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Farokh Engineer: What Happened To Sri Lanka?

India fans cheer on their team
Wherever India play, it is like playing a home match, says Farokh ahead of their quarter-final
©REUTERS / Action Images

I predicted that Australia, India, New Zealand and South Africa would reach the World Cup semi-finals.

So far so good, but I could yet be proved horribly wrong, should Bangladesh or Pakistan or West Indies cause an upset, but by and large it has been these four teams that have set the benchmark

South Africa today certainly sent a very strong message to the rest of the teams that they are here to win. They've got to win two more games and they are there.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were terrible today. I don't know what got into them - nerves? But they are all experienced players, fantastic players.

I felt sorry for Mahela Jayawardene, who will never wear a Sri Lankan shirt again and it's sad to see him go out on a low note. He's been a phenomenal servant for Sri Lanka.

He and Kumar Sangakkara, although today he went into his shell with the bat. He batted very very cautiously and that put extra pressure on the batsmen.

You would normally expect Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn to take the wickets, but who gets the hat-trick? JP Duminy. Sri Lankans should be used to playing bowlers like him.

Imran Tahir is a fabulous bowler so all credit to him for gettng the man-of-the-match award, but these are not normally the guys who would knock Sri Lanka over.

This loss will be a hard one for Sri Lanka, who in recent times have gone from strength to strength, played some very attractive cricket, but South Africa were just too good for them on the day.

AB de Villiers captained the team very well, put the spinners on at the right time.

Meanwhile, I'm very pleased with how India finished the group stages by beating Ireland and Zimbabwe to make it six out of six.

India didn't have the hardest group, but after their terrible performance in the last three months in Australia, they have picked up all the pieces, learnt from their mistakes and they are on a roll.

They are on an absolute high and they have peaked just at the right time, which is a fantastic thing.

They really don't want to give the World Cup that they won in 2011 away and they are well on their way to retaining their title.

Next up for them, it is Bangladesh and while this should be a cakewalk for India, you never know in one-day cricket. India are certainly determined to go through.

In Melbourne, I daresay 90 per cent of the spectators will be Indian so they'll feel like they are playing in front of a home crowd. Wherever India play, they play in front of a home crowd.

I'm sure India will go all the way...at least all the way to the semi-finals, that is!

Bangladesh have some good players, but India have beaten them so many times in the past and beaten them convincingly, so they will be going in full of confidence.

As for the remaining quarter-finals, Pakistan are peaking at the right time but Australia will be a handful for them and New Zealand will beat West Indies.

Lycamobile ambassador Farokh Engineer was talking to John Pennington

© Cricket World 2015


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