2015 World Cup update #18: The path to the championship

The preliminary rounds are over and the matchups for the quarterfinals are now set. This is a knockout process in which anything can happen, where a spectacular performance by a single player or a lucky break or a fielding lapse can change the situation dramatically. As I said before, I am terrible at predicting cricket outcomes but that does not prevent me from keeping on doing so, so here are my picks for the rest of the tournament.

Here’s the playoff bracket.

world cup bracket

My picks?

March 18: Sri Lanka beats South Africa
March 19: India beats Bangladesh
March 20: Australia beats Pakistan
March 21: New Zealand beats West Indies

I am pretty confident about New Zealand and India winning. I would not be surprised if Pakistan, my dark horse team for this tournament, upsets Australia, though their chances have been hurt by an injury to their fast bowler Mohammad Irfan that has eliminated him from the rest of the tournament. Pakistan got off to a bad start in losing their first two games but they have got better as the tournament wore on.

My picks are consistent with the professional odds-makers except for the case of SL beating SA. While this pick has an element of wishful thinking (in that I would like to see SL advance, especially since that might enable me to actually see them in the semi-final game), it is not entirely so. Sri Lanka has been steadily improving during this tournament and they have a history of finishing strong. They have several veteran players who have experience at this level and the pressure involved. SA on the other hand, have a history of producing weak performances at crucial times and have yet to get beyond the quarterfinals. They have looked a little wobbly this time too so my pick has some chance of coming true.

For the remaining games (assuming my quarterfinal picks work out), these are my predictions:

March 24: New Zealand beats Sri Lanka
March 26: India beats Australia (India has been playing well and may well beat Australia even on their home grounds.)


March 29: New Zealand beats India

In the last game of the group matches, Ireland lost to Pakistan and bowed out of the tournament, allowing West Indies to squeeze through in the basis of a better run rate. I was sorry to see Ireland depart. They played well and showed that they belong here. In fact, all four countries that do not have Test-playing status (Ireland, Scotland, UAE, and Afghanistan) played well enough that they should be invited to play in future tournaments too and the apparent decision by the governing ICC to make the 2019 and 2023 World Cups open only to the ten Test-playing nations seems like a terrible idea. We need to have more teams playing at the highest levels so that they get better.


  1. filethirteen says

    My only change to your predictions is Australia beating India and then beating NZ in the final. I’m predicting Australia’s home ground advantage to boost them when it matters. Assuming Australia make it through the semis, they face their next opponent in Sydney, and the final will be in Melbourne.

  2. Mano Singham says


    In theory home field should provide an advantage but in practice it is only in 2011 that the home team won the championship, so it seems to not be such a huge factor.

    I am not sure how big the Indian expatriate community is in Australia but I am guessing that it must be fairly big and that there will be a large contingent in the stadium.

  3. Brian E says

    It’s pretty simple for Australia, Starc and Faulkner can limit batsmen, and if Johnson can stop being so expensive, even better. The batsmen simply have to fire. Either one of Warner, Watson or Maxwell needs a century in each match and I think they’ll do very well. Against NZ, the batsmen fell over, and only Starc’s swingers kept the team in it.

    India are looking very good. Well timed, they were disinterested in the tri-series held before the world cup, but they’re on song now.

    Pakistan are always dangerous. Would not surprise to see their pacemen take out the Australian batsmen and/or one of their own got ballistic with the bat. I think Afridi is due.

    Sri Lanka seem a tiny bit light on bowling with Herath injured, but they have Sangakkara batting like centuries are easy (probably are for him) and some other champions, so not doubt a chance.

    South Africa have to bat first, and Amla score a century, then they win. Otherwise even De Villiers can’t save them when chasing a decent total.

    NZ look like they’ve time this to perfection. I’d hate to see them go out meekly in the quarters or semis. Anything less than a final is a failure for them I reckon. Their quarter and semi should they win are at home.

    West Indies are in it to make up the numbers I fear. They just are too inconsistent and a bit thread bare in a most departements.

    I don’t think Bangladesh have what it takes.

    So, my brackets as USians call it…

    Quarters same as you Mano, assuming Sri Lanka bat first.

    Sri Lanka def NZ with Sangakkara scoring a 6th (or 7th) century of tournament.
    Australia beating India by a bees ****

    Sri Lanka def Australia and Sangakkara made world president.

    OK, I have no idea. That bracket is just what would make me smile.

  4. lsamaknight says

    I agree that restricting the roster is rather foolish, or at the very least short sighted. More exposure to the games top players can only be a good thing in terms of experience and developing the game.

    Ireland in particular would seem to be hurt the worst, at least from my perspective. They’ve performed well not just at this world cup, but at several others in the past as well. I’ve heard that they’re actively attempting to gain Test status and shutting them out of the World Cup now would definitely put a crimp in those plans, depriving them of valuable experience. And while they haven’t gone all the way, they haven’t disgraced themselves either.

  5. fentex says

    Though we’ve had the better of Sri Lanka for a while now I continue to be concerned that NZ’s mid-order batting has looked weak. It’s our current crop of good bowlers and energetic fielding organised by McCullum’s captaining that is winning us games.

    I think it’s 60/40 NZ makes the final, but if facing Australia they will have the advantage on their home pitch.

  6. Brian E says

    The cricket gods have chosen to humble me for my hubris in predicting matches.
    Sri Lanka batted first and made half a decent score. The Saffa bowlers were on fire.
    Amla is out for nothing, but I can’t see them choking from this.
    It is my fault that Sri Lanka are going home. With great power, comes great responsibility.
    Either that, or I have no idea of that which I prognosticate.

  7. Mano Singham says

    The result was a shocker, not because SA won but the lack of competitiveness in the game that most expected to be the most exciting of the QF match ups. But you have to hand it to SA for playing well and overcoming their demons of past failures and giving them hope that this might finally be their year. The catch is that they will now likely face NZ in the semi-final game, another team that has hopes that this too could be their year. It is a game in which I am sorry that there has to be a loser, since they are both good teams that play the game with the right spirit.

    The SA-SL game illustrates the unpredictability of cricket, especially in the limited-over format, which is part of its great charm. It must be disappointing for their top three batsmen Sangakkara, Jayawardene, and Dilshan that they will retire and not have a World Cup to their names but they can console themselves with the fact that they won the Twenty20 championship last year.

    atheistblog @#7, I am not sure why you say that SL got ‘screwed’. They got trounced but not screwed because that latter word implies that they somehow lost unfairly. SA won fair and square by playing well.

  8. One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login says

    It’s been a long long time since I watched any cricket but your posts tweaked my nostalgia buttons and I thought I’d see if any of these games were on my TV provider. Nope! Can you believe, DirecTV has no cricket in its vast schedule anywhere? What TV network are you using, or do you stream them on the intertubes?

  9. Mano Singham says

    The only way to see the full games in real time in the US is to subscribe for $99 to Cricinfo that is now owned by ESPN. I would not recommend it because the games take place overnight, starting close to midnight Eastern time.

    However, you can see five minute summaries of each game by going here and clicking on the Report link for each game. If you were following the commentary for each game, you could see videos of key plays such as fours, sixes, wickets, and any other items of interest. Also, if you click on the Scorecard link, you can see clips of how each person got out.

  10. jockmcdock says

    @One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login (or anyone else)

    I have a couple of links on the intertubes. I doubt that the protocol for this site allows me to publish this information. Is it possible to PM?

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