Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, Chaitra 3, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 25, 1436 Hijr

More wonder in Pool B
Published : Tuesday, 17 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 21

Uday Sankar Das
The cricketing world had to wait till the last two matches of Pool B to know exactly how the quarter-finals would shape up for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Only the India-Bangladesh tie was certain. Unlike Pool A, there was more excitement in this pool as it seemed at one stage that the winners of the first two editions of World Cup Cricket, West Indies, would have to return home after the first round.
That would have been a shame. It also seemed that a non Test-playing country, Ireland, would progress to the quarter finals. However, like Pool A, there was one team in this Pool with an unbeaten record; that was two-time champions, India, under the stewardship of MS Dhoni. The other three teams to qualify are South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies.
India undoubtedly has a batting line up that many teams envy. Starting from Shikhar Dhawan to MS Dhoni at Number 6, followed by Jadeja and Ashwin, the team could notch a decent total on any given day.
However, there have been blemishes in the batting department; although Dhiwan, Kohli and Raina, between them, have 4 centuries to their credit Rohit Sharma has been a failure. Against Zimababwe, the team was in trouble losing 4 wickets for a paltry score and a steady steering of the team by MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina saved the day for India.
It was the bowlers who have excelled more for India and especially the three fast bowlers, Mohammad Shami, U Yadav and Mohit Sharma have a combined total of 35 scalps. Mohammad Shami with 15 wickets is the second highest wicket-taker at the moment in this World Cup.
As for the Proteas, they have shown how on pitches Down Under 400-plus innings could be attained. They did that on two occasions, and on two other occasions piled up 300-plus runs.
Only against India and Pakistan did the Proteas lose all wickets for 177 and 202 respectively and lost the matches. AB de Villiers has scored 417 runs from 6 matches which included a swashbuckling knock of unbeaten 162 from 66 balls. He also missed a ton by a run in one match.
Runs have come from the bats of Plessis and Miller as well. Morne Morkel (13 wickets) and spinner Imran Tahir (11) have been pick of the South African bowlers so far. Much more was expected from experienced Dale Steyn and one hopes that he will be able to deliver in the crucial matches coming up.
As for Pakistan, they had started this World Cup disastrously being beaten by India and the West Indies, but three back-to-back victories against Zimbabwe, UAE and a strong South Africa gave them the chance to qualify which they ultimately did.
Their batting has not really clicked and it was left to skipper Misbah-ul-Huq to steer the team's batting and bring the victories for the team. There were some 'unexplained' team selections as well. Only the inclusion of wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmad for the last two matches brought some stability to the batting.
He not only won the Man of the Match award on both the occasions but also became the first Pakistani wicketkeeper to score a World Cup ton. In the bowling department, there is heavy dependence on Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan who have so far bagged 25 wickets between them. But they also had to ensure a victory against Ireland for qualification.
As for the last team to go into the knockout stage from Pool B, West Indies suffered a shock defeat to Ireland by 4 wickets. This setback could have thrown the Caribbeans out of the tournament and they had to beat United Arab Emirates in their final encounter and grab the fourth spot only by a better net run rate.
 Chris Gayle again made his name in the record books by smashing an innings of 215 - a feat never achieved in World Cup Cricket. Chris Gayle is now recovering from a sore back and his presence on the field against New Zealand is of utmost importance.
Marlon Samuels and Simmons also have centuries against their names but the batting needs further consolidation. Jeremy Taylor has been the pick of their bowlers with 14 wickets from 5 matches. Russell and Holder have given good bowling support to the team.
Ireland was unlucky to have missed the boat for the quarter finals. Their 4-wicket victory against West Indies left them with a very good chance of qualifying but, at the end, net run-rate determined their fate. It is sad that they did not have their proverbial luck.
So, after 42 matches and a break of two days, the real World Cup, in the opinion of many, begins tomorrow. There can be no slips from now on because that will end the hope of glory there and then. The cricketing world waits anxiously for this duel between the bat and ball to commence.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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