record against Pakistan in the world cup, India would rather meet Pakistan sooner.
Reviewing the reviews!
The most irritating part of the world cup is reviewing the umpire decisions. It has gotten to a ridiculous level of umpires shrugging of their on-field responsibilities, testing the team’s confidence levels and leaving everything to the man upstairs until the reviews are exhausted. This means cricket is no longer a gentleman’s game. In the Australia Pakistan match, Ricky Ponting nicked the ball to the keeper. The nick was so hard that someone sitting on his couch and watching the match on a 21 inch telly could tell it. The umpire decided – why take a chance. Ricky Ponting was bewildered with all the excitement from the Pakistani cricketers. He made a, now almost famous, Ponting Face. A cricketing substitute for poker face. Ponting could have just walked. He didn’t. He just wanted to run out Pakistan’s reviews. Ponting did that with success. This could become a strategy soon. There is no compelling reason to keep the reviews on. Tournament success rate is 20% and the reviews are just confusing and rely on technology which we are not too sure of.
Cricket World Cup 2011 has turned out to be a more interesting affair than anticipated. There were upsets, excellent run chases, great bowling wins and a tied match. I also wanted to say that the 50 over game is far from over, but enough was said about it already.