What have we learnt from the Cricket World Cup so far?
I’d say New Zealand and India are looking superb. Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh are lucky to still be in the tournament. Australia haven’t played as many overs as they’d have liked to at this point. Sri Lanka have miraculously flown under the radar and South Africa are confused as to who their best XI are. But taking all these aspects into consideration, each of these teams has made it to the quarter finals. So who will progress to the semis?
Let’s start with the easiest match to predict.
INDIA v BANGLADESH
On paper, this should be a comfortable victory for India. The defending champions have looked great this world cup and have yet to lose a game. The likes of Dhawan, Kholi, Raina, Dhoni and Shami are all looking brilliant so far. India gave the Proteas a real hiding , but they are not completely unbeatable. I would rather face India in the semi-final / final than face the Australians.
My Winner: INDIA
Strength: Their batting line up is powerful and they have a phenomenal finisher in Dhoni.
Weakness: Their bowling attack isn’t the best.
NEW ZEALAND v WEST INDIES
New Zealand are the other team that are unbeaten in the cricket world cup thus far and they are looking sensational. They’re playing as close to complete cricket as possible. Two opening bowlers that are bowling at over 140km/h and getting loads of swing at that pace too, making them unplayable at times. In the batting department, McCullum and Guptill are getting them off to flyers, while Williamson and Taylor are in form. At the back end, Anderson is finishing the innings off nicely.
The West Indies shouldn’t beat the New Zealand side, but anything can happen in the knock-out phase. The Windies are the entertainers of world cricket, which is why their style is more suited for the T20 format. This side must be an absolute nightmare for young captain, Jason Holder, to lead. But if Gayle bats for 30 overs and Holder continues his decent world cup form – they could run New Zealand close.
My Winner: NEW ZEALAND
Strength: Their opening bowlers and batsmen are hugely aggressive.
Weakness: Not many, possibly their strength in depth. Batsmen 5 – 8 and bowlers 4 and 5 are not as strong as other teams’.
AUSTRALIA v PAKISTAN
Once again – this one seems easy to predict. But I think that if there’s an upset in the quarters, it may come from Pakistan. They’re a strange side. Somehow they always seem to show up for tournaments and find themselves in the latter stages. Australia on the other hand, were beaten by New Zealand, had a no-result against Bangladesh due to rain, and then had a rain-affected match with the Scots. So only three matches (England, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) have gone the distance, which may have been why, in their final match against Scotland, Michael Clarke opted to change the batting order around. Some may be of the opinion that Australia have not played enough to gain momentum and win this match.
My Winner: AUSTRALIA
Strength: Explosive opening batsmen and deadly opening bowlers.
Weakness: Not enough time in the middle for the likes of Watson, Clarke and Haddin
SOUTH AFRICA v SRI LANKA
Anybody who tells you they are sure of the winner, knows nothing about the game of cricket. This is undoubtedly the best match of the quarter finals. Sri Lanka have batsmen who are in form; Sangakkara has scored four straight centuries in this world cup, and along with the form of Dilshan, it seems that they are seeing the ball like a watermelon.
This, to me, is their weakness though. These two have been so superb this world cup, that the rest of the Sri Lankans have not spent too much time batting. If South Africa can strike earlier, and have them 80/3 or 100/4, Sri Lanka could be in trouble. They are definitely a batting outfit. Their bowlers are doing the business, but not standing out. Malinga, as usual, is their main threat, but apart from that I can’t imagine the Protea batsmen are losing sleep over the likes of Matthews or Dilshan bowling to them.
South Africa’s batting has been solid this tournament, apart from the obvious exception of De Kock, the rest have been great. De Villiers, Miller, Rossouw, Faf, JP and Hash all average above 50 in the tournament and that’s what we need – a solid platform up top for the likes of Miller and JP to launch from later. Our bowlers have been decent too, the standout for me has been Abbott, who ironically will probably be left out for the quarters. Morkel and Steyn have been nothing more than good, but I’m convinced they’ll raise their games a notch or two now that it’s knock-out time. A lot will rely on Tahir in the middle overs, but nothing is more important than Steyn, Morkel, Philander or Abbott striking early and removing the top four as quickly as possible.
My Winner: Much depends on the toss – bat first and win, SOUTH AFRICA
Strength: All round solidness. Five great batsmen, four great bowlers.
Weakness: That seventh batter or that fifth bowler, the question that seems as old as time.
So I see the remaining four sides being:
AUSTRALIA v INDIA
SOUTH AFRICA v NEW ZEALAND
What do your guys think? Are we on the money here? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @leftbacks!