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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014
Write Strauss & Co off at your own peril
Sunil Gavaskar
September 27, 2009
First Published: 00:12 IST(27/9/2009)
Last Updated: 00:15 IST(27/9/2009)

After the big match of the tournament, come the crucial games as New Zealand take on Sri Lanka and South Africa take on England.

These are crucial because the winner of the England-South Africa game will be certain to go through to the next round though, of course, there is a possibility that three teams may well end up with two wins each if New Zealand lose all their games.

Then the net run-rate will factor in and the calculators will be out. England’s win over a confident Sri Lankan side is an eye-opener. Not many gave them a chance after their dismal show against the Australians in the just concluded one-day series at home but not only did they bowl superbly, they attacked Sri Lanka’s mystery bowlers with gusto.

The pitch at the Wanderers in Johannesburg has a fair bit of a green tinge to it and the new-ball bowlers are able to get movement and bounce, which has not made life easy for the batsmen.

Despite losing Andrew Strauss early, England counterattacked through Collingwood and later through Morgan and got home easily.

They will be a dangerous team in this event because if the pitches continue to be like the one at Wanderers then England seamers will have opposition batsmen in trouble.

The South Africans have also come back strongly with a big win against New Zealand and their bowlers will also enjoy bowling on the early season hardness of the pitches. If anything, this game should be the one to watch. For New Zealand to stay in the tournament they will have to beat Sri Lanka and, like with all teams who play the Lankan spinners for the first time, it won’t be easy.


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