The round-robin league stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 has ended with India, Australia, England and New Zealand making their way to the semi-finals.
The first semi-final will be played on Tuesday (9 July) at Old Trafford in Manchester where table-toppers India will be facing 2015 finalists and fourth-placed New Zealand. On the other hand, defending champions Australia will meet arch-rivals England on Thursday (11 July) at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Before the four teams take on each other and results come to the fore, let’s have a quick look at their journey in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 so far.
The Men in Blue started their outing with utter dominance and won five out of their first six matches with a match against New Zealand being washed out. But the Indian juggernaut was put to a temporary halt when they met England as the latter outplayed India by 31 runs. It was India’s first defeat in the league and their last as well.
The secret behind India’s success is their all-round performance. In batting, vice-captain Rohit Sharma leads the chart with 647 runs; including five centuries — most by a batsman in a single edition of the World Cup. And in bowling, the opposition has no answers to the toe-crushing yorkers of Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets).
Australia, who were struggling to find their rhythm just weeks before the commencement of the mega event, have come out as a much better unit.
Though the Aussies lost their matches against India and South Africa, they managed to win the rest to comfortably book the 2nd spot in the final 4.
It is an Aussie who leads the wicket-chart. Left-arm bowling spearhead Mitchell Starc has taken 26 wickets as of now and has been the key for Australia’s success in the ongoing World Cup.
David Warner with his 638 runs is another ace player for the Aussies and Captain Aaron Finch (507 runs) is also giving credible support to his team.
The pre-tournament favourites England started their World Cup journey with great enthusiasm and self-belief. They overwhelmed their opponents four times out of their first five matches. But their losses to Sri Lanka and Australia shook their momentum as their batsmen failed miserably.
An overall three losses in seven matches meant that England win their last two remaining games in order to qualify for the semi-finals. This is when Jason Roy rejoined the English unit and England were back in the hunt. The Englishmen comfortably won their remaining must-win matches to finish at the no.3 spot.
For England, paceman Jofra Archer (17 wickets) and Joe Root (500 runs) have been the key players.
The journey of the Black Caps in the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup before meeting Pakistan in the league was almost a dream where the ‘believed invincibles’ had won five out of their six matches. But a clash with the Green Brigade made the World Cup a nightmare of sorts for the Kiwis as they lost their next two remaining matches as well.
Eventually, it was their net run rate that led them edge past Pakistan in the points table to acquire the no.4 spot.