The final 2019 Cricket World Cup group games were played on Saturday July 6th – Australia (surprisingly) lost to South Africa, meaning India, who had earlier pummelled Sri Lanka, finished atop the table and will play New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday, July 9th – whilst the Aussies will face old enemy England in a mouth watering clash at Edgbaston on Thursday, July 11th.
Australia went down by just 10 runs to South Africa – but once again, a team chasing has not been able to pull off the win, though Australia will have been very disappointed – and very concerned – that the Proteas were able to score 325/6 in their 50 overs – with skipper Faf du Plessis (above) hitting exactly 100 – hugely assisted by Rassie van der Dussen, who contributed 95. For once the Aussie bowling attack looked off colour – the much vaunted trio of Starc, Cummins and Behrendorff all going at more than 6 per over.
But it was a total that proved too much for Australia to chase down – despite another splendid century from David Warner. His 122 off 117 balls in vain as a glut of early wickets put Australia behind the run rate which they couldn’t recover from. A great cameo innings from Alex Carey (above – 85 from 69 balls) kept the game exciting – but the Aussies fell short and dropped to the #2 seed – and a date with England, who will be seeking to exact revenge after their group stage loss to Australia.
Earlier in the day, India had little trouble in defeating Sri Lanka and claim the #1 seeding for the Semi Finals. Sri Lanka batted first and were in a mess early on, slipping to 55/4 before Angelo Mathews (113) and Lahiru Thirimanne (53) gave the scoreboard some respectability and the Sri Lankan bowlers something of relative substance to defend – helping them reach 264/7.
It was a total never really likely to worry the Indian batsmen – and opening pair KL Rahul with Rohit Sharma set (both above) about the total with relish – sharing an opening stand of 189 and both, eventually, reaching their centuries. Sharma hitting his third consecutive century and fifth in eight 2019 Cricket World Cup group games (no result against New Zealand) – making him the tournament highest run scorer of the group stages. Rahul would finish with 111 against his name, with Sharma hitting 103. Their middle order colleagues knocked off the remainder of the runs for the loss of just one more wicket to claim a comfortable win and set up a clash with New Zealand.
The Kiwis had secured fourth spot when Pakistan couldn’t get the miracle win over Bangladesh they needed. Pakistan will rue their opening game hammering by the West Indies – the result harmful enough, but being bowled out for 105 and then the West Indies knocking them off in just 13.4 overs damaging their NRR too much for New Zealand to ever be really worried about being overtaken – despite them losing their last three group games.
So the group stages are now concluded – and we know the final four and who will play who. It seemed to be obvious a few weeks into the tournament – but it certainly wasn’t as straight forward for any of the four who remain in with a chance of becoming 2019 Cricket World Cup champions.
- INDIA P9 W7 L1 N/R 1 NRR 0.809 PTS 15
- AUSTRALIA P9 W7 L2 N/R 0 NRR 0.868 PTS 14
- ENGLAND P9 W6 L3 N/R 0 NRR 1.152 PTS 12
- NEW ZEALAND P9 W5 L3 N/R 1 NRR 0.175 PTS 11
- PAKISTAN P9 5 L3 N/R 1 NRR -0.43 PTS 11
- SRI LANKA P9 W3 L4 N/R 2 NRR -0.919 PTS 8
- SOUTH AFRICA P9 W3 L5 N/R 1 NRR -0.03 PTS 7
- BANGLADESH P9 W3 L5 N/R 1 NRR -0.41 PTS 7
- WEST INDIES P9 W2 L6 N/R 1 NRR -0.225 PTS 5
- AFGHANISTAN P9 W0 L9 N/R 0 NRR -1.332 PTS