Predicting Quarter Final winners of 2015 Cricket World Cup

World Cup 2015

 

By Gaurav Joshi

Right from the outset, the winner of the 2015 World Cup was going to be decided by virtue of which teams play the best three days of cricket. Apart from England, the teams that will participate in the Quarter Finals are as predicted. From now on the group stages counts for little and it is all about putting together which team can win three consecutive matches.

The last match of the group stages has given us a glimpse of the knockout stages but it officially begins from Wednesday at the SCG and in seven games a team will be crowned a winner of the 2015 cricket World cup in Melbourne on 29th March.

QF1: South Africa vs.  Sri Lanka

On paper and form this match should be the most evenly contested. South Africa were raging favourites coming into the tournament but their lack of ability to chase totals and the over dependency on AB DeVilliers has suddenly made them suspect able.  If they win the toss and bat, they will fancy themselves but if they are forced to chase, it could really test Proteas’ mental strength.

Sri Lanka are in prime batting form, led by veteran Sangakarra and Dilshan, their batting looks the most threatening amongst all the teams.  The top order is in form but their bowling seems to be slipping. Malinga has taken wickets but is still a long way adrift of being the bowler he once was, Hearth the prime spinner has injuries to his thumb and swing bowler Kuluserkra has lost form as well.

Advice: The toss will play a pivotal role, if South Africa can bat first they are in real chance of posting a total that is unassailable but if they are made to chase, it could be an extremely close contest.

Tip:  Sydney pitch will favour Sri Lanka and with current form and their ability to handle pressure better could well see them knock out the Proteas – Sri Lanka to win.

QF2: India v Bangladesh

Many believe Bangladesh has already achieved their goal at the World Cup. But be assured the Tigers are confident of knocking off the big guns, India. Nothing would have buoyed by the fact that that had they caught an important catch they would have beaten the previously undefeated New Zealand in their last game.  High on confidence with bat and ball, the Tigers have batting talent and bowling to knock the Indian off their match. Their biggest challenge is how they will perform against a team that knows that far too well.

India is oozing with confidence and their bowling has been exceptional. Apart from Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, every other player has played an instrumental role in their six wins on the trot. The pace trio of Yadav, Shami and Mohit know exactly how to go about their business and their discipline has been outstanding. India should prevail on virtually the bowling itself and also on the fact that Bangladesh is not a surprise element for them.

Advice: Bangladesh needs to take every single catch and perhaps inflict one or two brilliant run outs if they are to stand any chance.

Tip: India is running hot and it is impossible to tip against them.  India to win.

QF3: Australian vs Pakistan

After a mediocre start to the tournament the Pakistan express is gaining momentum rapidly. Led by a strong pace attack that has the capabilities to dismantle team’s top order and equally inept at resisting late order brutality. The bowling has all the answers, variety, pace, class and composure. To be a threat, the batting needs to click into place if they are to upset the hosts. Misbah needs a supporting act and Ahmed Shezhad has to deliver on the big stage. If the top order can somehow resist the express pace of Australia and don’t go poking at balls outside the off stump they are capable of an upset.

Australia has been slightly below par but has got all their troops on board fit and raring to go. Faulkner, Smith and Starc are the big three in this format for Australia, if Australia is to go all the way, expect one of them to be a player of the match in quarter, semi and the final. The pace battery of Australia will take a liking for the vulnerable Pakistan top order and will prey on their poor techniques against the short ball.

Advice:  Pakistan must survive the early barrage against the Australian quicks and hope Shahid “Boom boom” Afridi can deliver a dashing half century in quick time to put doubts into the Australians.

Tip:  The bowling might cross each other but Australia’s superior batting will ensure they progress through to the semi final. Australia to win. 

QF4 : New Zealand vs West Indies

New Zealand was pushed all the way by Bangladesh in their last match and the brush with defeat should galvanise the Black caps before the next phase of the World Cup.  Led by the swing of Southee and Boult, New Zealand has been irresistible with the ball and they will cause plenty of headaches for the top order of West Indians.  Playing on home conditions will only increase their chances and attacking captaincy of Brendon McCullum should be enough for them to brush aside the West Indies.

For the men from the Caribbean to stage an upset, Gayle needs to score big, Samuels need to play a pivotal role, Sammy and Russell need to finish the innings with a bang.  There are simply too many ‘if’s for the West Indies, even the 50 over format seems long for their batsmen and they simply don’t have the composure to exceed against a quality bowling line up in helpful conditions. They need to run singles and keep rotating the strike. They simply can’t rely on hitting fours and sixes.

Advice: New Zealand needs to keep attacking and not get carried away if the West Indies start flaying them around. It normally does not last for too long especially at the start of their innings.

Tip: New Zealand bowl first and the conditions assist this could be a very short game indeed. Tip: New Zealand to win. 

 

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