India seem to have stumbled upon some kind of magic formula. They were simply woeful in the recent tri-series, even managing to make England look like a half decent ODI side on their way to losing all their matches. But since the World Cup has started they have looked like an in-form, balanced, and tightknit side. While we always expected their batsmen to come good eventually, more of surprise has been the improvements from the seam bowling attack. India followed up victory in the huge clash with Pakistan with a casual thumping of South Africa. No mean feat. Once again India are proving that trying to win major trophies is all about peaking at the right times.
South Africa A-
The A- may seem a little harsh here, especially when you consider that South Africa have just racked up successive scores in excess of 400. However, their blemish against India is not be ignored. The ‘c’ word was bandied around once again in the aftermath of their poor performance, and victories over West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe have not changed some people’s mind. AB De Villiers has cemented his place as the best ODI batsmen in the world, and his 162 versus West Indies was the dawn of a new age of batting. Their upcoming match with Pakistan may be a good judge of just how good this side are.
West Indies C
Who knows that sort of West Indies will turn up from game to game? They were royally trounced by Ireland in their opening match, as the boys in green made a chase of 304 look like a stroll in Phoenix Park. They then handed out a brace of defeats to Pakistan and Zimbabwe respectively and looked pretty comfortable in the process. Admittedly, Chris Gayle’s monumental 215 has helped their case immensely. But just as it seemed the West Indies were getting their act together, a mauling at the hands of South Africa has stunted their progress once more.
Defeat in their opener to India appears to have blown the wind out of Pakistan’s World Cup sails. They followed the defeat to their fiercest rivals, with a pathetically limp performance against West Indies, and with Ireland’s results, made life tough in the pool stages. Successive victories against Zimbabwe and the UAE have lifted spirits somewhat, but the match against Ireland now looks crucial to Pakistan’s chances of progressing in this World Cup.
Zimbabwe have been okay so far. That’s about it. They gained a not all too convincing win over the UAE and have followed that up with three not embarrassing defeats to Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies. Does this represent a good World Cup? Not really, as a full member, Zimbabwe should be aiming to compete in the group and look for a quarter final spot. Instead, they are duelling it out with Ireland and UAE to see who can claim any top 8 scalps. A promising opening performance against rival South Africa has largely petered away at the tournament has worn on.
Ireland started this World Cup in exactly the style they would have wished. A calm assured steep run chase against a full member side. Their victory over the West Indies has opened the door for Ireland to make it through the pool stages. The consolidated this position with a calm win over the UAE and looked a good bet to steal fourth place However, their crushing defeat at the hands of South Africa has not only stifled their points total, but also slaughtered their net run rate. On such small margins, their passage to the knockout stages could be determined. Ireland now face a vital match against Zimbabwe in Hobart UAE D
The least mentioned and fancied of the associate nations, the UAE have often been overlooked in this tournament. Sadly for the side, their performances have not done much to turn heads. A valiant defeat to Ireland, alongside middling performances against Pakistan and Zimbabwe have shown that the UAE are no mugs. Their defeat to India was a total aberration, and they will be determined to show some fight in their final two matches.