23 January, 2021

Sprint On In Calm, Light Air

A quarter-final upset would inject some fun unpredictability in the World Cup. Its leading captains, however, are bulwarks against mishaps.

AP
Sprint On In Calm, Light Air
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

This World Cup has gone more or less to plan. It has produced some exciting matches and a number of extraordinary individual performances, mostly with the bat, but nothing so far that can be characterised as a genuine upset. Why? Geoffrey Boycott has a simple answer: “This World Cup is a batsman’s World Cup. It’s easier than ever for batting.” Playing conditions in New Zealand have offered more help to high-quality fast bowlers, and to some extent India’s disciplined bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin, has bucked the trend in the Australian venues. But there have been just too many flat, drop-in pitches in this tournament.

There is no Kenya on its way to the semi-finals, as in 2003, no shocks in store for heavyweight teams ahead of the knockout stage, as in 2007. Reflecting the shift in the balance of forces in international cricket, four of the quarter-finalists will be teams from South Asia, with at least one of them, India, assured of a semi-final berth. Bangladesh knocking England out at the pool stage was a...

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