The 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has now entered into the final week. Ahead of the semi-finals of this tournament, former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes has predicted the finalists of this tournament.
After the end of the round-robin stage, India, Australia, England and New Zealand have qualified for the semi-finals. India finished as the table-topper with 15 points while Australia, England and New Zealand finished in the next three positions with 14, 12 and 11 points respectively.
In the first semi-final, India will face New Zealand on Tuesday (9th July) at Old Trafford (Manchester). Later, on Thursday (11th July), the defending champions Australia will play against the host side England in the second semi-final at Edgbaston (Birmingham). Both the semi-final winners will meet in the final of this tournament on 14th July at Lord’s (London).
Ahead of the first semi-final of this tournament, Jonty Rhodes is confident about the final between India and Australia. However, he further added that there is no favourite side in the final match of this tournament.
Rhodes told Hindustan Times, “Australia are going to play India in the final. But, no one is a favourite.”
In the CWC final history, India and Australia met once in 2003 at Johannesburg where Ricky Ponting-led Australia won by 125 runs.
Jonty Rhodes is unhappy with South Africa’s performances in this Cricket World Cup
On the other hand, Jonty Rhodes feels disappointed on South Africa’s performances in the 2019 CWC. The Proteas side finished this tournament in the seventh position after earning seven points. They managed to claim only three victories in this tournament, and those were against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Talking about South Africa’s disappointing performances in this tournament, Rhodes pointed out the unsure about the playing XI.
He said, “The last twelve months have not been that pretty when it comes to their domestic results and they did not know their best XI. When you go to a World Cup and you are not even sure about your playing XI, I think you are in trouble.
“Their performance has been quite disappointing but as far as rankings are concerned, they were quite generously poised at No. 3 before the tournament. They were unable to replace AB de Villiers and you can’t accept him back at the last moment. Also, the players who were expected to perform did not work out in the tournament.”
Rhodes believes South Africa really did not have a Plan B
South Africa started this tournament with three consecutive defeats against England, Bangladesh and India. After their fourth match against Windies had a no result due to the rain washout, South Africa achieved their first victory in this tournament by comfortably beating Afghanistan.
However, then, South Africa once again suffered two straight defeats against New Zealand and Pakistan. Though South Africa won their last two matches against Sri Lanka and Australia, it was too late for them.
Jonty Rhodes has felt that South Africa didn’t have any secondary plans for this tournament.
He added, “They really did not have a Plan B. Plan A was to bowl fast. But England has two summers. One is cold and swinging conditions while others one is flat and hot. You can’t just have Plan A here. You cannot just expect to bowl people over with sheer pace. So, in my opinion, they need different approaches to the game.”
It was the first time in CWC history when South Africa lost five matches in a single edition.