31 October 2023, 06:43 PM
Thirteenth edition of ICC ODI World Cup is going on in India. So far the sixth round of matches has been completed. The cricket world has already known the strength of any team. As such, former cricketers have started predicting which two teams will play the final. Of course, such predictions have been going on since long before the start of the World Cup. But most are naming the four semi-finalists. This time, former South African captain Graeme Smith has chosen two possible finalist teams.
Host nation India has won all 6 matches played so far. Considering their form, Smith is also watching his country South Africa in the final. He said, ‘Prediction is always difficult. I think India is at the top, South Africa at number two, New Zealand at number three and Australia at number four. I think that’s probably going to be your top four for the knockout stage.’
Smith is quite happy with the way India and South Africa are playing in the World Cup. However, the two teams have not met face-to-face so far. The Proteas will face India in Kolkata on November 5. Smith said how excited he is about this match. “I hope they will play in the finals,” he said. I’m going back to South Africa on Wednesday, but if they go to the final I’ll have to buy my ticket. Besides, we have to try to get a hotel in Ahmedabad.’
Satisfied with the performance of his successors, Smith said, ‘India have been so dominant that they have not even been tested. I have played many times at Eden Gardens against India. It is an incredible experience. It’s a great stadium to play in. Our players have done very well, they have exceeded expectations. It’s going to be a great fight.’
The former Proteas captain feels that the knock-out stage will be tougher, saying, ‘South Africa, India, New Zealand and Afghanistan have shown that they deserve to go to the semi-finals. But Australia also started playing well. New Zealand knows how to win. The knock-out is going to be tough. I predict India, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia to make the top four. If the dream comes true, the final will be between South Africa and India.
Rohit Sharma’s team is at the top of the World Cup points table with six wins. Africa is second with 10 points after winning one less match. New Zealand and Australia are next with four wins each. Five-placed Afghanistan have won three matches.