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Pitch Update

By Aravind Mahadevan, July 5, 2019, Categories: Edutainment, Entertainment, Featured, Slider, Sports, Uncategorized

So after five weeks of intense competition, the four semi-finalists have been identified – Australia, India, England and New Zealand. What remains to be determined is the semi-final pairing.

There are two possible scenarios that can play out depending the outcome of the Australia- South Africa game on Saturday. If Australia win that game, as is widely expected, they will be top of the standings in the group stage and will go on to play the fourth-placed New Zealand in the semi-final whereas India will take on England.

In the less likely event that Australia lose to South Africa, India will top the group and will take on New Zealand in the semis whereas Australia will meet England. 

England will be hugely relieved to have made the semis after facing the threat of elimination following the defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia. They showed great strength of character in two must-win games against India and New Zealand. This is their first semi-final appearance in the World Cup since 1992 and as the pre-tournament favourites, in reaching the semis, they have now atleast done the bare minimum that was expected of them before the tournament. 

After a great start to this competition, New Zealand have slumped to defeats in the last three games. The form of their opening batsmen is a great cause of concern. Early wickets in almost every single game has meant that there is great pressure on the likes of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. They have the bowling resources but their batsmen need to step up for them to have a chance of challenging any of the other three semi-finalists.

Australia have gone from strength to strength in this tournament after their defeat in India. It’s not that they have not been in difficult situations in some of their games but they have always found a way to turn the game around. They were not as highly fancied as England or India before the tournament but based on their current form, they are probably favourites right now. 

As for India, their batting continues to be a source of worry. They are quite reliant on their top 3-4 batsmen and even after getting a good start, the middle order has not been able to cash in and get the really big scores that can pose a challenge to batting heavyweights like England. On the positive side, except for the game against England, the bowling has been very good and there is great variety in the bowling attack. 
One of the things that has been evident in this tournament so far is that teams have struggled to chase targets as the pitches have slowed down over the course of the game. There has been only one successful chase of 250+ so far in the tournament. So it looks like the toss will play a big role in the knock-out games. 
Finally let us spare a thought for Afghanistan who exit the tournament with nine losses. The end outcome does not do justice to their performance. Afghanistan ran several teams very close, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies. With a bit more experience under their belt, they could have easily notched up a couple of wins in this tournament. 

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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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