On this off-day in World Cup, let us look at the remaining schedule and analyze who has the best shot of reaching the Semi-finals. Beyond that it will become really difficult to predict who will emerge as winners and fight for the Championship, though my gut feeling says Australia might become the first team to win the title three times in a row.
On Saturday April 7th, South Africa takes on Ireland and should win the match without any hiccups in spite of some strong resistance by the Irish fighters. Then on Sunday April 8th, England will be facing Australia in do or die battle. It will be almost an elimination game for them and going by John Buchanan’s words Australia will not be taking them easy and by all means would like to avenge their defeat of CB finals to send England packing and lock their spot in last four.
England can still fancy their chances of reaching semi finals if South Africa loses all of their last three Super 8 games. In which case the final Super 8 game between England and West Indies will decide who will be taking the final spot in the Semi finals. But going by the superb form of the springboks it is very unlikely to happen. So by all probabilities England’s encounter against their traditional rivals will be deciding their fate in the tournament.
The Kiwis in all likelihood will be locking their spot on Monday Apr 9th and will be reaching the last four stage of World Cup for the fifth time. They never reached the finals of World Cup having lost in each of their semi final games in 1975.1979, 1992 and 1999 and will be very eager to contest for the top prize on Apr 28th.
Sri Lana’s next two games against New Zealand on Apr 12th and against Australia on Apr 16th will be very interesting especially by the time they take on those teams both those teams from down under would have already made it to the last four stage barring some last minute surprises by the fighting Irish. If Sri Lanka loses both those games they will have a chance to beat the Ireland themselves on Apr 18th and head to the last four.
As far as the Hosts of this tournament are concerned, their progress to the last four is almost over. Though mathematically they are not yet eliminated, they need to pass through the acid test against South Africa and then have to win very big against Bangladesh before knocking out England on the last day of the Super 8s stage.
At this point both Ireland and Bangladesh will not have a chance especially with the top four teams of the tournament taking nothing for granted. Of course one of them can take pride by winning the Battle of Minnows on next Sunday April 15th.
Australia, Sri Lanka will qualify on points and South Africa and New Zealand qualify on higher run rate to the last four. I know I am way off the mark. Some of the games are too easy to predict the results whereas some of them I wanted to be that way to keep the interest right through the Super 8s stage.
As of today the points table stands as shown below. Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka all with six points each heads the table. But Sri Lanka has played one game more than Australia and New Zealand. Remember all teams carried forward a game from the Group stages along with the points they have won against the other Super 8 qualifier.
Go ahead and make your predictions, you stand to gain more points in doing so than answering any of the ‘QUIZTIONS OF THE DAY’.
Remember to email your answers ( Predictions for this Quiztion) for each quiz individually to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the subject line as 'Quiztion of the Day - X' (X being the question number) through out the tournament duration. Results will be first posted on http://www.dreamcricket.com/
website within a week of the World Cup Final.