With top eight teams qualified for the ICC cricket World Cup knockouts, the stage is set for a high octane clash for the ultimate glory. 1996 champions and previous edition’s runners-up, Sri Lanka will meet mighty South Africa in the first quarters at the SCG.
Riding on veteran Kumar Sangakkara’s four consecutive ODI hundreds, Sri Lankan team won some good matches off-let and finished third in the pool A. Sri Lanka lost their first match against co-hosts New Zealand but bounce back to win four matches to qualify for the quarters.
On the other hand, South Africa lost both to India and Pakistan in their group stages. Skipper AB de Villiers led the team from front to contribute in every match. World’s best fast bowler Dale Steyn has not delivered yet but it is hoped he has kept his best for the knockouts.
In the second quarters, defending champions India will face so-called minnows Bangladesh, who have virtually knocked England out of the tournament. India are unbeaten in the league stages and hot favourites to retain the title. The Asian affair will be held on Thursday at MCG.
The four time champions Australia will lock horns with 1992 champions Pakistan on Friday at Adelaide Oval. The Pakistan had a bad start losing to arch-rivals India and struggling West Indies early in the tourney. But they bounced back to claim a spot in the quarters.
Come Saturday, the Kiwis will meet jittery West Indies in the last quarter final match. The Black Caps will try to cross the final-four hurdle this time around to live up to the favourites tag in their own den.
England, the only big team will be licking their wounds after their early exit from the mega event.