World Cup

It’s an even match-up

Three exciting days are left of this cricket carnival. Barring a few games between Associate nations, Australia vs. New Zealand or to a lesser extent India vs. West Indies, the matches have not provided the nail-biting stuff one expects in this mega event.

Two heavyweights lock horns in the first semifinal to be played at Eden Park, Auckland. The only diluting factor in this battle is the venue with its ultra small dimensions. Mind you, it did give us two thrilling games when New Zealand tamed Australia and Pakistan overcame South Africa defending 232. I wish it does not turn out to be a bowler-bashing exercise.

South Africa has managed to shrug a monkey off its back by winning a knock-out game but a few still hold on. Would this be the tournament where it finally sheds the chokers tag? Can it maintain its mental tenacity when in pursuit of a target? Who is South Africa’s fifth bowler?

The reliance on AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla is immense. Quinton de Kock did excel in the quarterfinal and most batsmen appear in form but the team tends to lose direction when it chases.

Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum have been blowing away bowling attacks like tornadoes but what if they fail? The middle and lower middle-order, with exception of Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson, suffered hiccups even while chasing small targets. A lot depends on what tactics they adopt against Tahir.

All the Kiwi bowlers have been in top form, and it is an even match-up on current form.

A pity that for one of these top sides, it will be the last day of this World Cup. For the die-hard fan though, this is the reason to watch and love cricket.


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 8:26:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/its-an-even-matchup/article7025354.ece

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