Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson, MS Dhoni and Chris Gayle are looking to lead their countries to victory as the ICC cricket world cup heats up and heads into the finals.
Australia secured a spot in the tournament’s quarterfinals after defeating Sri Lanka on Sunday. Moving towards their final pool match of the tournament Australia will play Scotland at Blundstone Arena in Hobart on Saturday. Michael Clarke’s return to the pitch against Sri Lanka showed that the Australian captain hasn’t lost his touch since returning to the batting line-up. Clarke’s 68 proved that he has not lost form but also that his ability to perform under pressure is critical attribute for Australia’s success.
Another key to Australia’s success in the finals is the consistent form of Mitchell Johnson. Johnson has been providing effective pressure with the ball throughout the tournament and will be looked upon to lead Australia’s bowling attack. Johnson is Australia’s second leading wicket taker and posted an impressive 4/22 against Afghanistan. Saturday’s match against Scotland will give both Clarke and Johnson another great opportunity to gather momentum into the finals.
MS Dhoni’s Indian team has been looking like defending champions should: cool calm and collected. India has been in cruise control much of the tournament with the exception of their nail biting victory over Chris Gayle’s West Indian side which secured the reigning ICC world cup champions a spot in the quarterfinals. Dhoni has been the undefeated India’s steady hand throughout the tournament supported by a tidy bowling attack. Dhoni is looking to lead his country to a second consecutive world cup victory.
Chris Gayle and the West Indies have been all about setting records in the tournament so far and are now playing for a finals birth in their final pool match against the United Arab Emirates this Sunday. In a tournament that saw an amazing batting performance in which Gayle set the highest individual run score in world cup history (215), it also saw the West Indies on the receiving end of the worst loss in world cup history. The record tying 257 run defeat at the hands of South Africa, a forgettable moment in West Indies cricket history. The West Indies have struggled with consistency so far and will be looking to Chris Gayle to lead them into the finals in the must win game against the UAE.
If the West Indies take care of business on Sunday and either Pakistan lose to Ireland or Ireland lose their final two matches, then the Quarterfinals shape up as follows:
Wednesday March 18 – South Africa v Sri Lanka, Sydney
Thursday March 19 – India v Bangladesh, Melbourne
Friday March 20 – Australia v Pakistan, Adelaide
Saturday March 21 – New Zealand v West Indies, Wellington
For all ICC Cricket World Cup information visit http://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup
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