South Africa didn’t choke: They choked in the knockout stages in 1992, 1996, 1999, 2007 and 2011. A silly D/L calculation cost them a semi-final berth in 2003. They even choked in two semi-final matches in the T20 World Cup.
But they finally broke that jinx and how! They totally thrashed Sri Lanka who must be feeling jinxed themselves losing in two finals since 2007.
India beat South Africa: In 1992, South Africa beat us in the last over and we also lost in 1999. In 2011, we lost just one match in the tournament and that happened to be South Africa. In fact we made a competitive 296 and lost with 2 balls to spare. But in 2015 an all-round display saw us thrash South Africa convincingly. 3.
Pakistan beat South Africa: Pakistan beat the weak teams of UAE, Zimbabwe and Ireland. They got beaten by the strong teams of India and Australia. In between they got absolutely hammered by the West Indies. It was a very lacklustre performance.
In fact their standout match was with South Africa where their bowling defended a low total. That was amazing because Pakistan had never beaten South Africa in a World Cup and this was overall one of their worst tournament performances ever.4.
Bangladesh got a knockout match: Bangladesh has always played a spirited game but has never entered the knockout stage. This time they beat England (who were not in the Top 8 for the first time ever) to make it to the quarters. After 25 overs in the quarter-final, India made just 99 runs. Bangladesh must have fancied their chance of entering their first semi-final at that stage. However India clawed back and Bangladesh must be feeling quite unlucky.5.
400 against a Test team: There have been 375s done against a Test team but never a 400. But that finally happened when South Africa made 408-5 against the West Indies. The Windies were at the receiving end again in the quarter-finals when New Zealand belted 393-6.6.
200 by a batsman: For decades ODI batsmen perished in the 180s and 190s with 200 being a psychological barrier. When Sachin Tendulkar made a 200 in 2010, the floodgates opened with Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma joining the club. Now non-Indians joined the party too. Two double centuries were scored in this World Cup, the first outside India. West Indian Chris Gayle hit one in Australia and Kiwi Martin Guptill blasted one in New Zealand.7.
Finally a new finalist: As many as six teams have entered a World Cup final. The only two to miss out among the Top 8 were South Africa and New Zealand. But since they square off in the semis, one of them is bound to break that jinx. Three that weren’t..
India maintains its winning streak: India first beat Pakistan in 1992 and since then Indian fans have been counting the number of times we have beaten our neighbours. India made it the sixth time in a row. That has led to the popular “Mauka Mauka” series of ads with endless spoofs. Indian beat Pakistan twice in the 2007 T20 World cup (once via the bowl-out and once in the final) and then again in 2012 and 2014. So make that 10-0 in all World Cups!2.
No 50 for Afridi or 100 for Misbah: The talented Afridi has blasted so many centuries in the range of two runs a ball and yet he doesn’t have a single 50 in a World Cup let alone 100. His highest score is 37.
2015 was also disappointing him. Misbah-ul-Haq has never hit an ODI century and this was probably his last chance for doing so and he missed the bus.3.
Ireland almost makes it: In 2007 Ireland kicked Pakistan out of the World Cup and in 2011 they chased 300+ with England. They outdid themselves this time when they chased 300+ with West Indies and also beat Zimbabwe. They needed to beat Pakistan to come 3rd in the 7-league group which would have been a great achievement. William Porterfield scored a fine century but they kept losing wickets and their inexperience showed.
They need to be exposed to many more matches but instead the ICC has kicked them out of World Cup 2019!The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/