Thu, Mar 10, 10:36am by Kevin Pitstock
We’re almost halfway through the 2011 ICC World Cup and everything has mostly gone to plan so far.
Most of the established cricket nations find themselves occupying the top four spots in each group, while the minnows hover at the bottom.
Let’s analyse the top team’s performances so far and what the immediate future might hold for them:
New Zealand – The Kiwi’s secured a quarter-final spot after a super impressive victory over Pakistan a few days ago. Will beat Canada on Sunday and should go into the clash against Sri Lanka with a nothing-to-lose mentality, especially due to the fact the game will be played in India, not Sri Lanka. They should finish second or third due to a healthy Net Run-Rate.
Pakistan – No doubt the Pakistani’s have been the surprise packet of the tournament to date after a wonderful victory against Sri Lanka. However their loss to New Zealand deeply hindered their chances of finishing on top of the group. Barring a massive mishap, they will beat Zimbabwe on Monday but will struggle to knockoff the in-form Aussies.
Sri Lanka – Safe to say the Sri Lankan’s have been a little disappointing so far. Their loss to Pakistan was uncalled for and might prove even more costly after their match against Australia was washed out due to bad weather. They should beat Zimbabwe tonight, but needs to defeat the Kiwis Friday week to ensure a high finish in the group.
Australia – Despite their fourth ranking in the group, the Aussies couldn’t be in a better position right now. Their washed out result against Sri Lanka doesn’t matter too much because the Lankans lost to Pakistan earlier in the tournament and then the Kiwi’s beat Pakistan a few nights ago. They have got the two minnow teams in the next week and a victory against the Pakistani’s on Saturday week should see them finish top of the table.
India – The Indians haven’t lost a game yet, but will be filthy they let their match against England end in a tie. However the majority of their team is in fantastic form, particularly the top order batsmen. They will face their toughest opposition yet in South Africa this Saturday night, but a win would almost certainly secure them top spot in Group B.
England – At the halfway point of the tournament, the Poms are probably the hardest team to read at the moment. They sit second on the table, but are just one point ahead of West Indies and South Africa, who have played one less game. They lost the unlosable game to Ireland, then won the unwinnable against the Proteas. With injuries mounting and an unhealthy Net Run-Rate, they must win their last two games against Bangladesh and the Windies.
South Africa – The c-word – ‘chokers’ for all those playing at home – was thrown around the cricketing circles after the Proteas crumbled against the Poms this past Sunday night. Perhaps that was the loss they needed to have though. An absolutely crucial game against India on Saturday night and must win it if they want to have any chance of finishing on top of the group.
West Indies – Very important victory against Bangladesh last Friday night, especially because they had overtaken the Windies on the ICC ODI rankings before the tournament began. They have got Ireland right on their tail at the moment, so their match against them this Friday is their most important for the tournament. But even if the Windies do make the finals, they won’t have much impact.
If the Irish beat West Indies tomorrow night, don’t be surprised to see them advance through to the quarter-final stage for the second consecutive time.
Group A Winner – Australia ($1.50 – Centrebet)
Group B Winner – India ($1.61 – Centrebet)
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