It’s been pretty difficult to get a handle on the co-hosts in this tournament. They came out of the blocks all guns blazing and dispatched of a woeful England with ease, they then had what seemed like a lifetime to wait before their next match. A rain off against Bangladesh followed by a defeat to a rampant New Zealand. They’ll be reasonably happy with their start, and keen to peak at the right moment.
New Zealand A
The standout side at the World Cup so far. Their seam bowling has been exemplary, their bowling unit is clearly the best in world cricket at the moment, and with renaissance man Dan Vettori on twirling duties, they appear to have all bases covered. With the bat, they have been led by the mercurial and increasingly consistent Brendon McCullum. They look the side to beat in this years tournament.
Sri Lanka B-
After a decidedly shaky start in the opening match against New Zealand, Sri Lanka have grown over the last two weeks. Malinga appears to have recovered some of his pace and yorker ability, Dilshan has come good and Sangakkara looks in the form of his life; which is saying something. There batting has been particularly impressive with the chase of England’s 312 handled for just the loss of a solitary wicket. Always there or thereabouts at the major tournaments, Sri Lanka will be dangerous come the knockout phases.
One thrashing, one washout and a steady win, Bangladesh have been okay so far this World Cup. Their washout with Australia has given them a decent shot at the quarter finals, and they know that beating England next week would put them into prime position to qualify in fourth spot. Sandwiched between the main 8 sides and the endearing associates, Bangladesh have struggled for recognition from the neutrals during this World Cup, but a run to the quarter finals would make fans sit up and take notice.
Undoubtedly the most people’s second team, Afghanistan have brought an energy and enthusiasm for cricket not seen at the World Cup since Kenya’s run in 2003. A pair of valiance defeats to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka constituted a steady introduction to World Cup cricket. Indeed, the Sri Lanka game was a tight run thing for quite a while and they gave the Test nation a real fright. Afghanistan’s moment came at Dunedin against Scotland however, their maiden World Cup victory was a joy to behold. They field and bowled like demons and through themselves around with that simple determination to win at all costs. They may not make it beyond the pool stages, but they have already provided us with some of the moments of the 2015 World Cup.
Atrocious would be a kind way to describe England’s World Cup campaign thus far. Lurching from one terrible performance to another, they have become easily the poorest of the main 8 nations. There victory over Scotland showed us more about the Scots inadequacies than it did about England’s improvements. They have failed to build seriously imposing totals and there bowling has been nothing short of a disgrace. A quarter-final place is still possible, but on the evidence so far, would not be at all deserved.
Still searching for that elusive first World Cup victory, this campaign would normally be considered reasonable for Scotland. However, they have had two gilt edged opportunities to take a couple of scalps. The match wit fellow associate Afghanistan was the obvious match to target, but also their match with England could have taken a completely different path is Scotland could hold onto their chances. It associate nations want to be a part of the full member set-up, then they must be subject to the same level of criticism as them also. In that case, Scotland have not performed to the upmost of their ability and will ne targeting a big performance and perhaps even a victory in their upcoming match with Bangladesh.