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Quarterfinal lowdown

Will South africa choke, yet again; will the pakistanis do the unthinkable; or will the under perfomring england team finally come into their own ? HT ponders.

cricket Updated: Mar 22, 2011 01:02 IST

Will they choke?

Dhaka: Fresh from their demolition of Bangladesh, which helped them top Group 'B', South Africa are gearing up to take on New Zealand.

South Africa were the only team to qualify from Group 'B' with a match to spare. In contrast, the Kiwis came into this tournament losing 11 out of their 12 matches, most of them in the sub-continent. But Ross Taylor's return to form has bolstered their chances.

They will fancy their chances against a team that has shown signs of weakness when under pressure, against England in the league match.

But a close win over India has restored Graeme Smith's faith in his boys.

Pak have the edge

Dhaka: It is difficult to keep Pakistan out of controversies, but this World Cup has been an exception. This is reflected in their emergence atop Group 'A'.

Pakistan take on the West Indies at the Sher-e Bangla Stadium on Wednesday with the odds tipped in favour of Waqar Younis's boys, mainly because of the crowd support.

The West Indies return to this venue with memories of a crushing victory over Bangladesh. Both teams have had a feel of playing here. Fitness worries for Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach will slightly push the Caribbeans back.

Happy to be home

Colombo: As Sri Lanka returned on Monday after thumping New Zealand in their last league match in Mumbai, Kumar Sangakkara's men would have had mixed feelings. While they would be delighted at playing the quarterfinal at home, they would be wary of their opponents at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

No doubt, England have been the biggest under-performers, the fact that they made the cut despite two losses shows that they have raised the bar when needed. Moreover, England are the only team to have qualified from a must-win position in their last league tie.