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South Africa Give Sri Lanka Quick Jolts in First Quarter-Final at Sydney Cricket Ground

world cup trophyNew Delhi, Wednesday, March 18 – Finally the day has arrived when top 8 teams of World Cup matches will contest against the rivals according to their position in the points table during league matches. Road to the quarter-finals for the qualifiers hasn’t been a cake walk. South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and West Indies left no stone unturned to enter the second round.

At the Sydney Cricket Ground, the first quarter-final is in progress between Sri Lanka and South Africa. Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews elected to bat first after winning the toss. However, his decision hasn’t proved right to this point given that they have lost 1 wicket in 3 overs. Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan are on the crease at 0. Dale Steyn bowling and superb fielding by the men in green caps have restricted the contenders at this score. The result at the end of the day is keenly been watched since a victory here will book a berth for them in the semi-finals. Interesting part here is this both have never played against each other at the Sydney Cricket Ground earlier. It would be interesting to see how the Proteas and Sri Lankan cricketers read the mood of the pitch and act accordingly.

Attention of the cricket fans lies in India and Bangladesh’s contest which will be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday, March 19. Despite the fact that these two squads have also never competed in Australian grounds, the contest is not going to be easy for them at all. Taking no notice of superb performance by the Indian cricketers so far in the ongoing tournament isn’t possible. In both Pool A and Pool B, the Men in Blue topped with 12 points as they thrashed Pakistan by 76 runs, South Africa by 130 runs, United Arab Emirates by 9 wickets, West Indies by 4 wickets, Ireland by 8 wickets and Zimbabwe by 6 wickets to be at the leading stage.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say such amazing show wasn’t expected from India especially when most of the key players were struggling with poor form in Australian grounds. On the other hand, Bangladesh won 3 matches and lost 2 in the first phase. Bangladesh vs. Australia match at Brisbane Cricket Ground (Woolloongabba), Brisbane, was cancelled that made these two playing XI’s share the point. Head to head, India beat Bangladesh 3 times while the latter for once in 2007 World Cup, giving Indians an unexpected shock. It would be right to mention that Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team India will leave no stone unturned to snuff out the rival’s strength in the crucial match which is slated to take place tomorrow.

The third quarter-final between the host Australia and Pakistan on March 20 is surely going to grab eyeballs. In the midst of massive crowd, it would be interesting to notice whether the Aussies take a step further or Pakistan will make use of the ‘earned’ opportunity what they got post defeating Ireland in its last league match. Had the Irish cricketers been able to win at that stage, it would have been a historic incident in the cricket history of Ireland.

The last quarter-final will be played between New Zealand and West Indies on Saturday, March 21. As like India, the kiwis won all their six matches in opposition to Sri Lanka, Scotland, England, Australia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. West Indies, though, failed to put their best foot forward, but closing the eyes to the potential of Caribbean cricketers may be biggest mistake New Zealand lineup can make. Only time will take curtains off the suspense which are the four teams that enter next round. Let us wait and watch.

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