Friday, February 13, 2015

World Cup Preview - Group B

Today's post presents short preview of the Group B Teams. A group with the more likelihood of upsets and 6 teams in contention for the 4 knock-out berths.

Image result for group b cwc 2015India
India are the defending champions and have a marketing campaign running on the line "Won't Give It Back". They have also been in Australia for nearly 3 months now in the course of which they have won a grand total of 1 game, a warm-up against Afghanistan. Recent form shows an explosive but misfiring batting lineup combined with a pop-gun bowling attack and some not so good fielding. The schedule has the tougher games first and the easier (on paper) games later. Difficult to see them go far in the tournament.
World Cup Aim - Wont Give It Back. 

South Africa
A fantastic batting lineup backed up a deadly bowling attack. On paper and form, they should be the favorites to win the World Cup. But then this is South Africa we are talking about. They should have won the World Cup at least twice and made it to the finals at least 4 times. But in reality they have been finding new ways of losing out in the first opportunity. Form suggests a first World Cup victory. History suggests they will be knocked out in the quarters. 
World Cup Aim - Get rid off the Chokers tag

They are the very definition of unpredictability. Also they have been hit hard by the recent ICC crackdown on chucking. Yet they have managed to unearth replacements in no time. One thing which can be predicted about Pakistan with certainty is that the bowling talent pipeline never dries. How much they progress will depend more on which Pakistan turns up to play.
World Cup Aim - Beat India for once and get that monkey off the back.

West Indies
Just a shadow of the once great team. Also riddled by too many player-board disputes and team selection issues. Yet they can still pack a punch on their day. But they cannot take the quarter-final spot for granted. Both Ireland & Zimbabwe will be gunning for their head in the race to the knock-outs.
World Cup Aim - Don't abandon the campaign midway like that India tour.

Zimbabwe would have been a good cricketing nation if not for all the political troubles over the last decade and a half. They have been slowly rebuilding but are lacking the necessary resources. The warm-up performances have been heartening and given the West Indies's troubles they would certainly be in the running for a knock-out spot.
World Cup Target - Carry on rebuilding

The Irish have been the success story of the last two World Cups. Yet they have been the victims of all the wrong-doings of the big boys of the cricketing world. They hardly get to play the big nations. And the Irish national team is becoming a sort of a recruitment center for England. However this time around they have a good chance of making it to the knock-outs. But will they be able to remains the questions.
World Cup Target - At least one if not more big boy scalp to their name (Pakistan/South Africa/India better watch out)

The UAE are back playing in the World Cup after a gap of 19 years. But not expecting much from them.
World Cup Target - Avoid getting hammered in every game and try to beat the Irish.

Key Games 
  • India vs Pakistan
  • Zimbabwe vs West Indies
  • Zimbabwe vs Ireland
  • Ireland vs West Indes
South Africa, India and Pakistan should make it to the Quarters. The 4th place will be tough fight between West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland. This is certainly the more intriguing group.

Now let the games begin.

Nishant Kumar for DieHard Cricket Fans
Follow Nishant on Twitter @NishantSKumar

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