âI would certainly agree with the line of thinking that England's performance in this World Cup has been as erratic as Pakistan have usually been. Their win against South Africa and chasing down of India's target contrasted with their losses to Bangladesh and Ireland and I can only put it down to complacency on their part against the lesser recognised teams.
The bowling form of some of the English bowlers has definitely played its part as well. James Anderson's expensive bowling cannot be a surprise to those who have followed his bowling performances when there is no swing or seam movement.
England in must-win match to avert early World Cup exit
He is one of those who has always been best when there has been assistance from the pitch or atmosphere and it would seem he hasn't spent enough time working on other aspects of his bowling. It is then noticeable that Anderson has had no Plan B to operate with under these sub-continental conditions. Although to be honest, he is not the only one who tends to fall in this bracket.
West Indies may have gone into the World Cup not ranked as high as they would have liked but their performances in the last three matches were heart-warming. That said, the games were against the lesser-ranked sides and it will be interesting to see how they go about their business in the England and India games.
To me, it had looked like the West Indian side had gone in with a bowler short in the earlier games. To have only Roach and Benn as their frontline bowlers and expect the other non-frontline bowlers to do the job will be risky against the better sides like England.
With Gayle expected to come in, my sense is that they will go in with Andre Russell and drop Nikita Miller. They will need a bit more than two frontline wicket taking bowlers against the better batting lineups of England and India.
The Chennai track was a subject of some debate and there has been talk of it being covered with tents to ensure that it retains some of the moisture content. While the England-South Africa game here did produce an exciting result, I would like to prefer a Bangalore-like pitch where the batsmen have a better chance of getting runs.
You do not want to get into a situation where the pitch assists the bowling more in one innings than the other - either by assisting with exaggerated seam movement or spin. World Cup games should not be too dependent on the winning of the toss.
The other game worth a watch would be the one between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka would have gone into the tournament as favourites for some but I certainly think that they do not have the bowling line-up to win it. The favourites-tag comes naturally with being hosts but I feel that apart from Malinga and Muralitharan, the back-up bowling line-up is a bit of an issue.
Like the West Indies, apart from the two strike bowlers, the others need batsmen chasing high run-rates to make them a wicket taking threat and to win the World Cup, I think you'll need to be able to bowl teams out on the odd occasion that your batting doesn't perform up to scratch. Otherwise you will probably have to have such strong batting that you can elect to chase targets in every game.
New Zealand has improved as the tournament has gone on and much of the credit needs to go to their top four batsmen. On paper they do have the capability to get the runs quickly in this format of the game. With the game being played outside Sri Lankaâs home - in India where their record isn't as good - there is an even chance that the game will be keenly fought.
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