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23 February 201505:43

Why Week 2 of #cwc15 is Huge

We take a look at the crucial second week of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 as it’s moving time in the Pool stages.

Why Week 2 of #cwc15 is Huge - Cricket News

New Zealand and Australia will play in a match which may decide Pool A supremacy at Eden Park

West Indies’ victory against Pakistan and the weather in Brisbane has thrown the battle for quarter-finals berths in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 wide open.

Ireland had already made Pool B interesting with its win over West Indies last week, but the Windies’ comprehensive result against their higher-ranked opponent in Christchurch proved a game-changer.

Currently, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates are yet to claim any points in Pool B, while Ireland and Zimbabwe have signalled themselves as potential quarter-final contenders with wins.

Meanwhile in Pool A, Bangladesh picked up a point it may otherwise not have when rain prevented a ball being bowled in its clash with No.1 ODI team Australia.

With England yet to record a win, from two matches, its chances of advancing could come down to the match between the pair on March 9.

Here are next week’s matches which could be make-or-break for the quarter-final hopefuls.

POOL A

England v Scotland, Christchurch, February 23

England will be desperate to win its first match of the tournament after being smashed by New Zealand in Wellington on Friday afternoon. Despite its results, it will still head into this match against the lower-ranked Scots as the favourite. But Scotland, which has never won a World Cup match, will sense an opportunity to upset their rival. Scotland fought hard against New Zealand last week and despite losing, its result looks better in light of England’s defeat. The Scots have also played plenty of cricket at Hagley Oval during the last 12 months, giving them the “home ground” advantage over England.

New Zealand v Australia, Auckland, February 28

Barring any major upsets, this match will decide who finishes on top of Pool A and meets the fourth-ranked qualifier from Pool B. There’s no need to hype this match up. The two host nations and tournament favourites face-off in a replay of the famous World Cup match at the same venue in 1992, which New Zealand won by 37 runs.


England v Sri Lanka, Wellington, March 1
Another match England needs to win to keep itself ahead of Bangladesh in the battle for a quarter-final berth. A loss against Sri Lanka would be devastating to England, which is returning to the scene of its thrashing against New Zealand for the match. The teams played 12 times in 2014 – five times in England and seven in Sri Lanka – and Sri Lanka won 10 games to England’s two.


POOL B

Assuming the world’s second and third-ranked ODI teams, India and South Africa, claim the top two positions in Pool B, it leaves the third and fourth spots open. With West Indies’ mixed results from two matches and Pakistan’s two losses, it looks as though Pakistan, Zimbabwe, West Indies and Ireland will be fighting for the two remaining spots.

West Indies v Zimbabwe, Canberra, February 24

This match at Manuka Oval will go a long way to deciding the fate of these two teams in the tournament. West Indies revived its hopes of making the knock-out stages when it defeated Pakistan, while Zimbabwe has won win from two matches. The teams have not played in an ODI since February 2013, when West Indies won a home series 3-0.

Ireland v United Arab Emirates, Brisbane, February 25

Ireland started the World Cup with a bang but if it wants to make the quarter finals, it needs to beat the United Arab Emirates at the Gabba. The last time the teams met was in a Twenty20 match in March last year, which Ireland won by 21 runs.

Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Brisbane, March 1
Again, both teams will be desperate to win this match at the Gabba to set themselves on a path to the knock-out stages. Pakistan won’t have played since its loss to West Indies in Christchurch on Saturday, while Zimbabwe will be backing up after playing West Indies at Canberra. The teams have not met in an ODI since August 2013, when Pakistan won an ODI series 2-1.



Other matches which could be crucial before the finals:

England v Bangladesh, Adelaide, March 9 (Pool A)
Zimbabwe v Ireland, Hobart, March 7 (Pool B)
Pakistan v Ireland, Adelaide, March 15 (Pool B)