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Cricket is Climaxing

By Aravind Mahadevan, June 28, 2019, Categories: Edutainment, Entertainment, Featured, Kids, Slider, Sports

So, we are down to the business end of the group stage – this is where the battle for semi- final places nears its climax. For a change, the last week witnessed some fascinating games and unexpected results, building up the excitement

Firstly, what can we say about England? They seem to be disintegrating when it matters the most. Their feared batting lineup failed to chase a below-par 230 against Sri Lanka and then they found 285 far beyond them against Australia. Ironically, one year ago, England wiped out Australia 5-0 in a bilateral series at home but that will count for little now. They are now in a position where they need to win their last two games against India and New Zealand to assure themselves of a semi-final spot, though one win may still get them there depending on other results. They need to re-evaluate their strategy of bowling first after winning the toss, something that has served them well over the last couple of years but is fraught with risk in a high-pressure tournament such as the World Cup where the stakes are high

Australia continue to impress, with the team finding peak form at the right time. They are already through to the semi-finals and will look to finish off the group stage well against New Zealand and South Africa. They have looked a much stronger side with the return of Steven Smith and David Warner. Warner, in particular, has been impressive in the way he has gone about building his innings, with a cautious approach at the start followed by timely acceleration once well set.

India needs to win just a game from its remaining three games against England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to join Australia in the semi-finals. India had a big scare against Afghanistan which would hopefully have served as a wake-up call to their batsmen. The Indian bowlers have been at the top of their game so far, but the soft middle order batting is a cause of concern. Even against West Indies, only a flourish at the end enabled India to put up a competitive score.  

New Zealand suffered their first defeat against an inspired Pakistan. They have two difficult games to follow against Australia and England and they need to win one of those to ensure semi-final qualification. They can still go through with two defeats but they will be reliant on Pakistan and England not winning both their remaining games

Pakistan’s tournament has followed a pattern that is very similar to what happened in 1992- a poor start followed by a resurgence. The wins against South Africa and New Zealand have now given the hope of a semi- final berth provided they can beat Bangladesh and Afghanistan and England/Sri Lanka do not win all their remaining matches

Bangladesh have two games left – against India and Pakistan and they need to win both to have a chance of making the semi final. They will also be hoping that England don’t win their remaining two games. For Bangladesh, a lot will depend on their star allrounder Shakib-Al-Hasan continuing to perform in the brilliant way he has done so far in this tournament.

Sri Lanka also remains in contention after their stunning win over England. But their task is more difficult as they need to win all three games against South Africa, West Indies and India to guarantee a semi-final spot. Two wins may see them through if neither of Pakistan, Bangladesh or England win all their games.

Afghanistan, South Africa and West Indies are the three teams who have been eliminated and they have no mathematical chances of qualifying for the semis.

We await some high-power games this weekend such as Australia vs New Zealand and England vs India. 

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Aravind Mahadevan

I have been living in Hong Kong for the last 15 years. By profession, I am an investment banker and I am currently working for Morgan Stanley in their fixed income division. My favourite hobbies are chess, cricket and mathematics. In addition to following chess and cricket events, I am an active chess player and I play in tournaments in Hong Kong. I am also an avid reader of books- both fiction and non- fiction. Both myself and my wife Priya share a love of crime fiction, especially the Agatha Christie series. We also love travelling and exploring new vegetarian cuisines.

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