India defeated a low lying Sri Lanka by 7 wickets to confirm their spot at the numero uno position in the points table. The Dimuth Karunaratne led team posted a total of 264/7 runs at the end of 50 overs courtesy Angelo Mathews brilliant 113 off 128 balls to take his team to a fighting total. Jasprit Bumrah was the star for India in the bowling department with three wickets.
Lot was expected from Lasith Malinga in his farewell world cup game for the Islanders but he failed to make a mark as Indian openers looked in the sublime touch right from the word “go”. They added 189 runs for the first wicket to consolidate take India in a dominant position. Both KL Rahul(111 off 118 balls) and Rohit Sharma(103 off 94 balls) struck a century followed by an unbeaten 34 by Virat Kohli to give India a 7 wickets victory and finish the league stage with 16 points in 9 games that includes a rain washed game against New Zealand.
On the other hand, Australia lost a high scoring thriller against a low lying South Africa by 10 runs to finish at number two spot in the points table. South Africa posted a total of 325/6 courtesy Faf Du Plessis 100 off 94 balls and Rassie van der Dussen’s 95 off 97 balls.
In reply, Australian openers failed to fire and the untested middle order failed to perform that became the reason for their demise. Wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey and lower order batsman showed some intent but it was not enough to win the game for the Australian team. Kagiso Rabada was the highlight in the bowling department as he scalped three crucial wickets.
Nasser Hussain predicts the winner
After the conclusion of league stage, we have our four semi-finalists- India(1), Australia(2), England(3) and New Zealand(4). Virat Kohli’s side will face a depleted New Zealand in the first semi final on 9th July at Manchester while an in form England will clash against their Ashes rivals Australia in the second semi-final on 11th July at Birmingham.
Meanwhile, former England skipper Nasser Hussain has donned the prediction hat and said India will be the overwhelming favourites in their semi-final clash against New Zealand. He said that the black caps lack a strong batting line-up to challenge a strong Indian team.
“India are just too strong. They will always get a score. New Zealand have been under-par and a bit lucky to be there. Are there enough New Zealand batsmen in form to be able to chase down whatever India score? I don’t think so,” Hussain was quoted as saying in Daily Mail.
For the second semi-final between Ashes rivals- England and Australia- he backed Eoin Morgan led side to eke out a win after getting hammered by Australia in league stage and warm-up game.
“England will be pleased they are playing Australia away from Lord’s because as we saw in the group stages Lord’s suits the Aussies and the way they play. Their swing bowlers would have been more dangerous at Lord’s than Edgbaston. England love playing at Edgbaston and I will go for them. Just,” he added.
According to him, India will take the field against England in the summit clash at Lord’s on 14th July. Hussain opines that India have some weak points and England looks a more compact team of the two.
“If England beat India twice they will be worthy winners of this World Cup and nobody could argue. There are some great players in this India side but there are still a few holes and I don’t see any holes in the England team. I’m going for England. Just,” said the veteran of 96 test matches.
Semi final 1, India vs New Zealand– India
Semi-final 2, Australia vs England- England
Final- India vs England- India