Knockout Stage Set for World Cup Cricket
- First match on 18 between Sri Lanka and South Africa
- India’s match with Bangladesh is slated on 19
- West Indies beats UAE and Pakistan knocks off Ireland on Sunday
- All major teams to fight it out
- Grand finale on 29, Sunday
Adelaide (Australia): The two crucial matches in the World Cup Cricket tourney played on Sunday have sent West Indies and Pakistan into quarter finals. As the tournament is getting into the final stages, the knockout rounds would begin on March 18 and end in the final to be played on Sunday, March 29. All the four major teams from South Asia-India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh-have entered the knockout stage.
India which is heading its group after winning six matches in a row is sitting pretty. It is going to face a lightweight Bangladesh in its quarter final match on March 19, a day after the first knockout match between Sri Lanka and South Africa. The third quarter final match is going to be played between Australia and Pakistan on March 20 and the fourth is between New Zealand (co-host with Australia) and West Indies on the 21.
The first semi-final will be played out on March 24 and the second on March 26, Sunday.
Pakistan had no difficulty on Sunday in defeating Ireland, the only surviving non-Test playing team in the tournament. While West Indies scored the required runs against UAE inside 30 overs to win by six wickets and secured a berth in quarter finals in the first match on Sunday, the 1992 World Cup champion Pakistan made a mince meat of the Ireland challenge. Sarfraz Ahmed and Umar Akmal helped each other in scoring a ton and making the winning runs respectively. Akmal played out five dot balls to help Sarfaraz, who was on 97, to complete a ton in the subsequent over and become the first Pakistani batsman to score a hundred in World Cup after the one by Imran Nazir in 2007 against Zimbabwe. Sarfraz hit the ball to the fence and scored 101 and remained unbeaten. He played out rest of the balls in the over to help Akmal to score the winning runs in the next over. This farce was allowed by the small target set by Ireland. Even the modest score of 237 was possible because of the lone performance from Ireland batsman Porterfield. Pakistani batsmen had hit the required runs in just 40.1 overs. Both West Indies and Pakistan walked easily into quarter final knockout round. Pakistan had finished third in Group B behind the leader and defending champion India and South Africa. Pakistan is going to play the four time champion Australia at Adelaide, rival’s home turf.
India is expected to overwhelm Bangladesh in the quarter final knockout match and enter semi-final where it would be facing either Australia or Pakistan depending on the result on the 20th. Pakistan is not a pushover. The Pakistani players can improve their performance at crucial stage in a match as they did against Ireland on Sunday. Ireland batted well till the 40th over. The Pakistan bowlers tore into the batting order of Ireland which collapsed in the last ten overs. While left armed pace bowler Wahab Riaz took three wickets, other pacers Sohail Khan and Rahat Ali took two each. The quarter-final may be easy for India but the semi-final is going to be tough.