Most teams have played two matches each in a group stage that seems to be longer than the period Linklater took to make ‘Boyhood.’ However, the tournament hasn’t really come to life yet, as expected, and there have been no major earth-shattering upsets or even close matches. In fact, many games between the ‘competitive’ test-playing nations have been one-sided.
Here’s a short summary of the hits and misses, the moments and drags so far:
Pre-tournament whipping boys India thrashing tournament favorites South Africa, winning their first-ever World Cup match against the Proteas.
Also, England finally winning a game by defeating Scotland.
Biggest Flops: Pakistan, England
’80s giants Pakistan were outplayed by India and absolutely embarrassed by West Indies, who had just been humiliated by Ireland. Pool B has been topsy turvy in many ways, but Pakistan has been the biggest disappointment so far. Don’t be surprised if they defeat South Africa, though.
England, who invented cricket, were trashed by Australia before being dismantled and sent back to school by New Zealand. Southee made them look utterly clueless, and only confirmed that a quick rehaul of an ODI side before a major tournament doesn’t work—especially when missing your best-ever ODI batsman, and some guts.
Winning against Scotland keeps them in it, and Bangladesh’s rain-abandoned point against Australia will make them nervous. Their match against Bangladesh will pretty much decide who goes through in last spot.
: New Zealand
A bit jittery against Scotland, but the Kiwis
confirmed that they are indeed the team to beat after destroying Sri Lanka and England. 3 out of 3 so far, and their next against fellow hosts and favorites Australia will determine who tops the group. Whoever does win that could play whipping boys West Indies or World Cup specialists Ireland in the quarterfinals.
Big Bores: Sri Lanka
They were outplayed by the Kiwis, and almost lost the plot against Afghanistan before Jayawardene and Perrera pulled them out of the hole. Veterans like Dilshan and Sangakkara have flopped so far, and except for captain Angela Mathews, the team looks quite uninspired and temperamental down under. They are, however, expected to beat England to finish third in their group.
Big Surprise: South Africa
The Proteas are known to steamroll through Group Stages of World Cups, and a massive loss to India after stuttering against Zimbabwe have reeled back expectations once again. Or, could this be the South African team that loses early, gets the choke out of the way in the group before actually winning their knockout games? In all probability, they will either face Sri Lanka or England in the quarterfinals. That should be easy. But then again, Graeme Smith is part of their cheerleading group, following the team around with fellow fans, casting a huge shadow over their chances with his 2007/2011 hoodoo energy.
Big Surprise 2
They have defeated both Pakistan and South Africa very convincingly, and look good to top their tough group. This was not expected after they went through their entire Australian tour without winning a game. Ganguly had a point though—they kept facing the same team, Australia, who are better than them at home. They did lose to a weak England team too, but finally, they seem to have acclimatized to conditions and are pulling a fast one over teams in their group. Their match against West Indies will be interesting.
Stars So Far: Shikhar Dhawan, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Andre Russell, Mahela Jayawardene, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Shami, R. Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Sean Williams