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02 March 201516:26

Pool B – State of Play

Here’s a look at how each team has performed so far and what is yet to come

Pool B – State of Play - Cricket News

Ireland could not have dreamed of a better start to its campaign becoming the first side ever to chase a total in excess of 300 for the third time in World Cups.

State of play: Pool B

Thanks to a few unexpected results, the battle for quarter-final places in Pool B is shaping up to be an absolute dogfight with every match left in the group taking on huge relevance to each side’s final finishing place.

While India currently has a grip on top spot and South Africa are in second place, there’s a lot of cricket still to be played and at least four more teams are in the running for the final two places in the knock-out stage.

Here’s a look at how each team has performed so far and what is yet to come:

INDIA (First, 6 points)

India’s not inconsiderable legion of fans are excited and it’s easy to see why. India started its World Cup campaign with a bang, defeating arch-rival Pakistan in a one-sided affair in Adelaide, then carried on its winning ways with a big win over one of its main competitors for the title, South Africa, in Melbourne.

A routine win over the United Arab Emirates followed and at the mid-way point of the pool stages, India should be happy with where it is placed. Shikhar Dhawan is in excellent form with 224 runs at an average of 74.66, as is Virat Kohli (186 at 93). Ravichandran Ashwin is leading the wicket taking with eight scalps at 13.37, courtesy of a four-wicket haul against the UAE, while Mohammed Shami has six wickets at 10.83.


India could win all three remaining matches and will have their eyes on a top spot, lining up a quarter-final against the fourth-ranked Pool A team, most likely to be in either Melbourne or Sydney.

Remaining matches:

India v West Indies, March 6, Perth
India v Ireland, March 10, Hamilton
India v Zimbabwe, March 14, Auckland

SOUTH AFRICA (second, 4 points)

South Africa had an unconvincing start to the World Cup. First, it defeated Zimbabwe by 62 runs – a convincing enough victory, but it included uncommonly low scores from Quinton de Kock (7), Hashim Amla (11), Faf du Plessis (24) and AB de Villiers (25) before David Miller (138) and JP Duminy (115) stepped in.

In its second outing, South Africa was thrashed by India by 130 runs and again the usually explosive batting line-up struggled, with du Plessis (55) the only batsman to score above 30.

In its third match against West Indies, South Africa looked a different team. AB de Villiers smashed the fastest ever ODI 150, Amla, du Plessis and Rossouw chimed in with fifties and the Proteas won by a World Cup equal-record 257 runs.


Of its bowlers, Imran Tahir has been the pick so far with nine wickets including 5-45 against the Windies. Morne Morkel has six scalps, but Dale Steyn has not had his usual effect, taking just one wicket per match.

South Africa look likely to finish second in Pool B and will need to win each of its remaining matches to make certain of it starting with Ireland in Canberra tomorrow.

Remaining matches:

South Africa v Ireland, March 3, Canberra
South Africa v Pakistan, March 7, Auckland
South Africa v United Arab Emirates, March 12, Wellington

IRELAND (Third, 4 points)

Ireland could not have dreamed of a better start to its campaign than a first-up win over the West Indies, and in the process becoming the first side ever to chase a total in excess of 300 for the third time in World Cups.

A much closer match against the United Arab Emirates followed but Ireland was able to pull off a win and now a place in the knock-out stage beckons.


Its wickets have been spread around so far, with George Dockrell leading the way with four, having collecting 3-50 against West Indies, while Max Sorenson and Kevin O’Brien each have two.

Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien and Gary Wilson have all scored fifties in good signs for its batting stocks.
Ireland has played just two matches in two weeks and has a packed schedule in the run home to the finals. It will need to win at least one, but preferably both matches against Zimbabwe and Pakistan to secure its place in the top four.

