India's performance on the field has not only left fans spell-bound but it has also forced former cricketers to pick the Men in Blue as the favorites to appear in the finals of the ongoing World Cup. Joining former South African skipper Shaun Pollock, Jonty Rhodes picked India as one of the finalists along with Australia, although he said that there were no favorites who would emerge victorious in the finals.
The former South African player was of the opinion that India and Australia played exceptionally well through the tournament, paving their way to the semi-finals with ease. India have won seven out of the nine games in the group stage and are at the top of the tournament table while Australia have managed to win seven games and have lost two, resulting in them slipping down to the second position on the tournament table.
While India is playing New Zealand in the first semi-final at Old Trafford on July 9, the rain played spoilsport on the scheduled day, forcing the game to be resumed on July 10, Wednesday, the reserve day. Australia will be facing England in the second semi-final at Edgbaston, Birmingham on July 11.
When asked about South Africa’s performance in the ICC World Cup 2019, Rhodes said, “ The last twelve months have not been that pretty when it comes to their domestic results and they did not know their best eleven. When you go to a World Cup and you are not even sure about your playing XI, I think you are in trouble.”
“Their performance has been quite disappointing but as far as rankings are concerned, they were quite generously poised at No. 3 before the tournament. They were unable to replace AB de Villiers and you can’t accept him back at the last moment. Also, the players who were expected to perform did not work out in the tournament,” he added.
Former South African skipper AB DeVilliers, who had retired in May 2018, had requested to make a comeback to the national side prior to the World Cup but the offer was rejected by the South Africa Cricket Board, who cited that DeVilliers did not meet qualification criteria and that the spirit of the other players who had been preparing for the World Cup for the past year would be hampered.
South Africa did not have a good run in the ongoing World Cup as they managed to grab just three wins out of nine matches, crashing out of the tournament with a consolatory win over Australia in the last match of the group stage. Prior to the commencement of the World Cup, the South African side was touted as one of the favorites to reach the semi-finals stage of the tournament.
“They really did not have a Plan B. Plan A was to bowl fast. But England has two summers. One is cold and swinging conditions while others one is flat and hot. You can’t just have Plan A here. You cannot just expect to bowl people over with sheer pace. So, in my opinion, they need different approaches to the game,” he concluded.