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ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
ICC World Cup 2015: The acid test for Team India begins with the quarter finals
Well, as per the latest developments that have taken place in ICC World Cup 2015, after the last two league matches, the following picture has emerged in terms of the top eight teams qualified for the quarter finals scheduled to begin from 18th March. The teams having pole position in both the pools are as under:
Pool A                     Pool B

1) New Zealand       1) India

2) Australia             2) South Africa

3) Sri Lanka            3) Pakistan

4) Bangladesh          4) West indies

As per the rules, the topper of one group has to play against the team standing at 4th position in the other group. Likewise, the team holding third place in a group is supposed to take on the team standing at 2nd place in the chart of the other group.

As far as Team India is concerned, if everything goes right and our boys just perform reasonably, there are pretty good chances that Team India will defeat Bangladesh in the quarters and there should be no difficulty in moving to the semi finals. Thus, in its most likelihood, Team India will be playing against Australia in the Semi Finals.

Australia, as predicted could not sustain its so called status of a most powerful team as New Zealand has beaten them in a close encounter. Also, the myth that their bowlers and batsmen are in possession of par-excellence skills and are hard to be defeated - particularly keeping in view the suitable pitches - has been broken.

Even the hardcore opponent of Team India, say Pakistan for example, believes that Team India has got a trustworthy line up of world class batsmen, capable of striking good under any given challenging situation. In fact, someone had written that no other team has got 7 dependable batsmen like team India.

Even the tail-enders like R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are able to add 30 plus runs. Thus, batting seems to be not a big issue for Team India, especially with their inflated confidence gained out of six impressive consecutive wins scaled in the World Cup.

However, everything depends on the performance of our bowlers. It has been noticed that the strength of the top batsmen of Australia has not been visible in this World Cup. Therefore, even if the Australians set a challenging target, our batting line will be able to handle it. Many of the fans believe that our bowlers should give thrust on containing the run rate instead of bowling short deliveries in an attempt to get a wicket.

That way, the middle order batsmen of Australia will be forced to accelerate the run rate and in the process, they might give a few catches/run out chances. Hence the level of fielding will become a decisive factor for Team India. If Team India do not drop catches and prevent conversion of singles into doubles, this might change the end result.

Hopefully, Indian team management have considered all such vital elements and chalked out a strategy to counter team Australia. Team India is required to keep their morale high and enter the field with strong determination and leave the rest to the destiny. Hopefully, the next article will follow covering the strategy for the finals. Amen.

Here is the position of quarter-finalists of the 2015 ICC World Cup and full schedule of the quarter finals (after Pakistan beat Ireland by 7 and West Indies defeated UAE by 6 wickets at Napier to seal their spot in the quarters)

Pool A:

Teams

Matches

Won

Lost

Tie or NR

Points

NRR

New Zealand

6

6

0

0

12

+2.564

Australia

6

4

1

1

9

+2.257

Sri Lanka

6

4

2

0

8

+0.371

Bangladesh

6

3

2

1

7

+0.136

England

6

2

4

0

4

-0.753

Afghanistan

6

1

5

0

2

-1.853

Scotland

6

0

6

0

0

-2.218

Pool B:

Teams

Matches

Won

Lost

Tied

Points

NRR

India

6

6

0

0

12

+1.827

South Africa

6

4

2

0

8

+1.707

Pakistan

6

4

2

0

8

-0.085

West Indies

6

3

3

0

6

-0.053

Ireland

6

3

3

0

6

-0.933

Zimbabwe

6

1

5

0

2

-0.527

United Arab Emirates

6

0

6

0

0

-2.032

*Top four from each group qualifies for the Quarter Finals.

March 18: Sri Lanka vs South Africa, Sydney 0900 IST

March 19: India vs Bangladesh, Melbourne, 0900 IST.

March 20: Australia vs Pakistan, Adelaide, 0900 IST

March 21: New Zealand vs West Indies, Wellington, 0630 IST

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