Eight teams left standing

After four gruelling weeks, thousands of air miles clocked up and 42 matches played, the World Cup quarterfinals will still feature the world’s eight top-ranked teams.

The first round, as expected, saw Bangladesh, Ireland, The Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya fall by the wayside, with some hitting the ground more painfully than others.

But, in general, it was business as usual for the sport’s elite sides and fuel for the International Cricket Council who will slash the 2015 World Cup to 10 teams from the 14 who started out on the subcontinent.

Ireland were the only associate nation to defy the odds when they pulled off a huge upset against England in Bangalore on the back of Kevin O’Brien’s fastest-ever World Cup century.

It didn’t matter that England went on to lose to lowly Bangladesh or India were beaten by South Africa, who in turn lost to England — the big beasts of cricket still made the quarterfinals their own.

Most of the action centred around Group B thanks mainly to England, who unwittingly did the organisers a favour by infusing life into the tournament through their see-saw performances.

England were staring down the barrel after India whipped up a formidable 338 batting first but skipper Andrew Strauss struck a fine 158 as his team tied the game.

Ashes winners England then did the unthinkable by going down to Ireland despite making a huge 328.

Irish marauder O’Brien, with his hair dyed a shocking blend of pink and purple for a cancer charity, cracked the World Cup’s fastest century off just 50 balls to achieve a memorable win.

“That’s a long way the best innings I’ve ever played,” said O’Brien, who smashed six sixes and 13 fours in his whirlwind 113 off 63 balls.


England regrouped from the Ireland disaster in time to stun South Africa in a low-scoring thriller before being dumped by Bangladesh in front of screaming home fans.

Faced with a must-win situation against the West Indies, England were heading for another defeat only for replacements James Tredwell and Luke Wright to save the day.

“None of us wanted to go home in the morning, and we were very motivated to not let that happen,” said Strauss. “To bring Wright and Tredwell in for a massive game was a bit of a gamble. They stood up and delivered when it really counted.”

India were plagued by inconsistent form and their dislike of the umpire review system.

“The adulteration of technology with human thinking,” was skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s less-than-flattering appraisal of the system.

Eerily empty
Injuries added to the woes of weary teams with many key players forced to cut back their participation.

West Indies lost Dwayne Bravo, Adrian Barath and Carlton Baugh while England packed Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Ajmal Shahzad off to the airport.

Champions Australia cruised quietly through the group stages before they lost their 34-match unbeaten World Cup run to Pakistan, who played true to their unpredictable tag.

Maverick paceman Shoaib Akhtar hung up his boots, muddied by years of injury and controversies.

Fans turned out in huge numbers to cheer their home teams, but other venues were eerily empty as many first-round matches failed to capture the imagination. — AFP

For all the latest Cricket World Cup news, in-depth features, match reports, scoreboards and more click here:

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday