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    April 15, 2007

    And the beat goes on...

    So, as the World Cup drags on and on, the schedule threatening to delay the start of the 2011 World Cup a this rate, but finally we're getting some tantalising match ups. The only match I've bothered to wake up early for so far was Australia vs South Africa in the Group matches (mind you I was away on holiday for the Australia/England match). New Zealand, despite being fairly easily accounted for by Sri Lanka, hit back today, accounting for South Africa just as easily. A great result!!

    So now, it looks like England, or South Africa, will join Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the semis.

    While Australia have crusied so far, any of those sides have a "punches" chance come the knock semi-finals. The Aussie's are vulnerable - don't worry about that, it really depends on whether or not the opposition are on their game well enough to knock the juggernaut of track early in a game. It can be done - with this Aussie side, if things go wrong in the field, or early wickets put pressure on the middle order, they are very beatable.

    This is why the Kiwi's pose possibly the biggest threat. They seem the most capable of doing this to the Aussies - they are not as intimidated by the champs, if anything they rise to the occasion. They have Shane Bond to make those early break throughs, they have the ability to come back, and keep coming back after any set backs, whether batting or bowling. This is where they can beat the Aussies. The Aussies like to dominate opposition into submission and when the opposition refuse to submit, the pressure does show.

    For NZ though, the trouble may be getting there in the first place. If it finishes as it looks like it will, they'll play Sri Lanka in a semi - and their record against Sri Lanka is poor. They've won only 54% of games against them. 50% of World Cup games. Considreing Sri Lankas "minnow" status for so long, this is fairly low. Since the 90's NZ have won just under 40% of those games, many in NZ. If they can make it, they'll feel they have at least an even chance to go the next step. Having said that, their record against Australia and South Africa is worse! Nothing will be further from Steve Flemming's mind.

    If South Africa can sneak in to fourth place (with a win over England and a few other results going their way, it would set up a tantilising semi-final against the Aussies. Who could forget the drama of the tie in England 8 years ago, certainly not Hercelle Gibbs, who infamously "dropped the World Cup" letting Australia into the semis, then "that tie". So it could be pay back time. South Africa making it would probably be the worst result for Australia as I feel even when out of form, they pose the biggest threat. Anyone else in the running are still more than capable of taking a spot in the final away from the Aussies though.

    So finally...finally some games and scenarios to get excited about. Will has a good explanation of the two most like scenarios here - I'm not going to reproduce it now.

    (As always, cross posted on STUmpcam

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    Thus spake Stuart Helwig @ 5:54 AM |
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