New Zealand and Kane Williamson witnessed Australia lift the trophy of the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai – without even letting a competition take place. It was another defeat in the finals of an ICC event. But in one format, New Zealand have shown why they are the current champions and which is Test cricket. They might be done and dusted, but they keep on breathing and fight – Kanpur witnessed one of the breathtaking Test matches of this year, where the Kiwis frustrated India and snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Since 1993, the West Indies have met Sri Lanka eleven times where they drew just four times and three of those came in a rain-affected Test series where Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara shone with the bat. At the start of the new century, the duel between Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan generated hype where both of them had been at their pristine best, but Lara dominating Murali is still a part of West Indian cricket folklore. Otherwise, it has been all about Sri Lanka in their backyard.
Whenever Australia feature in the final of a mega-event, you have to consider them as the favourites and guess what, they never let their supporters down. They are the masters in the finals of a mega-event and after maintaining their hundred per cent winning record in the knockout stages of an ICC event against Pakistan, they maintained the same against New Zealand.
England started the semifinal as the favourites and their batters gifted them a competitive total to defend on a tricky pitch. Daryl Mitchell remained calm and composed as ever while Jimmy Neesham played one hell of an innings to knock England out of the tournament.
The Bangladesh Cricket Team travelled the Middle East with a lot of expectations but returned home empty-handed. They have won just one match in the qualifiers while they won nothing in the main event, where the performance against Australia and South Africa was absolutely disgraceful.
Whatever hopes were alive for Bangladesh in this tournament was over after the defeat against West Indies and in the remaining two matches it was all about getting back on the track and boosting the confidence - and if a sudden twist occurs in the group, back-to-back victories might help. Well, in the end, Bangladesh ended up with eggs on their faces against South Africa.
After losing their opening matches against Pakistan, two of the finest teams in world cricket would meet each other for keeping their hopes alive for a place in the semifinals.
West Indies and Bangladesh would leghorns in the must-win match at Sharjah.
Both Sri Lanka and Australia started off the tournament with inspiring victories. In the Group of Death, a place in the semifinal spot would never be easier and thus each and every match is important and securing full points are enough important.
Bangladesh have been lacking a lot of self-belief since the tournament kicked off from the qualifying stage. A victory over the new bees - Papua New Guinea does not ensure that Bangladesh had found their way, rather, as soon as the main event started - their loopholes are visible while the unit seems out of focus.
A confident England side would meet Bangladesh in the Group of Death fixture. England, from a bowling point of view, enjoyed a great evening against West Indies, even though they struggled with the bat, but against a low-confident Bangladesh unit, they would look to make up the shortcomings.
The West Indies lost against as South Africa scripted a commendable victory. Meanwhile, Pakistan won a thrilling encounter against New Zealand. The Men in Green were brilliant with the ball as usual but found the going tough while chasing. Asif Ali and the experienced Shoaib Malik steered the ship home.
After a nail-biting affair against Australia and a dismal show against England; South Africa and West Indies would look to put up a commendable effort and keep their hopes alive in a tough group while Pakistan would be looking to give New Zealand a fitting reply.