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.
Shoaib Akhtar wants India to win the World Cup
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 Pakistani pacer- Shaoib Akhtar wants the world cup to come to Subcontinent and hence he backed Indian team to lift the coveted trophy on 14th July at Lord’s.
“New Zealand can’t take pressure. I hope they don’t choke this time. But I really want the World Cup to stay in the subcontinent and I think, I will back India all the way,” Akhtar said in his Youtube channel.
Shaoib further said that Pakistan was a better team than New Zealand and deserved to be in the semis. “Pakistan played better than New Zealand. I really thought they would make it but the net run rate is a cruel thing,” he added.
Pakistan finished with 11 points in 9 games and were tied with New Zealand but the latter team made it to the semi-finals following their better run rate than Sarfaraz Ahmed led team.