Saturday, 2 February 2013

WWC - Second Round Group A games hard to call

The second round of WWC matches are played tomorrow (Sunday 03.30GMT). The matches are:-

India v England (Group A)
Sri Lanka v West Indies (Group A)
Australia v South Africa (Group B)
New Zealand v Pakistan (Group B)

With one win under their belt at the moment for Australia, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka another win for any of these teams will almost certainly see them through to the Super Six stage of the competition. So far the Group B games have gone according to form with comfortable wins for Australia and New Zealand. You would expect the same from the games in this round with New Zealand in fine form and Australia likely to be too strong for a battling South Africa. Australia will be hoping however that their batsmen spend a bit more time at the crease than they did against Pakistan.

England's shock defeat to Sri Lanka - it is the first time Sri Lanka have beaten any of the Top Four teams in the world - has really put the cat amongst the pigeons in Group A. England have to beat India if they are to harbour any realistic hopes of retaining their World Cup crown. A defeat would not put them out of the Super Six stage, but with points carried through from this first phase into the Super Six stage, it would be remarkable if they could recover from two defeats to finish as one of the top two teams at the end of the competition. Remember there are no semi-finals, just a straight final.

It will be interesting to see the team that England coach Mark Lane selects. The talismanic Sarah Taylor was not fit for the Sri Lanka contest and England missed her enthusiasm and spirit. Even if not fully fit she must play. With the exception of Katherine Brunt the bowling attack looked toothless. Fast bowler Anya Shrubsole is in the Brunt mould and she could make the starting 11 to give it a bit more oomph. Charlotte Edwards will hope that she can call right at the toss so that the England bowlers can get into the Indian batsmen early. If this happens England will then know what they have to chase to secure a vital win and I would back them to do so. If they lose the toss then it will be a titanic struggle for them against the hosts.

Sri Lanka will be on a high after defeating England and they will be trying to show that that game was not just a one-off. They looked good with the ball and in the field, but batting, with the exception of the top three, looked a potential problem. I doubt that Kaushalya will ever play another innings of that magnitude. With greater expectations of themselves it is possible to see a negative reaction against the care-free West Indians, who have it within them to play much better than they did against India.


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