In the beginning of the tournament itself, looking at the schedule and the grouping of teams it was well understood that the teams who would make it to the quarter-finals of the world cup would be India, West Indies, South Africa and England from group B and Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand from group A. But, the next guess that is more important would be the semi-finals and unfortunately, even that work has been greatly simplified. Thanks to the below par performance from England and West Indies who would no doubt be on the losing side in the quarter-finals.
Yesterday, the West Indies played as though they were no match for the Proteas when the South African ship sailed so smoothly en route to their successful chase of 223 runs set by West Indies. Had this been the total some ten years back, then may be a see-saw sort of match would have been in front of our eyes. But, i a day when even a total in excess of 300 does not guarantee a victory, a total of 222 stands nowhere. The West Indies bowlers showed no signs of spirit that they were facing a strong nation and played as though they were facing Ireland.
There was only one batsman from the West Indian side who scored a half century and despite batsmen like Dwayne Bravo and Devon Smith and Shivnarine Chanderapaul getting the momentum right, they could not convert their innings into match winning partnerships. It would be wrong to say that the West Indies are not equipped with match wining players which is responsible for their debacle. There are the likes of Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo etc who can do miracles with the bat. There is also a rare all-rounder in Kieron Pollard who can smash bowlers and take wickets as well.
But, the thing which the West Indian players lack is the team work which makes them one of the most vulnerable outfits in world cricket. Any team can beat the West Indies including Bangladesh and may be to an extent. In the last world cup, despite playing at home and with Brian Lara out there, they had losses against England, Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand. Their only success was against Pakistan in the pool match. No doubt that West Indies will make it to the quarter-finals but, it is sad that the competition will be stripped off its caliber when teams don't perform upto their expectations.