BeyondHeadlines Sports Desk
After 30 days of exciting cricket, the 10th ICC World Cup 2011 has entered into the knock out phase. With so many ups and down being witnessed in the last 42 matches, finally, top eight teams made it into the quarter finals.
The battlefield has been laid and the warriors are ready for the battle. West Indies will face Pakistan in the first quarter final with host India taking on World Champion Australia in the second quarter final. South Africa will take on the Kiwis and co host Sri Lanka will fight it out with the Englishmen for the semi final spot. A single bad game and the campaign is over. A single loss and the wait to win the most precious title will be prolonged for another four long years.
All the matches would be a do or die situation. India’s 80-run win over the West Indies in Chennai on Sunday handed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men a quarter-final against Ricky Ponting’s team in Ahmedabad. Among all the quarter final matches the key clash between World Champion Australia and superpowers India is the most mouth watering encounter for the cricket experts and the fans.
However, the route to the quarter final for both the teams has not been so convincing. India, the firm favourites to win the World Cup began their campaign with a convincing win against Bangladesh. There after the task was not very much easy. The tie match against England opened up the bowling department. India managed to beat the minnows Ireland and Netherlands somehow and the loss against mighty South Africa pointed out the holes in the most formidable batting order of the world. Earlier, Men in Blue were infamous for their bowling woes and fielding skills but the recent batting performance in the past matches and especially in the power play has raised many more doubts. If they leave the win against the minnow’s teams apart, India only managed to beat West Indies, who were missing the services of Chris Gayle and Kemar Raoch. India managed to score only 268 runs and did not play the full quota of fifty overs.
After losing nine wickets for just 27 runs against South Africa, Indian team showed improvement and this time the improvement radar increased to 51 runs for the last seven wickets. The bowling unit is a total mess up with no one even sure of what would be the line up. Apart from Zaheer Khan, no other bowler has even shown the sign of consistency. Spinners have failed to get wickets even on slow and spinning tracks. Even the bowling combination and selection has not clicked a single time in the last six matches. A lot was expected from Piyush Chawla as he was the lone captain choice in the selection squad. Dhoni justified the selection of Chawla as they had to face the South Africans in the league games but the disastrous performance of the leg spinner forced his backup unit to drop him from the side. However, Chawla can still fantasy his chances as he had bagged four wickets against Australia in one of the practice game of the tournament.
Sachin Sehwag Virat and Yuvraj with a century under their belt is the only positive factor for the team. Apart from these, the middle order should certainly raise the level of their game as the pressure will be getting higher and higher in the games to come.
Aussies on the other hand are also not in their sublime touch. Australian batsman has been struggling throughout the tournament and the batting failure against Pakistan made them drop their World cup record for the most consecutive win. However, Australian openers have failed to make any impact in the tournament and they will be adamant to go out to make the Indian fielders chase the leatherint he quarter finals. Ricky ponting, Cameroon white and Micheal Hussey are the players of the big matches and they have proved it on various occasion. The blazing pace battery would definitely be aiming for the good wicket to bowl India out of the World Cup. The battle between the number one and number two ODI team will be a treat to watch.