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World Cup Wisdom

By Aravind Mahadevan, June 7, 2019, Categories: Edutainment, Entertainment, Featured, In the Mood, Slider, Sports

Once again, cricket expert Aravind Mahadevan gives an update on what’s going on with the World Cup and analysis on where it may be heading…

After a somewhat tepid start with a few one lopsided games, the World Cup heated up with Bangladesh producing the first upset result by toppling South Africa. This was followed by Pakistan stunning England, which was even more unexpected given how badly Pakistan has started against West Indies. The tournament has already showcased Pakistan at its unpredictable best while also proving that England is beatable. It has also thrown the tournament wide open.

After the first week of competition, the team that will be most disappointed is South Africa. They have lost their first three opening games and now realistically need to win at least five or maybe all of their remaining six games to reach the semi-final. They have been unlucky with injuries hitting a lot of their key strike bowlers, with veteran Dale Steyn ruled out of the World Cup.

England had a great start against South Africa but the reverse against Pakistan might make them rethink their tactics. On a perfect batting pitch where they had made 481 not so long ago, instead of batting first and racking up a big score, they chose to chase. This might have been influenced by the recent bilateral series between England and Pakistan in England, which was won 4-0 by England. In that series, Pakistan got multiple scores of 300 plus which were all chased down by England. But this is the World Cup and the pressure of chasing a large score is very different from any bilateral series.

New Zealand has started well, with a very easy win over Sri Lanka and a tense encounter against Bangladesh. Their seam bowlers are thriving in the English conditions.

Bangladesh has proved that they are a side to be taken very seriously in this competition. Their win against South Africa was achieved in the manner of a side playing with great maturity and if they had got 15-20 runs more against New Zealand, the result of that game might have been different.

West Indies had a great start to the tournament with their bowlers all over Pakistan in the first game. In their second game against Australia, they had a winning position but could not finish the job. Sri Lanka had an absolute howler of an opening game against New Zealand which was followed by an unconvincing win against Afghanistan.

The defending world champions Australia may not have had the best of results in the last two years but they seem to have regained their peak form coming into this tournament. They have started off with two wins against Afghanistan and West Indies. They were in deep trouble against West Indies after an opening order collapse but their tail-enders rose to the occasion and salvaged the situation.

The minnows of the tournament Afghanistan have acquitted themselves creditably so far, despite their two defeats against Australia and Sri Lanka. As the tournament progresses, we can expect them to gain in confidence and provide stiffer competition.

Finally, the somewhat strange schedule meant that India played their first match of the event only six days after it began against South Africa who were playing their third game. It was a good work out for India, whose batsmen cane through a test of fire from the South African fast bowlers

One of the really refreshing about this world cup so far has been the balance between the bat and ball.  There were fears that the pitches for this tournament would be batting paradises, producing scores regularly in excess of 300. But that fear has been unfounded so far. There have been many low scoring affairs mixed in with the high-scoring games that has made for interesting viewing. The bowling sides have not been afraid to experiment, with South Africa opening with a leg spinner Imran Tahir in the first game of the world cup. Thankfully, the rain has stayed away except for a brief period in the Sri Lanka – Afghanistan game.

India-Australia, Australia-Pakistan and India-New Zealand will be some key games to watch out as we head into the next week of competition

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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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