The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been a roller coaster ride so far. While some of the top teams have clearly dominated their opposition, some have struggled against even the lower ranked teams. The associate nations too, are coming up with quality cricket and are making a mark at the international stage. Let us take a look at the current teams’ forms and the probable quarter finals line-up.
ICC Cricket World Cup- Quarter-finals format:
Like any other two-pooled league, the ICC Cricket World Cup too follows the standard knockout format. The matches will be as follows:
Quarter-final 1: A1 vs B4
Quarter-final 2: A2 vs B3
Quarter-final 3: A3 vs B2
Quarter-final 4: A4 vs B1
where, A1 – first placed team of pool A, B1- first placed team of pool B and so on.
New Zealand have been the leaders of pool A right from day one and they have managed to hold on to the top spot. With an excellent net run-rate of +3.589, they look well set to finish the pool stage with 6 wins from 6 games. Another reason why they would finish on top will be their upcoming fixtures- against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, are likely to be easy challenges for the Kiwis. Hence, they are expected to play the quarter final 1 against the 4th placed team of pool B.
Australia, currently third, have a great chance of finishing the pool stage at the second place provided they beat both Sri Lanka (March 8) and Scotland (March 14). A big win against Afghanistan helped them better their net run rate (+1.804), which will give them the confidence to take on the Lankans.
Sri Lanka will finish third if they lose to Australia and beat Bangladesh. Looking at their current form, the Sri Lankans have a great chance against Australia too. The likes of Dilshan, Thiramanne and Sangakkara are in great form and have already amassed more than 250 runs in the tournament. The Australia vs Sri Lanka match will decide the occupants of the 2nd and 3rd place in pool A.
It will be a tight contest between England and Bangladesh for the fourth and last spot in pool A. Bangladesh are currently 4th with 5 points and have to play England and New Zealand next, who are tough opposition. England, on the other hand, have a game against Afghanistan which they are likely to win. A win against Bangladesh will help them wriggle into the 4th place with 6 points. Another equation that needs to be satisfied for England’s qualification is, Bangladesh should also lose to New Zealand which will leave them stranded with just 5 points.
Prediction For Quarter-finalists from Pool A: New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and England
India entered the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 with a lot of criticism. Regarded as one of the weakest bowling attacks, the Indian bowling unit silenced the critics by putting up top-notch performances in their matches against Pakistan, South Africa and UAE. They play West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe next and have a great chance of entering the knockouts with 6 wins from 6 games. The Men in Blue, in that case, will play either England or Bangladesh in the quarterfinals.
South Africa are currently the 2nd placed team in pool B and look to hold on to that slot. A 130-run defeat against India has motivated the Proteas to make a strong comeback. Two consecutive 400 plus scores and impressive bowling performances in the games against West Indies and Ireland make them a dangerous entity in the tournament. They will play the third placed team of pool A.
West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland are the three teams who will battle it out for the 3rd and 4th position. All these teams are currently tied at 4 points but Ireland have an advantage over their competitors as they have played a game less. West Indies play India and UAE in their next two fixtures while Pakistan have South Africa and Ireland as their upcoming opponents.
The Irishmen will face India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe and it will be a tough road for them to the quarter finals. The odds will be in favour of Pakistan and West Indies but their net run-rates will play an important role in deciding their fate.
Prediction for Quarter-finalists from pool B: India, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan
Probable Quarterfinal Fixtures:
QF 1- March 18: New Zealand vs West Indies
QF 2- March 19: Australia vs Pakistan
QF 3- March 20: Sri Lanka vs South Africa
QF 4- March 21: England vs India