This year’s Cricket World Cup was tipped to be the most open tournament ever and it certainly hasn’t failed to live up to expectations. When you look at the results thus far, it’s still impossible to pick a favourite.
It’s amazing to think that before the World Cup started, many people were saying that they would only start taking an interest in the tournament when it reached the knock out stages. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the same people have gone back on their word and have been watching as much cricket as time allows! The tournament has already seen some memorable matches, mostly involving England for some reason, and some fantastic knocks including the fastest ever World Cup century. Those who said that the group stage would be uneventful have been proven spectacularly wrong.
So what have we learnt about the teams’ chances since the tournament kicked off? Co hosts India are still considered tournament favourites even though their bowling attack bar Zaheer Khan have struggled while Sri Lanka have dropped from second to fourth favourites. Australia and South Africa both look strong units but the latter were once again accused of choking after their defeat to England in yesterday’s encounter. Speaking of England, this is the side that has made the tournament so exciting! All four games that they have been involved in have been thrillers and their tie against India will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest ODI matches of all time. Pakistan have already lived up to their dark horse tag by defeating Sri Lanka in Colombo but their scare against minnows Canada reminded everyone of their ability to be consistently inconsistent!
New Zealand and West Indies have both been on the end of big defeats but have won their other two games convincingly while the young Bangladesh side have failed to live up to expectations on home soil much to the anger of their fans. Ireland have caused the biggest upset by beating England thanks to Kevin O’Brien’s blistering knock of 113 off 63 balls (the fastest ever World Cup century) but the other three Associate teams along with Zimbabwe have all struggled.
While it’s almost certain that Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand will be the teams that qualify from Group A, the fate of the teams in Group B looks far from set. Not only is it uncertain who will finish top of the group but also who will qualify for the quarter finals. Bangladesh, West Indies and Ireland are all vying for the fourth spot in the group while the result of Saturday’s crunch game between India and South Africa will probably decide who finishes top of the group.
We may not yet be able to pick a tournament favourite but one thing that we have learnt is that England don’t do boring matches!