They’ve proven that the braver you are, the more successful you’re going to be and I can’t see anyone taking the foot of the gas, they’ll almost be going harder and harder which is exciting for the quarter-finals.
People will stick to their approaches and game plans and for most of those teams it’s worked really well. New Zealand are probably the only team that has gone hard from Ball One.
Australia’s David Warner and Aaron Finch can do that as well but many times New Zealand been knocking off totals and gone ballistic in the first 10 overs when a lot of the other teams are happy with a run a ball and being one or two down.
I actually think this World Cup has revitalised one-day cricket. We’ve seen wickets and runs, people trying to do outrageous stuff, some incredible catches, and some very close games.
New Zealand have been excellent all-round, winning all their matches. They’ve been impressive with the batting and bowling but they’ve also been immense in the field and they save a lot of runs. The bowlers up top, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, swinging it around, have been exceptional and the best batsmen in the world haven’t been able to cope with their late swing.
They’re up against the West Indies who everyone said were a shambles going into the World Cup and they lost to Ireland. But on their day they can be a very powerful side and can beat anybody. Teams are really going to have to keep going hard and keep being brave.
When that quality comes off, it is match-winning. Chris Gayle seems to be finding form after his double hundred against Zimbabwe and every team that plays against them will know if he plays well he’ll take the game away from them, playing a 20-20 style innings but for longer. The West Indies’ batting line-up is seriously powerful, with some of the most powerful hitters in the sport, and bowlers aren’t going to enjoy going up against that.
As New Zealand’s win in Auckland proved, they and Australia are very, very close.
Australia have that powerful batting line-up and their two left-arms but they don’t have a lot of spin options. Glenn Maxwell is doing the job at the moment, but if the ball isn’t swinging around, it’s nice to be able to spin and change the pace and that’s where New Zealand come into their own. They’ve got the two really good swing bowlers up front and World Class Daniel Vettori coming in later on and he turned the game against Australia taking a few quick wickets. He can do it in any conditions whether it’s turning or not.
They’re up against Pakistan, who have come good with four victories after a difficult start to the competition and a couple of defeats. Their bowling’s a real strength. Mohammad Irfan is huge and can cause anyone problems.
India have been awesome and full credit goes to the players and management for turning it around. They’ve been in Australia for a long time now and they had a really tough ODI series against Australia and they could have been mentally shot when the tournament started but they have turned things around.
They’re playing good quality cricket, they’ve adjusted to the conditions really well. They were tested by Morne Morkel and Dale Steyne on bouncy tracks and they came through it with flying colours because they’ve got such a strong batting line-up. They’re on the march and they’ll be confident and I think every team in the quarter-finals will be confident they can do something special.
Probably the biggest surprise of the group phase was Bangladesh playing as well as they have. They had the great win against England and it’s a really good achievement for them to get through to the quarter-finals. It looks as though their batting has improved. They’ve got guys who naturally time the ball and given any width they score pretty well.
Bangladesh have bowled well at times but against Scotland we got over 300 against them, they can be a bowling unit you can target and I think the Indians will be too strong for them.
With South Africa you’re always waiting for that hiccup. One moment they seem to be the real deal and they look world class but a lot hinges on AB de Villiers.
He’s done some miraculous stuff, in terms of his stroke play and the records he’s setting. A lot hinges on him and Hashim Amla at the top to score the runs. You always feel with South Africa that you’re waiting for that one bad game and if that comes they get knocked out. I know they have the tag of being chokers but when it comes to crunch time, Australia and New Zealand will be brave and go for it whereas South Africa almost take their foot off the gas.
Sri Lanka did their job to get to this stage, beating England and Bangladesh but they also ran Australia really close and if Dinesh Chandimal hadn’t got injured, they could have knocked 370 off. Their batting has been exceptional, Kumar Sangakara is in the form of his life, peeling off hundreds whenever he wants.
He’s their big player and Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top of the order has been in great one-day form as well. If those two players get going they’re going to be hard to stop and you’ve got the best death bowler in the competition in Lasith Malinga who will be tough to score against.
I can’t wait for these next matches but if I had to pick a winner, it would be Australia, simply because the final is at the MCG. 2015 © ICC Development (International) Limited