Top cricketing guns: No miracles this time
It has been a thundering start to the World Cup so far with the favourites showing their mettle and also bringing on a show of force against the minnows. Unlike previous editions though, with the way the pools are designed, it seems we are not going to see any surprises when it comes to deciding the final eight.
Sure, one of the minnows –and I am counting Zimbabwe and Bangladesh among them – might pull off a surprise win or two, but they will probably not make it past the quarter-finals.
Canada might live up to their billing and give some of the big boys a scare, but nothing more. Ireland have had their moment of glory when they dumped Pakistan out of the last World Cup, but they will not find it as easy this time around. Netherlands also face an uphill task getting used to the conditions, and making a presence felt.
This is the subcontinent. Here the weather is hot and sultry, conditions are dicey, and the fans are manic, if not downright maniacal, and the minnows may find the conditions a bit too hot to handle.
India and Sri Lanka have established their supremacy, first by posting impressive totals, albeit against very weak rivals, and then by closing out their matches by huge margins. And from the looks of it, while Australia may not have posted a gigantic total, they more than made up for it by reducing the Zimbabwe batting line-up to shreds and ensuring that the margin of victory was no less impressive.
I know victories against weaker sides mean nothing but it does show how serious these three teams are about taking the trophy home.
The conditions in the subcontinent are the most difficult to play in and teams like Ireland, Canada and Zimbabwe really don’t have a lot of experience here, so they are not expected to perform any miracles. On the other hand, favourites like India, Sri Lanka and Australia have incredible win-loss ratios here. Sri Lanka may not be very impressive in India, but their record at home – where they will be playing most of their matches – is enviable and downright daunting.
In fact, of all the teams, Australia have the best record in India. These are the three teams to watch out for – they mean business. And if South Africa or England are looking for a first-ever World Cup win, they have an uphill task ahead of them. New Zealand have made a strong start as well, but their recent track record against stronger teams has been horrendous.
Meanwhile, if Pakistan want to add to their 1992 title, they will have to play like a professional unit and not like a bunch of highly-talented but poorly-focused geniuses, which they usually do.
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