There haven’t been too many instances in an event like ICC World Cup 2019 where a major side had the ignominy of losing almost all its matches since the start of their campaign and make an undesirable and unexpected exit as contenders from the top four. South Africa, known as the chokers in international cricket have not been made to choke during the ICC World Cup 2019 but have simply been outclassed by their opposition and Bangladesh being one of the teams that started its journey by getting the better of Faf du Plesis and his men.
Being one of the dark horses of the tournament along with Kiwis and Windies it has been the despicable manner in which the Proteas lost their matches would lead to wholesale changes to their side once they head back home.Kiwis under Kane Williamson are perhaps the only team where the captain is not only leading the side with match winning performances but has been the most astute leader as well. Floundering a lot whilst fielding South Africans who have been arguably one of the finest fielding sides in the World have been unusually messy in their fielding efforts this time around.
What looked to be an upset of sorts after New Zealand lost their fourth wicket with less than hundred on the board it was Kane Williamson and Colin de Grandhomme who put on a blistering sixth wicket partnership that put the Kiwis back on track as a probable fourth team. The equations would’ve been different had New Zealand lost the match and would have led to an intriguing prospect as far as Bangladesh was concerned.
Indians who look by far the most unbeatable side of the tournament have only England as an opposition capable of beating them on their day. It could also lead to an awkward situation for India however should they go on to lose a match in crunch situations with a point of no return as their weakness if at all has not been exposed up until now. West Indians and the Pakistanis just like the Proteas have been utterly disappointing during the tournament so far and look like no hopers as far as qualifying in the semi-final is concerned.
Having a huge and mass following of the game in Pakistan without actually being able to host international matches, a lot of heads are expected to roll once the team goes back home. Besides Mohammad Amir who with his effective bowling spells against Australia and India none of the players have shown necessary skills to prove their worth during the course of the tournament. Babar Azam coming in to the tournament as one of the most promising youngster couldn’t live up to his lofty standards while the senior pro Mohammad Hafeez showed glimpses on a couple of occasions whereas it ought to be curtains for the most experienced and senior player Shoaib Malik to hang his boots once and for all.
The match the Headingley today between Sri Lanka and England should end up as a one sided affair given the manner in which the hosts are going about demolishing the potentially lesser known sides. While the Sri Lankans looked to give the Aussies a run for their money at some stage with both Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera playing some swashbuckling cricket and looked dangerous while they lasted.
Eoin Morgan’s scintillating innings against Afghanistan with the help of 17 sixes just shows how strong the English batting side is as the captain was the only batman who looked to be left out from making that big hitting hundred. Sri Lanka on the other hand have not only been at their peak but have played two more finals in the ICC World Cups before and hence have a legacy that the present players are well aware of and something that is supposed to add just the right impetus come today’s match against their mighty opponents.
The writer is a former opening batsman of Bangladesh National Cricket Team and a cricket commentator.