Out of nowhere we are suddenly fourty two matches into this World Cup and the final will be upon us in no time so I thought I would provide my predictions for the quarter finals.
West Indies Vs Pakistan: This game is the easiest to pick in my books with Pakistan clear favorites. Shahid Afridi is bowling like a man on a mission as is Umar Gul and with Akhtar wanting a perfect farewell and with a very steady batting line up they should be too good for a misfiring West Indies team. For the West Indies to get past Pakistan they would need quality performances from a batsman such as Gayle as well as strong bowling performance from Roach and the surprisingly good Bishoo. Do not completely rule out the West Indies as Pakistan are prone to many collapses but with Pakistan's recent form in ending Australia's World Cup streak they should be too strong.
India Vs Australia: Should be the pick of the quarter finals. India has looked confident and strong in this World Cup while Australia have been disappointing but as always count Australia out at your peril. There is no doubt that Ponting, Watson and Hussey can all provide big game knocks while a bowling attack with the callibre of Lee and Johnson can strike strong form at any time. As for India I'm sure Sachin is saving his 100th international century for at least a final so we will have to look elsewhere in the batting. I'm sure Sehwag will be good for some quick runs but either way this is a hard one, I mean I can easily see the effigies burning in the streets but I can hear the laughing at the Australians exiting in the quarters and sadly for effigy makers in India the laughing is ringing louder.
South Africa Vs New Zealand: Ah the battle of the chokers against the well rather rubbish. New Zealand has had a mixed bag at this World Cup thrashing minnows as well as Pakistan well getting thrashed by Sri Lanka and Australia. South Africa have been very strong title contenders only slipping up against England. While New Zealand should have the returned services of Vettori and Mills it is not their bowling which has been the worry. The batting has been frail but this would be a very good time to hit a rich vein of form as only three good games from here will make a champion team. South Africa's batting of Kallis Amla and De Villiers should score plenty of runs. The bowling consists of Steyn who has tormented New Zealand many a time as well as Tahir who I am sure will start tormenting us. Don't count out New Zealands very good record against South Africa but sadly I believe this will be the exit of the Kiwis.
England Vs Sri Lanka: The World Cup owes a lot to England. Without them there would have been far less insanely close results and thrilling matches. Sri Lanka on the other hand have been very steady and solid looking very good for progressing deep. Interestingly enough England have only lost to two teams though and that is Ireland and Bangladesh being more on the minnow side so now that there are no more minnows England have no more banana skins so they can focus on playing proper cricket. England have quality players in Trott, Strauss, Swann and even Tredwell who are threatening to perform against the likes of Jayawardene, Sangakkarra and the fairytale seeking Murali. In this one I am going to go for the shock result and the England rollercoaster ride to continue.
Shockingly by Sunday all these results will have occurred and in this World Cup of twists and turns four out of four would be an amazing effort, lets see how I go.