A wicket-keeper batsman getting better and better by the match, England’s key under-the-radar bowler and trauma problems from the Australian camp create Jamie Pacheco’s list of items to keep an eye out for in the semis…
Glove guy could be the dangerman of Australia
It hasn’t been fantastic tournament for wicket-keeper batsmen in the point of view of conducts. Quinton de Kock did ok but his performances were a far cry from the prolific run-getter of the last few decades, Jos Buttler looks strangely from form and also low on confidence and also the great MS Dhoni has made headlines for his slow, conservative and unadventurous innings compared to swashbuckling ones old. Even his concern was expressed by the great Sachin Tendulkar.
So that the wicket-keeper batsmen community can be proud of their efforts of Alex Carey. His three fifties from nine innings might not seem like something to write home about but they need to be set into context. He has always been asked to come in at seven and that is either to carry out a rescue act (New Zealand, West Indies), to get them over the line at a tough chase (South Africa) or to score quickly after a good start. Whatever was needed off him, he always did it.
With 329 runs he is the group’s third greatest scorer after David Warner and Aaron Finch. With Usman Khawaja struggling with a hamstring injury and Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis (himself fighting with trauma ) short of runs, it would be no surprise to see Carey come in a couple of places higher than usual on Thursday. You’ll see much worse bets than the 10/1 about him high scoring for Australia from England when the semis come about.
In a effort so far packed with away the-cuff selection choices by the Indian direction, it would be no surprise if the newest was that Ravindra Jadeja got a game in the semi-final.
He played for the very first time this tournament against Sri Lanka, instead of Yuzvendra Chahal, who had been pricey against England. Jadeja bowled 10 overs for just 40 runs, claimed the big wicket of Kusal Mendis, took a catch to dismiss the well-set HDRL Thrimanne, but wasn’t required to bat.
He could well keep his position in the team now with any of Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav or Mohammad Shami missing out. There’s another reason why the Indian management could stick . Or two, rather. Perhaps only Virat Kohli is as good a fielder as him at the side and his presence in the group solves their problem at number eight.
Jadeja’s three-dimensional abilities may provide India with a sort of safety valve. A competition for? Zealand’s opening partnership has been a tragedy. Colin Munro was so poor that he was dropped two games ago and his replacement Henry Nicholls hasn’t fared far better. Martin Guptill’s career numbers are very impressive but not so at this World Cup: one fifty in eight innings tells its own story.
It’s all in stark contrast to India’s where both openers obtained tonnes against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Rohit Sharma has 647 runs, including five centuries. KL Rahul has 360 runs like a century and two fifties and this despite the fact he has only opened in India’s last few games.
It goes a long way to explaining why India are so short at 4/11 to win the match when they face New Zealand. And why it’s just 8/13 that India have the maximum opening partnership.
A roar could be made by the quiet man of england
Liam Plunkett is among the less fussy and not as flashy players who will be playing at the semis but do not underestimate his importance.
Strangely dropped for four matches despite not having done much wrong, he returned to the side when England were drinking in last-chance saloon, taking three wickets from India and one against New Zealand. And look at the market rate: 5.5 at a high-scoring match against India and only 3.5 against the Kiwis.
In a team filled with big personalities, outspoken characters and gamers full of’Hollywood’ abilities, this quiet character who just gets on with it’s as crucial as these. He’s 7/2 to be England’s best bowler against Australia.