The ICC Twenty20 World Cup is now well into its second round, known as the “Super 10”. Here the top ten nations are divided into two groups with the top two in each group going through to the semi finals.
Both groups have a very similar make-up. West Indies lead Group 1 and New Zealand top Group 2. Both teams have won both their matches and both have still to play the outsider in their group, namely Afghanistan and Bangladesh respectively. Barring an almost unimaginable defeat against these outsiders, West Indies and New Zealand will progress to the semi-finals as group champions.
The crunch match in Group 1 takes place between England and Sri Lanka on 26thMarch. England must win this game or they are going home as their Net Run Rate is negative. Hence, even if the remaining results went their way, it is very unlikely that they would finish second in the group, though a comprehensive defeat of South Africa by the West Indies (Friday 25th March) would help the English cause. One thing England must tighten up is on their bowling and fielding, which was quite frankly clueless against the South Africans.
The fight for the other semi-final spot in Group 2 is between Pakistan, Australia and India. This is very difficult to call. The Australians have some very fine players and some explosive hitters but the way they limped home against Bangladesh does not inspire confidence. India have home advantage but their batting has looked fragile as does that of Pakistan.
My idea of the likely cup winners are the West Indies. They have a very good bowling attack, are fielding superbly and are incredibly motivated. This is a tight, unified and confident unit. I would be recommending a bet but would want to be confident that their talisman, Chris Gayle, will be fit enough to play in the remaining fixtures. Based on the quality of cricket played so far, a West Indies v New Zealand final looks a distinct possibility.
England could surprise with their excellent batting but the bowling attack is very inexperienced and can fall apart under pressure. The fielding must also improve significantly. This is disappointing as they are a young and athletic team. We will learn a lot more after their match with Sri Lanka.