Successes and Failures

**Objective**: Rewrite the content enclosed within “India are the only side to enjoy an unblemished campaign with six straight victories, but all 10 teams have experienced highs mixed with some lows – we look at what has worked and failed for each outfit. South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia have joined the undefeated hosts India in surging into the top four spots so far at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. While the four pacesetters might start fine-tuning their form as they get closer to securing a semi-final berth, the six sides in the chasing pack can still hold out hope of turning around their own performances in time to snatch a spot in the knockout stage. As we approach the pointy end of the tournament, here is what has gone right – and wrong – for each team so far at the Cricket World Cup.”

**Right**: Dominant Performances from Batters and Bowlers

India has been unstoppable in their campaign, winning all six of their matches and aiming to secure their first Cricket World Cup trophy since 2011. Their well-balanced bowling attack has been a standout, taking 56 wickets out of a possible 60 in the tournament. Their dominant bowlers have put the opposing teams in a challenging position, allowing their star-studded batting lineup to comfortably chase down the targets. Virat Kohli and skipper Rohit Sharma have been instrumental in guiding India to five second-innings victories, showcasing their skills even in close contests.

**Wrong**: Concerns Over Hardik Pandya’s Fitness

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While India has been on a winning streak, the fitness of all-rounder Hardik Pandya remains a concern. Pandya rolled his ankle while trying to field a ball off his own bowling against Bangladesh and has been sidelined since then. However, his absence has been compensated by the superb performance of Mohammed Shami, who has taken nine wickets in the two matches he has played. Despite this, having a fast-bowling all-rounder like Pandya in the starting XI could be the missing ingredient for India as the stakes rise in the tournament.

**Still to play – India**: Sri Lanka (2 November), South Africa (5 November), Netherlands (12 November)

**Right**: South Africa’s Strong Batting Line-up

South Africa has showcased their explosive batting potential with big-hitters like Quinton de Kock, Heinrich Klaasen, and David Miller. They have posted four totals over 300 while batting first, including a record-breaking 428 against Sri Lanka. Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, and all-rounder Marco Jansen have also contributed with outstanding performances, proving that South Africa’s batting line-up can dominate matches.

**Wrong**: Struggles with Chasing Targets

South Africa has faced challenges when it comes to chasing targets. They fell 38 runs short in a match against the Netherlands, where they were chasing 245. In the match against Pakistan, they barely reached their target. This highlights the importance of temperament in a run chase, as South Africa almost threw away the match against Pakistan after losing wickets in quick succession.

**Still to play – South Africa**: New Zealand (1 November), India (5 November), Afghanistan (10 November)

**Right**: Rising Star Performance for New Zealand

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Rachin Ravindra has been a standout performer for New Zealand in his tournament debut, scoring the third-most runs so far with 406. He has impressed with two centuries and two fifties. Alongside established players like Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway, Ravindra has led the way for New Zealand, easing the pressure caused by the absence of captain Kane Williamson.

**Wrong**: Narrow Losses Costly for New Zealand

Though New Zealand holds a 4-2 record and a place in the top four, they could have been in a better position if a few critical moments had gone their way. They lost closely contested matches against India and Australia, where they showed strong performances but didn’t do enough to secure victories. New Zealand was in a promising position against India, with the hosts at 191/5 while chasing 274, but couldn’t capitalize on it. Their upcoming matches against South Africa and Pakistan hold importance in their semi-final aspirations.

**Still to play – New Zealand**: South Africa (1 November), Pakistan (4 November), Sri Lanka (9 November)

**Right**: Australia’s Strong Top Order

After a shaky start, the Australian top-order has become a formidable force. They have scored centuries and forged partnerships in their past matches. Veterans David Warner and Travis Head have led the way with impressive performances. With a top-order trio capable of dealing with the new ball and taking control of the game, Australia’s batting lineup has improved significantly.

**Wrong**: Slow Start Puts Australia in a Tough Position

Australia found themselves in a difficult position after losing their opening two matches to India and South Africa. Their injury-riddled squad struggled, and with a stacked attack of three frontline pacers, they had limited room for error. However, four consecutive victories have put them back in the race for the semi-finals. Crucial matches against England and Afghanistan will determine their progress.

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**Still to play – Australia**: England (4 November), Afghanistan (7 November), Bangladesh (11 November)

**Right**: Afghanistan’s Progress as Giant-Killers

Afghanistan has made significant progress in their Cricket World Cup campaign, securing three victories against past champions England, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. After having won only one match in previous tournaments, they now have legitimate hopes of a semi-final spot.

**Wrong**: Middle-order Struggles Prove Costly

While Afghanistan has shown strength in recent matches, their opening defeat to Bangladesh continues to haunt them. They lost eight wickets for just 44 runs after being in a strong position at 112/2. Their bowlers, led by Rashid Khan, have been exceptional, but the lack of stability in their middle-order has come at a high cost.

**Still to play – Afghanistan**: Netherlands (upcoming)

In conclusion, as the Cricket World Cup progresses, each team faces its own challenges and successes. India remains undefeated and boasts a strong bowling attack, but concerns over Hardik Pandya’s fitness persist. South Africa’s explosive batting line-up needs to work on chasing targets, while New Zealand looks to turn narrow losses into victories. Australia has bounced back from a slow start, while Afghanistan’s giant-killing performances have been impressive, despite middle-order struggles. The upcoming matches will be crucial in determining which teams secure a place in the semi-finals.

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