Well yesterday England as expected defeated the West Indies by 18 runs which not only kept England's hopes alive in the world cup but also avoided another mismatch awaiting with Bangladesh having a chance to go through to the quarter finals of the tournament in case England had lost the match to the West Indies. That in turn would have seen four teams from the sub-continent make it to the 2nd round of a world cup which has so far not happened in any of the world tournaments. And, with Bangladesh making it to the quarters would have spoiled all spirits of the mega event.
This is the 1st time since the 1996 world cup that all eight test playing teams have advanced to the second stage of the world cup. One can take a look at the 1999 edition where Zimbabwe made it to the super sixes at the cost of England (to the super sixes), India (to the semi-finals). As a result, Pakistan had a walkover to the semi-finals after they had lost to India and the Proteas in the super sixes. The result was no different four years later when Kenya and Zimbabwe emerged to the super sixes with four teams namely Pakistan, West Indies, England and South Africa losing the plot midway.
In 2007, in the first week of the tournament, India and Pakistan-arch rivals made an early exit which saw a dumb Ireland and Bangladesh making it to the super eights. India and Pakistan were much better teams compared to England and the West Indies which made the mega event a failure. Viewers had to watch helplessly the Ireland-Bangladesh when overpriced tickets were bought anticipating an India-Pakistan match. However, things have returned to normalcy this time with a lot of compromises mentioned in my earlier posts. I instead went in for Personal, Golf, Travel, Golf, Foods rather than seeing a tasteless match out there.
There was threat everywhere in the initial stages of the tournament wherein Ireland and Bangladesh both beat England making England's chances slim in making it to the quarter-finals of the world cup. But, just have a look at what Andrew Struass is all upto when he miraculously beat the Proteas in a low scoring thriller and tied with India when all odds were against them. The presence of West Indies made life easier for the Englishmen for, had it been some New Zealand or Sri Lanka instead of West Indies, may be we would have seen Bangladesh playing the 1st quarter-finals.