New Delhi, 28 June (Hindustan Times). Zimbabwe and former champions Sri Lanka are the frontrunners in the race to secure the last two qualifying berths for this year’s ODI World Cup, while the West Indies, who have won the trophy twice, are in danger of being knocked out of the tournament for the first time.
After winning all four group matches, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka entered the crucial Super Six stage of the qualifiers with four points each. With their impressive batting performance including a national record score of 408 for 6 against the United States, the Zimbabwean team will head into the upcoming matches with a lot of confidence.
“We’ve found our rhythm and we’re hoping to carry that on,” said Sean Williams, who scored 174 in Monday’s 304-run win over USA. Williams is clearly in the tournament with 390 runs. Highest run scorer batsman. He showed his dominance with an unbeaten century against Nepal and followed it up with a solid 91 against the Netherlands.
Apart from Williams, Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza both scored notable centuries. Raza not only performed well in batting but also in bowling and took eight wickets.
Zimbabwe will play their upcoming matches against Oman, Sri Lanka and Scotland in Bulawayo instead of Harare. Despite the change in venue, the home team can count on the unwavering support of their fans, which will undoubtedly work in their favour. Williams said, “It’s a different venue, and everything about it is different but we’ll still have the support of the crowd and having him is always like being the 12th man.”
Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, had a relatively smooth journey through the group stage of the tournament. However, their upcoming match against the Netherlands on Friday could present an interesting challenge as the Dutch team goes into the game with renewed confidence after their remarkable win over the West Indies in the Super Over.
Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has been impressive in the tournament, taking an impressive total of 18 wickets. His extraordinary feat of taking three consecutive five-wicket hauls in ODIs places him in the list of great Pakistani bowlers, Waqar Younis.
Dasun Shanaka of Sri Lanka said, “He is a champion bowler. Whenever I trust him and give him the ball, he lives up to my faith.” While the future looks bright for Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, the hosts and The condition of the West Indies is very bad after consecutive defeats to the Netherlands.
The once mighty Windies, who had won the first two World Cups held in 1975 and 1979, now find themselves in a position where they need to win against Scotland, Oman and Sri Lanka to have a realistic chance of qualifying.
On the challenges ahead, coach Darren Sammy, who previously led the West Indies to two T20 World Cup victories as captain, said, “I fully understand the path I have to walk with this team. Ever- Sometimes you have to hit the bottom to come back up. I understand the challenges ahead and I also understand that things will not change overnight. This is a true reflection of where our cricket is at the moment. a lot of work to do.”