The journey started on May 30, England vs South Africa hosts facing the mighty Proteases. That’s where it all began, a mega event not just of cricket but of crores and crores of emotions, pacing along with the team. Those appeals were not just mere shouts, but voices of a billion people, those crunch moments were not felt by 11 on the field but by 11 million watching them. Such is this game, it might not be correct to state it as a game; rather it is a religion, a religion that unites everyone with the same feeling. Thousands and thousands coming together to support their teams, cheer for every single move. That journey has now reached its most awaited end, with the shattering of many hearts and many others coming lively. Four teams qualified into the semis, and six others had to pack their bags and return home, with their hopes of world cup glory shattered. The semi-finalists were India, Australia, England and New Zealand.
Afghanistan: Afghanistan came in with high hopes, the players after overcoming tough conditions in their home country, defeating other friendly nations of the ICC and then finding a place in the ICC World Cup. The team gave tough fight is a few matches but in many others showed no considerable resistance which meant every team cashed in against them. But in the long run, it would be evident that such a turnaround in a nation like that will boost the others, the younger generation emanating from such conditions. The team was unable to win any match but won many hearts by their close performance against the mighty Indians and Pakistan. The team stood first from the last in the tally of 10 teams.
West Indies: The hard-hitting West Indians found it difficult to get away and never seemed going in the whole tournament. Their inability to have patience in the longer format of the game cost them many matches. They were good in parts but ended up having second last position in the tournament.
Bangladesh: Always starting as underdogs, Bangladesh is famous for turning the tables. They did so in a few matches but eventually fell short by margins. Shakib al Hasan was in tremendous form scoring tons and giving them a great start and that was the reason for their remarkable chase against West Indies. Bangladesh lost a total of 5 matches and remained 8th.
South Africa: A team looking so perfect on paper seemed to have suddenly lost its form, yes the ones who choked again. They had experts in pretty much all the departments but individuals always failed to perform on the big stage. They were out of the tournament quite early in the tournament but then they hindered everyone who came in their way winning last two matches and making the teams suffer. In the business end of the tournament, all they had was to fight for their pride. They ended up getting the 7th position.
Sri Lanka: The team who always was underdog, runners up for 2011 world cup. This team again failed to impress at many fronts with the senior batsman failing to put up a show and thus this team ended up having 4 defeats. However, their campaign will be remembered for one of the best vintage Malinga in action.
Pakistan: A team who had high hopes found it difficult to qualify into playoffs after initial crushing defeats. Their run rate fell considerably and that haunted them in the later stage. Hence even after having points equal to New Zealand, they ended up at the 5th position.
Semi-Finalists and Finalists:
In the playoffs/ semi-finals, semi-final 1 was played between New Zealand and India, where India suffered a crushing defeat after the top order collapsed leaving them at 24-4 while chasing down 240. Despite efforts of Jadeja and Dhoni, hopes for India were stunned when Dhoni got out to a rocket through from Guptil. India’s campaign ended there and there were tears all around. The favourites and the number 1 in league stage was now out of the tournament. Lots and lots of emotions travelled amidst the Indians, while the reaction of MS Dhoni showed the importance of that moment. Tears all around and a hailing appreciation to the legend of cricket and the best cricketing mind MS DHONI. The second semi-final was played between England and Australia in which England, the hot favourites and the home team have finally qualified to the world cup finals.
So, at last, we have two teams who never won a world cup, but are now one step away from winning it. It is NZ vs ENG, no more chokers.