With most teams having played at least two matches so far in the ICC Cricket World Cup, now would seem a good time to assess some of the results and have a look at which teams are hitting the straps, and which sides could well be heading home soon if things don’t improve.
First to tournament hosts Australia, who came into the competition as clear favourites. After annihilating England on the opening night of the tournament, their match against Bangladesh was washed out. They will be hoping to pick up another vital win when they play fellow tournament hosts New Zealand in Auckland in the early hours of Sunday morning (UK time).
The Kiwi’s have been in imperious form in their opening games, first beating Sri Lanka by around 100 runs before following their co-hosts lead and dismantling England in similar style to Australia. They chased down Englands miserable target of 123 in just 13 overs, a hammering far beyond what people were expecting. They also beat Scotland as well, meaning they currently sit comfortably at the top of Pool A. Their upcoming match against Australia could be the game of the tournament so far.
So what of England? Well, whilst most people surely expected them to lose against Australia, in home conditions, in Brisbane, on the first night of the World Cup, they would not have expected them to lose so comprehensively. Neither would they have expected the absolute pasting that was handed out to them by New Zealand. While they did get their campaign up and running by beating the Auld Enemy Scotland on Sunday, they are still a long way behind the frontrunners in their group.
Their match against Sri Lanka on Saturday is vital. The latter side have had a mixed tournament so far. After losing to New Zealand in their opening game, they beat Scotland comfortably before, (at the time of writing) being well on their way to beating Bangladesh.
As for the smaller teams in this group, it’s been a case of business as usual so far for them, losing to the established sides and competing with no little skill and determination against each other. Indeed, this morning Afghanistan recorded their first ever World Cup win, against Scotland, a monumental achievement given their country’s recent troubled history.
Onto Pool B, and here the attention turns firmly to South Africa and India. The two played each other earlier last weekend, and it was India who came out on top after a thumping 130-run victory. They play the UAE (yes, you read that correctly) on Sunday, and will firmly believe that they can take top spot in the group.
South Africa meanwhile need to regroup, and fast, as they face a rejuventated West Indies side this morning. If they lose that match, their hopes of World Cup glory look to be fading fast. The Windies meanwhile have swung from zero to hero, losing shambolically to Ireland before demolishing Pakistan, who have themselves swung wildly between mesmerising and appalling.
While the tournament is still anyone’s to win (even England), there is nothing seen so far that indicates it cannot be won by either of the hosts, New Zealand or South Africa.
Image courtesy of ste.india/com