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Friday, March 30, 2007

First week of Super 8s at the World Cup

The Indian and Pakistan team members came back to their respective homes after ensuring the cries of their supporters had died down. But, the excitement in the World Cup has just started. Especially with the Sri Lanka - South Africa match, that was won in the penultimate over with one wicket in hand.

If one looks at the teams in the Super 8s, it looks more like a Super 6 (5 if you exclude England, which is not unrealistic).

Australia has already taken the lead with a win over South Africa (in the league) and West Indies. They have 2 matches against the minnows (Ireland and Bangladesh). The countries who did not have the minnows in their group would like to hope that they have 4 easy points coming their way - though we know that cricket has a funny thought of its own. The Aussies next face Bangladesh, England, Ireland, Sri Lanka, New Zealand. Even if they lose all their matches against England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, they would have 8 points in their kitty. This scenario is very unlikely for the Aussies in the current form they are in. It is more likely that they will go through to the semis without a single win.

New Zealand play Bangladesh, Ireland, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia. They already have 4 points in their kitty thanks to the win against England (group stage) and West Indies. They will have 8 points in their bag even before their match against Sri Lanka. This is an ideal opportunity (at the latter stages) for NZ to give rest to Shane Bond.

South Africa has 2 points from 2 matches (one defeat against the Aussies in group) after their thrilling win against Sri Lanka. They play Ireland and Bangladesh next, which will give them 6 points easily. New Zealand and England are their opponents, from whom they need to get 2 points atleast to get to the semis.

Sri Lanka play West Indies, England, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland. They would hope for wins against West Indies, England and Ireland - giving them 8 points (to go with their win against Bangladesh in group stage).

West Indies has played 3 matches and have only their win against Ireland to show. They have matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and England. With the form they have showed in the first 5 matches, it looks like they will win their last 2 matches only - which means that they will end up on 6 points.

England have not yet started their account after just 1 group match against NZ. They would be playing Ireland, Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, West Indies. 2 points each from Ireland and Bangla matches would amount to nothing if England cannot beat 2 more teams atleast (likely to be Sri Lanka, West Indies rather than Australia and South Africa). Australia, in fact, would be eagerly awaiting April 8th to take revenge on the recent disaster in the Tri-Series.

This means that the semi-finalists will be Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka.
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