Monday, March 16, 2015

The Playoffs are here...

After a month long cricket, we are now at the playoffs of CWC2015. Except for England, the rest of the test playing nations made it to the Quarters deservingly. A stake for West Indies in playoffs, the word “DESERVING” is not a fitting. It would have been very apt for somebody like Ireland. But then cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. It was cruel to England. It was cruel to Ireland too. But, Bangladesh punched above their waist to be here.
Moving on, the big 8 was expected to make it to the play offs. As you see, one missed out the party already.
A majority predicted (including yours truly) that New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and India (I was not very sure of India at the beginning) will make it to the Semi Finals. Let’s see if that hold waters?
New Zealand
All along the group stages it was McCullum, Williamson and the bowlers. Towards the fag end of the group stages, Guptill and Taylor were among runs. Is this the sign of “Rest of Kiwi batters” joining the party? I want like to think so. At some point, I’m hoping Elliot, Anderson and Ronchi to join the runs.
The game against West Indies in the Quarters should be a fascinating. West Indies are known to blow hot and cold. Taylor and Holder are in good form while the West Indies batsman hasn’t been consistent. The form of New Zealand with the backing of home crowd, New Zealand should sail past West Indies. I punt New Zealand to play South Africa in the Semi Finals.
Australia on the other hand is not having the best of tournament despite being the best team on paper. One match washed off, failed to NZ for reasons well known, trying different combinations in every game...
Somewhere I get an unsettling feeling with Australia. No matter how unsettling it is Australians are certainly poised to go past Pakistan for an India – Australia clash in the Semi Finals.
South Africa
Prior to the start of the tournament, it looked like South Africa had one of the best bowling attacks. Surprisingly they haven't fired like they want to. Don't know if they will be coming to party anytime soon.
So winning Sri Lanka in QF doesn't look like a walk in the park. But then we all have witnessed in the past that 1992 Pakistan, 1999 Australia, 2011 India – they all had a choppy start before they went on to win the trophy. Probably South Africa should embrace this choppiness and start addressing the weakness for the next leg.
Playing De Kock at the top is forcing South Africa to start on the back foot right away. And Steyn not in the firing line is the second weakness in my perspective.
Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies
Right from the start of the tournament I don't have big hopes on Sri Lanka, West Indies and Pakistan. West Indies and Pakistan had lived up to the reputation by delivering subpar cricket, while Sri Lanka surprised.
So, it is normal to think that Sri Lanka can choke South Africa in Quarters, but I’m not. Pakistan and West Indies could be end of their campaign in the Quarter Finals.
The good thing is... India's batting mainstays haven't lived up to their reputation or in other words come to terms like Amla or Sangakara or DeVilliers etc. Already QF hurdle is cleared by Bangladesh. So we are looking at 2 good matches for Kohli, Sharma and Rahane to lift the cup!!! Don't it sound cheesy???
We don’t know what will happen, except we expect our permutations and combinations to work per our desires.

PS: Its a curse if you living in the Eastern Time Zone of USA. Games played in Australia being at 11.30 pm. Phewwwwwwwwww

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