Pakistan enter the quarter finals having won 8 out of their last 10 one day internationals. Today they broke Australia's 34 run winning streak in World Cups.
Before the tournament I said:
" Pakistan effectively only need to beat Canada, Kenya and Zimbabwe to progress to the quarter finals in the World Cup. They can actually afford to lose to Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia without harming their prospects of reaching the knock out stages as long as they beat the minnows. Nonetheless, you'll expect them to beat New Zealand and if they could win their encounter against either Australia or Sri Lanka as well, that will put them in an excellent position to get the momentum, psychological edge and in-form confidence to deliver when it matters. Also, will give them an easier fixture in the quarter final against a lesser in form outfit. There are absolutely no excuses for not reaching the quarter finals. Reaching the semis should be the target and where I think they will be, come 26th March! The tournament structure certainly suits Pakistan as it is all about easing your way into it and peaking at the right time. In short, a very open World Cup where Pakistan stand a good outside chance in all seriousness.
Mark my words. The match vs. Sri Lanka on the 26th of February and the match against Australia on the 19th of March will be absolutely detrimental to Pakistan's general chances in the long chain of events. I expect them to beat Canada, Zimbabwe, Kenya and New Zealand comfortably. These two aforementioned encounters are crucial and if can win at least 1 or even 2 of them that will be simply awesome.
6 Group fixtures are to be played between the 23rd of Feb and 19th March. How many games will they win? I personally reckon 4 but they really should target winning 5. Here below is the rating of the various, but inevitable possibilities:
The glory of 1992 was an unforgettable achievement under Imran Khan's captaincy on the 25th of March that year. One wonders and dreams if Pakistan can repeat such a feat on the 2nd of April 2011? An outside chance is a possibility and a team not be underestimated is what I feel are the chances of the men in green. Above all, anything but a repeat of 2003 and 2007 is something which needs to be prevented as a matter of expectation.
It’s an open World Cup in all seriousness and fairness. It would be unwise to rule out the capabilities of the majestic cornered tigers. Going the distance and triumphing is not beyond them. Nonetheless, I feel India and South Africa look like favourites to win this 10th WC tournament. Pakistan should target a spot in the semis at least; I will be satisfied if they are able to reach that far. That would be a good showing and a successful campaign."
1/6= Not happening (elimination)
2/6=Not happening (elimination)
3/6=Not happening (poor but progression nonetheless)
Quarter Final=Minimum expectation
Semi Final= Good achievement
Winners=What DREAMS are made of!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Semis: Pakistan, Sri Lanka & South Africa
3) Sri Lanka
4) New Zealand
Pakistan have successfully topped the group and NOW can be considered serious contenders for the title. In my view, this is an excellent opportunity NOW for Pakistan to go on and win the World Cup more than ever before. Whilst they may have their own questionable internal downfalls which looked to be significantly standing in their ways of achieving their full potential and bringing them down in the bigger matches as the tournament progressed, this may not come into play as much as one may initially think. Reasons to be explained assuming India beat West Indies tomorrow as expected and the group standings remain the same:
1) Playing a weakened West Indies outfit in the QF. Not in form and not with the best of preparation behind their backs. Arguably the weakest side in the QF. Pakistan are undoubtedly the superior force and firm favourites for this encounter regardless.
2) If there is one team that can make South Africa choke it is Pakistan. Same applies against New Zealand as well. Either one of these will be facing us in the semis should we win our QF against the West Indies and therefore we should certainly fancy our chances on history alone which is in our favour whereas playing in the back of their minds!
Whilst I may disagree with some of the selection, strategy, combinations and captaincy ill mannered approach and mindset, I am nevertheless fully confident of Pakistan reaching the Wankhede Stadium for the grand final and so should you! The route to glory is significantly easier than it could have been and deservedly so as they topped the group. The captain, management and strength of the team composition isn't great and probably will not be fully challenged as explained. However, who could simply consider complaining if it was to be at the expense of lifting a prestigious sporting trophy and when assessing the situation of the country away from the playing field it simply could not have come at a better needed time.
Before the tournament I predicted India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan will reach the semis and now considering the quarter final match ups this could turn out to be a perfect prediction although I would love to see England get through to the final 4 as well and feel they might get there.