The Dangerous World Cup Teams Aren’t What You Thought

Still a month to go before this World Cup draws to a close, but already a few patterns are emerging: Pakistan, previously only alluded to as a “dark horse,” have turned in reasonably good performances thus far. Yes, they did dreadfully against Canada, but their bowling and spirit are something to behold. The team to beat, in my mind, is South Africa — this Imran Tahir hasn’t gone up against excellent players of spin yet, but he’s helping a team go from very good to unbeatable. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka (defeated by Pakistan) and India (tied with England of all places) have yet to get fully started. I’m worried — as I always am — about India’s bowling, which hasn’t yet figured out what to do on batting-friendly pitches like the one in Bangalore.

So, let’s call the semi-finals: Pakistan, South Africa, India and Australia. (Perhaps I should reserve comment until I see Sri Lanka play Australia — it’s hard for me to dismiss a team with the likes of Sangakarra and Jayawardene and Murali.) I’m not sure these teams can all make it, given the permutations of the quarterfinals, but this would make an exciting finale. Two of the whitest, two of the brownest — I can see the sponsors rubbing their hands together.

UPDATE: Just wanted to say one more thing — Australia’s pace attack has been phenomenal. It’s strange to see a team rely on sheer pace to win in the subcontinent, but Australia — without a credible spinner — have made the right choice and stuck to their strengths. Watching Brett Lee in his prime and seeing batsmen squirm at Tait yorkers — I don’t see India handling them all that well.

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4 thoughts on “The Dangerous World Cup Teams Aren’t What You Thought

  1. Here are my quarterfinals line ups and what I think the results will be:

    A1 v. B4 – India v. New Zealand (India wins)
    A2 v. B3 – South Africa v. Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka wins)
    A3 v. B2 – England v. Pakistan (Pakistan wins)
    A4 v. B1 – West Indies v. Australia (Australia wins)

    Now, the semi-finals line up:

    SF1 – India v. Pakistan (India wins)
    SF2 – Australia v. Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka wins)

    There you go, I am not going to predict any further! 🙂

    • Excellent! Thanks, S. Actually, I think South Africa will beat Sri Lanka, giving cricket fans the best possible semi-final: India v. Pakistan, and Australia v. South Africa.

      • DB, the thing is that South Africa has reached the SFs in every alternate World Cup since readmission – 1992, 1999 and 2007. So the superstitious part of me tells me it isn’t their turn this time!

        And even if I look at it logically, Sri Lanka will be just the second of South Africa’s opponents who play spin well (after India in the Group matches). I have a feeling that just like India will account for SA at Nagpur, SL will do the same at Colombo in the QFs!

  2. Mike says:

    I think South Africa are a good team but not sure they have the lineup that can dominate spin bowling. I think Ab Devilliers is the key in the middle to late stages of the innings but when he fails their will be collapso cricket.

    Australia have been boosted with the arrival of Mike Hussey who is a good player of spin and adds a vital left hand right hand combination in the middle order.

    India for my mind are still the favourites. England can turn it on at any time so watch for them. Sri Lanka lack depth in their batting but if Jayawardene and Sangakkara score enough runs they have the bowling to defend it.

    My prediction for the Semis: India v England and Australia v Sri Lanka

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