Part 2/3 – The Probable Semi Finalists
The 2011 World Cup will be a tough fight between some good teams. The last two editions of the world cup were pretty much one sided. The champions Australia registered emphatic wins in both the tournaments brushing aside any opposition they played with utmost ease. My semi finalists are the defending champions Australia, the two home teams India and Sri Lanka and of course, South Africa, a very consistent performer in the world cups they have played so far, at least until the semi finals
Australia, the defending champions, still top the ODI rankings and have a pretty good team. However, the team is undergoing a reconstruction after the retirement of most of the big guns who featured in the previous world cups. Ponting’s captaincy and his form with the bat have been under scrutiny for some time now. Replacing a winning captain in Michael Clarke is not going to be easy either. Whatever the odds stacked against them, Australia is a team that cannot be written of just like that. They have match winners who can take the game away from any opposition in a hurry. Most importantly, Mike Hussey will be missed.
Key Players: Shane Watson, Brett Lee, David Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Shaun Tait and Cameron White.
India on the other hand have the batting line up to take on any team in the world. The bowling department is where there are unanswered questions. Another problem is the absence of a good all-rounder. This attack is not an incisive one. If India needs to win this world cup, the batsmen have to come good. Under MS Dhoni, they have a captain who is both calm and strategic. Sachin Tendulkar’s world cup record is beyond impressive. Yusuf Pathan will play a major role in this team. Virat Kohli’s emergence has been a big plus. The key will be the performance of the opening pair.
Key Players: Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, MS Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan and R Ashwin.
Sri Lanka are definite favorites when it comes to a World Cup played in the sub continent. With a bunch of match winners in the squad, they stand a really good chance to repeat their 1996 success. An able captain, the world’s greatest spinner, an amazing opening pair, a seamer who can deliver 6 yorkers in one over and a capable all-rounder. That’s what you call a winning combination.
Key Players: Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera.
South Africa perhaps has the best team of the lot. Their problem is not being able to capitalize on those crucial moments. It has happened more than once before. The team is as good as it gets. Many number ones in there. Bowler, All-rounder, batsman. If they can defeat the enemy within, they should be able to pull off their first world cup win.
Key Players: Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, Morne Morkel, AB de Villiers and Johan Botha.
Australia, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka! 85% of the people will predict this semi final line up. Apart from these four, there are two others teams who are close behind in the race for the semi final spot. England and Pakistan. Two teams that on its day can be more than a handful for their opposition. The others two teams who cab spring a surprise are Bangladesh and West Indies. These four teams and the others on my next post titled, “The Other Contenders: Can they Spring a Surprise?“.
Check out the other posts on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as well people!
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