CWC 2019: Favorites Consolidating Positions on the Top
CWC 2019 promised a lot. Promised for mouth watering contest among equally balanced teams having power strikers, impact players on easy paced smaller grounds of England and Wales in reasonably dry English summer.
Cricket admirers in general in fact have been a bit disappointed so far with quality of cricket played and lack of competition. Rain and inclement weather created frustration.
19 matches of ICC world cup 2019 have whistled by. A record of 4 matches so far required abandoning and points splitting. Teams excepting India and Afghanistan have 4 matches each ticked off. 2019 World cup losing finalist New Zealand winning 3 and sharing points in a rain ruined match tops the list with 7 points.
Host and hot favorites England follows them with 6 points from 3 wins in four matches. Reigning Champions Australia also played three and lost one. With 6 points they are in 3rd position with inferior net run rate than England.
Title aspirant strong India playing 3 won two and shared points with New Zealand in a rain ruined match. Sri Lanka with the generous grace of nature earned 1+1 = 2 points from two rain ruined matches against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
They are at 5th position. West Indies, Bangladesh and Pakistan also have 3 points from 4 matches. But according to net run rate they are at 6, 7 & 8. South Africa playing 4 losing 3 and getting a rain grace point is at 9. Afghanistan with three loses from a many matches is languishing at the bottom.
Players, coaches, writers and analysts have started questioning the wisdom of ICC in scheduling matches in grounds on England mostly vulnerable to rain interruptions in the event of wet summer.
The group stage matches having no reserve days are subject to abandonment. 4 rain affected matches so some extent tilted the balance. Pakistan and Bangladesh in all probabilities would have won their matches against Sri Lanka.
In that case both would have opportunities for challenging the top four from closer ranges. Instead Sri Lanka with two grace points is tailing the top four. New Zealand and England also shared points in rain ruined match. India and West Indies also did that.
|Teams||Matches||Won||Lost||Rain Grace||Points||Net Run Rate|
The greatest disappointments of this tournament so far are South Africa and Afghanistan. They are virtually out of the contest. South Africa always promise to run deep into any global cricket event but they always play to prove the name choker tagged with them.
With their world top ranked players Jack Kallis, AB de Villiers no longer available, great bowler Daylen Steyn injured and Hashim Amla very much out of form South Africa lost matches to England, Bangladesh and India. We find no chance of South Africa making come back and moving in to knock out stage.
But winning one or two matches they can throw out top notch team from knock out round. Afghanistan came with lots of promise but played terribly poorly in all three matches, Afghanistan may shock one or two teams may be. But possibilities is not great for that also.
We do not think Sri Lanka can also advance far. They do not have the batting strength or bowling resources to worry other teams. They must consider themselves lucky for rain graced points.
Any one or two of the three teams Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Indies still have opportunity for replacing teams at the top.
Bangladesh has to play against Australia, India, West Indies, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They can quality is they win at least four of the five. If no more matches are rain ruined Bangladesh stands a 50:50 chance of winning and qualifying.
The rain affected match against Sri Lanka have hurt them. They could win against New Zealand if they could score 25 -30 more runs. If we go back and analyze Bangladesh matches we find that played brilliant all round cricket they edged out strong South Africa in the first match.
From almost nowhere they almost defended a below par score against New Zealand. Against very strong England Bangladesh bowled and fielded poorly on a cold and windy day. Conceding a huge score Bangladesh apart from Super Shakib and Mushfiqur batted poorly and lost by 106 runs.
Yet 280 runs against very strong English attack was no mere achievement. Bangladesh should win against West Indies, Pakistan and Afghanistan playing business as usual dynamic brand of cricket.
Tamim is expected to fire. Long innings and consistency for him is about the corner. Hope Liton would find a place for batting in the top order. Shakib and Mushfiqur would continue to deliver. Team has to rethink where to play Mahmudullah?
His role must be thought a fresh. In 2015 his two centuries were behind great performance of Bangladesh. Sabbir can be given opportunity also. In bowling Bangladesh spinners can perform against West Indies and Pakistan. I do not think Afghanistan can be competitive against Bangladesh.
Pakistan created the major sensation in the tournament beating England after themselves getting crushed out in the first match against West Indies. They were expected to win the match against Australia after their X-Factor Mohammad Amir squeezing Australia to a chase able target of 307.
But they failed batting and fielding poorly. However, the rain ruined match against Sri Lanka has hurt them. Pakistan appears against their traditional rival India on Sunday. If rain does not interfere this match may upset the balance.
West Indies has several impact players –explosive batsmen and fast bowlers. They stormed into the tournament crushing Pakistan in their first match. Poor umpiring in their match against Australia caused them dear. The rain ruined match against Sri Lanka also hurt them. They however looked very ordinary against England.
As for the top four New Zealand won against three soft oppositions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. They have shared points with India in rain affected match. New Zealand still has to play England, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan. They have to playing consistently well to retain their position at the top.
England with brilliant all round ability looks very formidable. So is India. In my opinion England and India are two teams which are the stronger contenders for the top honor. I am not sure Australia is good enough to go all the way. But Australia having great character and strong will can prove us wrong.
Rain played a huge factor in this year’s tournament. If not rain interfere any more matches England, India and any two of the 1-8 teams of the table may go through to business session of the tournament.