ICC World Cup Quarterfinal Recaps and Review

March 22, 2015

The semifinals of the ODI Cricket World Cup are now set. On Tuesday (local time) it will be New Zealand vs. South Africa in Auckland, New Zealand. On Thursday (local time) it will be Australia vs. India in Sydney, Australia.

Each of the semifinal participants were heavy favorites in their respective quarterfinal matchups, and all won handily. Here’s a quick recap of each of the four quarterfinal contests, ranked in order of how entertaining they were.

#4 - South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 9 wickets

What was expected to be the most competitive of the quarterfinal matches turned out to be the least so. The great careers of Sri Lankan batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra ended with an anticlimactic whimper, as neither were able to fire a final hero's knock. The final total for the vaunted Sri Lankan batting lineup was an embarrassing 133 runs.

The stars of the game were truly the two South African spin bowlers, Imran Tahir and J.P Duminy, who took seven wickets between them.

South Africa needed a mere 18 overs to surpass that total, with Quentin de Kock flashing a 78 and cricket's best ODI batsman, AB De Villiers, never even needing to bat at all.

Final Analysis? So very disappointed in Sri Lanka...

#3 - India beat Bangladesh by 109 runs

A feisty Bangladeshi bowling performance produced a few early wickets against India and kept the defending champion’s run rate down for the first 30 overs of the match. The early losses of top-order batsmen Shikhar Dawan, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane undoubtedly had Indian cricket fans a little nervous, even against the heavy underdogs from Bangladesh.

But the impressive depth of the Indian batting lineup, as well as a dubious umpiring decision that saved Rohit Sharma on 90 (he went on to score 137), ultimately propelled them to a solid total of 302 after 50 overs.

As no team had ever chased down 300 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, it seemed highly unlikely that the minnows from Bangladesh would be the first. With the only question really being the margin of victory, Bangladesh sputtered their way to 193 before the loss of their 10th wicket with no batsman able to score more than 35.

Umesh Yadav led the Indian bowling attack, taking four wickets.

Final Analysis? A few tricky moments for the defending champs....

#2 - New Zealand beat West Indies by 143 runs

New Zealand opened the match batting, and for half of their innings the shaky West Indies bowling seemed to contain them as well as could be expected. But that’s when NZ batsman Martin Guptill went into orbit.

Smashing boundaries at a ridiculous pace Guptill, who had been dropped early in the innings when he was merely on 4, went on to score a World Cup record 237 runs and NZ finished the innings with a basically unbeatable 393 runs. Guptill’s unbeaten total came on just 163 balls and included 11 sixes and 24 fours.

Chasing the mammoth total, the West Indies batsmen played loose and aggressive. Powerful WI batsman Chris Gayle, playing with a bad back, nonetheless launched 8 sixes of his own before bowing out with 61 runs. While the run rate was high enough to make things interesting for the Windies, the wickets fell with regularity.

Left arm seamer Trent Boult took 4 wickets for the Kiwis, who bowled out their overmatched opponents for 250 in just 30.3 overs.

Final Analysis? Some fun ball blasting, especially Guptill's sublime innings...

#1 - Australia beat Pakistan by 6 wickets

Though the margin of victory was comfortable enough, and Pakistan’s meager batting total of 213 runs hardly seemed sustainable against the powerhouse Aussies, this was unquestionably the most exciting of the matches in the quarterfinal round.

As the Australia bowling attack were ripping through the once-again inconsistent Pakistani batting order, they started engaging in some of their infamous trash talk. When Pakistani fast bowler Wahab Riaz was at the crease towards the end of the innings, Australian fielder Shane Watson allegedly mocked Riaz and asked, “Are you holding a bat?” while fast bowler Mitchell Starc instructed Riaz about the cricket ball, “It’s the white thing, hit it.”

[BTW: Someone should remind the Australian team that, regardless of one’s tolerance for taunting in sports, it’s hardly impressive to anyone when you sledge a batsman at the tail of the order.]

When the “white thing” was in his hands, an infuriated Riaz made the bullying Aussies pay when it was their turn to bat. After dismissing two Australian batsmen (David Warner and Michael Clarke) in his first 10 deliveries, the real fun began when Riaz wiped away Watson’s previous arrogant smirk with repeated bouncers at his head. A befuddled Watson was thoroughly in survival mode…and Riaz seemed to enjoy every moment of it, staring the batsman down and clapping his hands emphatically, and even at one point blowing him a kiss.

When Watson’s flailing inevitably resulted in an easy catch attempt, it seemed a panicked Australian team was going to be 83-4…but the dolly was dropped by the Pakistani fielder. Gifted by such a blunder, Watson was able to settle down and help steer Australia to an easy victory (though a later innings drop that denied Riaz a wicket yet again added extra cruelty).

Final Analysis? The history books will record a relatively easy Australia win, but the collective memory of world cricket fans will mostly remember a riveting 6-over spell in which Wahab Riaz, if only for a short while, sent Aussie arrogance running for cover.

By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for TheDailySportsHerald.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...