Continuing the first part of the series,”Building up of Champions”, here we analyze the group B teams, also called the group of death. The teams are:
Group B: India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and South Africa.
Obviously, it can be seen that there will be tough fight for the semis. The attractiveness of this group increases with the presence of the two arch rivals India and Pakistan.
We start with the Sri Lankan side. The team is undergoing change and a change that may take toll on their CT journey. But this being said, one cannot negate the possibilities that this team is capable of performing. Under the captaincy of Angelo Matthews, who himself is one of the most iconic performer of the, but recently troubled with form. Upal Tharanga, Lasith Malinga, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Parera are the most experienced players in the side but they also have a long way to go. For the rest, it will be a nova experience. The team has failed to stabilize itself post Sangakkara and Jayawardane phase. The team lacks all-rounders and match winners, but is capable of a good performance anytime. Presence of India and South Africa will their journey troublesome.
Next up in the list is Pakistan, another Asian team going through change, but unlike Sri lanka, Pakistan has seem to find that right balance. Sarfaraz Khan, the new captain of the side, will be mostly sought, especially after the performance off lately. The bowling looks good having Wahab Riaz, Aamir, Junaid in the kitty. Spin might be a concern. Presence of Shoaib Mallik will bring lots of experience to the rather young team. Babar Alam, Azar Ali, Shehzad etc will provide consolidation to the batting. If the team is eyeing semis, it has to click as a unit rather than individually.
Next, the only Non-Asian team of the group, South Africa. Always a good, balanced team, defeated not by the opponent but by the situation. On every occasion they adjudged the tag given to them, ‘Chokers’. If the team is able to fight this out, they can fight out any opponent. The bowling is solid with Rabada, Morkel and Miller. The spin looks sorted. Batsmen are in prime form. A rock solid fielding adds cheery to the cake. Potential winners of the trophy, South Africa need to tackle their ‘succumbing under pressure’ trait.
Finally the defending Champions, India. A good looking side on paper and field and especially even more dangerous under their new aggressive captain, Virat Kohli, who will have a thing to prove himself after a bad IPL. Bowling is looking perilous with Shami being fit and Bumrah, Bhuvi and Umesh in their peak. The addition of Hardik adds more balance to the side. Ashwin and Jadeja have taken a good care of the spin for a good time now and will look to continue that. The batsmen also had a good IPL and are in form. The opening might be a concern but one good match will let things going. Overall, another potential winner and no team can defeat them if it’s their day.
All the four teams look good and have equal chance of winning. No one team can be said superior to another. Will be interesting to see if India defends the title or Africa removes the tag Chokers. Or the new Lanka lions roar in style or it will be resurgence of Pakistani side. Only time stands the witness. All of these from 1st June.
PS- Do not forget to read the first part of this article.
Image credits: Cricinfo