The article speaks about the chances of India, Australia and New Zealand in the World Cup Quarter Finals. They are not favourites. Sri Lanka and South Africa are equal in strength.
In the 2015 World Cup, the quarterfinals draw is ready. India take on Bangladesh. South Africa taken on Sri Lanka. New Zealand take on West Indies. Australia take on Pakistan.
India had got probably the weakest opposition in this world cup. Although Bangladesh had defeated England and created an upset, but they have limitations.
Bangladesh bowling only replies on spin attack with the likes of Shakib Al Hassan. India is the best team to play spin in this World Cup. So not only India will be defeating Bangladesh, it is going to be a one-sided match. India had batted the best in this World Cup. The great thing about Indian batting had been one or the other batsmen had become stars in the different matches. In some matches, Virat Kohli played match-winning innings, in the other ones it was Shikhar Dhawan, sometimes it was Ajinkya Rahane, now Suresh Raina and Dhoni joined the party. India’s fast bowlers Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma had bowled the best spells of their life. India’s only weak had been the spin bowling department. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja went for a lot of runs. Many teams had not targeted them and wasted wickets at the beginning before Mohammad Shami.
New Zealand is hot favourites opposite West Indies. New Zealand did not lose any match in this world cup. But the team had not tested. Firstly batting second New Zealand is not known as good chasers. Mccullum and Williamson is in form. Southee and Trent Boult bowled very well in home conditions. But they had not been tested in the knock out matches. But Ross Taylor had not performed to potential. Southee and Trent Boult fired in fast bowling aspect and Vettori did well. But West Indies has explosive batsmen like Gayle and Smith. The plan of action against these players will ensure the result of match. West Indies is capable of creating upset with fast bowlers like Holder. Even Jerome Taylor and Roach can make inroads in case the opponent team targets them without purpose.
Australia is ahead of Pakistan in home conditions. But there are many issues in batting and bowling. Firstly Warner and Smith did not fire. Maxwell’s batting is very uncertain. On one day he is a century hitter, on the other day he is duck-maker. A lot rests on the shoulders of Finch and Clarke. As far bowling is concerned it had been a complete Starc show. He had been the best left arm fast bowler of this world. He had bowled the fastest delivery of this world cup also at 155 kilometers per hour. He had captured 17 wickets in the pool matches and made inroads against best teams. Cummins was fine. But Johnson had been absolute failure. It is difficult to understand his fitness level. Pakistan on the other hand had been a late starter. But they are capable of beating the best team in the world on their day. The bowling line up of Pakistan is the best. Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riyay had shown the huge control over swing. The spin attack of Pakistan also had promise. It is going a close game between Australia and Pakistan. The team which wins the toss is going to have an edge. There is another striking point had been that left arm fast bowlers had been most successful in this world cup. Starc is left arm fast bowler. Trent Boult is left arm fast bowler. Johnson is left arm fast bowler. Pakistan has 3 left arm fast bowlers including Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz.
The best quarter finals is going to be the match between South Africa and Sri Lanka. None of them are favourites. Sri Lanka had batted very well in the World Cup. Even in the match against Australia, Sri Lanka chased the run very well. They eventually lost the match. But the batting of Chandimal was excellent in addition to the brilliant batting of Jayawardana, Sangakarra and Dilshan. Sri Lanka did not impress with the bowling in this world cup. Malinga had bowled well. But the spinners including Mendis was very average in performance. Sangakarra is in his best form. He had already scored 4 centuries and being the last tournament before retirement he will play with purpose. Before the World Cup started the biggest hype was in respect of Virat Kohli. After the first round, Sangakarra emerged as highest run-getter and consistent in the World Cup. If he gets able support from Jayavardana and Dilshan Sri Lanka can score above 330 runs batting first and second.
South Africa on the other hand is a good team only on paper. They had been termed chokers. They could not dismantle that image in the last 20 years. They did not win any World Cup. Neither did they entered the finals of any world cup. They miserably lost the group league matches against India and Pakistan. They showed the opposition that they are worst chasers. If Sri Lanka bats first South Africa will definitely lose the match.
South Africa’s only strength is bowling. In this World Cup Dale Steyn had been economical but did not strike early. Morne Morkel had been the best bowler of South African team. With his extra height he had extracted great bounce. So he can make the difference in the quarter finals. The batting of South Africa is only dependent on the shoulders of AB Devilliers. If he fails the team fails. Amla and Du Plessis are mediocre players and are vulnerable. South Africa had always failed when they batted second. They had shown that the pressure of scoring more than 280 runs batting second could not be taken by the team. Players like Miller and Duminy did not perform to their strengths. In respect of bowling Philander did not play the matches due to injury. Imran Tahir did well opposite weak teams but failed against India and Pakistan. So it is evident that the chances of bowling economical spells opposite Sri Lanka is also very rare.
Mickey Mantle: Inside and Outside the Lines is a Memoir of Friendship between Mickey Mantle and lifelong fan and admirer.
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