Remaining matches:

South Africa v Ireland, March 3, Canberra
Zimbabwe v Ireland, March 7, Hobart
India v Ireland, March 10, Hamilton
Pakistan v Ireland, March 15, Adelaide

WEST INDIES (Fourth, 4 points)

So far this tournament, West Indies has shown it can be very good, or it can struggle. After starting the tournament with a disappointing four-wicket loss to Ireland, it came out all guns blazing against Pakistan, scoring 310 before it had Pakistan slumping to a record 1 for 4 early before being bowled all-out for 160.

The West Indies – or rather, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuelssmashed Zimbabwe’s bowlers all over Manuka Oval in their next match, posting 372 before bowling Zimbabwe out for 289.

But the Windies’ inconsistency was on show three days later in Sydney, when the Proteas smashed 408 before bowling West Indies out for 151.

Chris Gayle’s magnificent 215 has been a highlight but the loss of Darren Bravo to a calf injury will be felt.


With two games remaining, West Indies need to ensure there are no hiccups against the United Arab Emirates to stay in the running for the knock outs. An upset win against India would cement their place in the top four, but just one win would likely see the final rankings come down to net run rate.

Remaining matches:

India v West Indies, March 6, Perth
West Indies v United Arab Emirates, March 15, Napier

ZIMBABWE (Fifth, 2 points)

Zimbabwe is fifth on the Pool B table and within striking distance of the four, but its close loss to Pakistan on Sunday night dealt a heavy blow to its chances of advancing.

With just two points from four matches and only two games left to play, Zimbabwe can finish with a maximum of six points, which would mean it would still have to rely on other results falling in its favour and a superior net run rate to finish in the top four.



Zimbabwe has had a good tournament without managing to secure necessary points – it started solidly against South Africa but was downed by 62 runs, before being pushed by the United Arab Emirates in an even contest. It then ran into the Chris Gayle show in Canberra and was, realistically, beaten by one record-breaking innings, given it managed to score 289 chasing 372.

A win against Pakistan was then needed on Sunday in Brisbane and Zimbabwe was in the box seat before its batting crumbled and fell 20 runs shy of victory.

Remaining matches:

Zimbabwe v Ireland, March 7, Hobart
India v Zimbabwe, March 14, Auckland

PAKISTAN (Sixth, 2 points)

It was do or die for Pakistan in Brisbane on Sunday. A loss and its World Cup was as good as over, a win kept the chances of making the knock-outs alive.


Having secured those crucial first points after disappointing losses to India and West Indies, Pakistan is now in a position where it needs to win at least two of its final three matches to progress.

Winning all three would cement its place, but it would need to beat South Africa to do so. It should defeat United Arab Emirates, meaning its showdown with Ireland in Adelaide is crucial. If it wins that game and other results go as expected, the battle for the third and fourth spots would come down to net run rate between Pakistan, Ireland and the West Indies.

Remaining matches:

Pakistan v United Arab Emirates, March 4, Napier
South Africa v Pakistan, March 7, Auckland
Pakistan v Ireland, March 15, Adelaide

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Seventh, 0 points)

United Arab Emirates has played three matches for three losses, but in the first two it was more than competitive.

In the first against Zimbabwe, it scored 285 thanks to a fifty from Shaiman Anwar and made things difficult enough for Zimbabwe that it only passed the total with two overs to spare.

Against Ireland, it had every chance of winning after posting 278 – this time courtesy of a century from Anwar – but was overrun with four balls remaining.

Whether the loss to Ireland just three days earlier had a draining effect on the UAE or whether India was simply far too good, the less said about the match in Perth the better. Bowled out for 102 and taking just one wicket in defence of it, UAE needs to forget the loss and move on in the hopes of causing on upset in one of its remaining fixtures. It is capable of it.

Remaining matches:

Pakistan v United Arab Emirates, March 4, Napier
South Africa v United Arab Emirates, March 12, Wellington
West Indies v United Arab Emirates, March 15, Napier


One thing is certain, Pool B has been anything but predictable and it could still go in many different ways, we are in for some more exciting cricket coming up over the next two weeks!