Now that Bangladesh has scored 7 runs, we have our confirmed semi finalises in the cricket world cup 2019. There was a lot of calculations and jokes how Pakistan could make it to the semifinal on the basis of net run rate by beating Pakistan with 300+ runs. After all, there were so many similarities with the 1992 world cup,, how could Pakistan be eliminated in the league stage itself. Pakistan almost got eliminated in 1992 tough. Anyway as an Indian the 2nd best incentive after winning the world cup itself is beating Pakistan. Which we have been doing invariably right in every world cup encounter so far.

Personally, the history of the cricket world cup fascinates me more than anything else in the cricket. I did try to submit an article on it (Indias world cup campaign from 1975 to 1992) during 1996 world cup in my school magazine but it was rejected because it was not patriotic poetry or fictitious story. Anyway, now that we have internet and blogging social media platform we can write whatever we want. I am going to remember world cups from that point in time.

While I remember 1992 world cup in bits and pieces because adults in my house were glued to the TV for every match. I have faint memories of India beating Pakistan, everyone in the family was excited about the new guy called Sachin Tendulkar.  , 1996 world cup is still fresh in my memory. I remember collecting scorecards from The Asian Age newspaper, pretty much from every match, including the final when India had already lost to Sri Lanka in Eden Gardens and for one of few times all Indians supported Australia in a match which is not against Pakistan.

1999 was in England, quite a strange system of qualifying for Semi finals calls Super Six, even more surprisingly Australia qualifying for final after the tied semi-final. We saw some massive partnerships from Indian batting tri who was in top 3 for ICC ratings for quite a long time. But a mere loss to Zimbabwe in the last Olonga over in the league stage probably cost India a lot.

2003 India were in final but honestly Australian team of that time was too powerful to be beaten in a world cup final.

2007 probably everyone wants to forget, right from India's loss to Bangladesh and Pakistan coach's death, except India scored 400+ in a match against Bermuda.

2011, back hope Indian team did it. It was about time. Tendulkar wasn't going to play any more world cups. First time after a long time, the world cup could be taken away from Australia.

2015, Aussies were back, it was their home turf after all. India was a string team who did not really lose any match till Australia eliminated them in Semi Final.

Now in 2019, the world cup is back to the home of cricket, England. We don't have any associate nations after a long time. No Zimbabwe, West Indies barely made it to the tournament beating Scotland in a qualifier match with help of a bad decision and D/L method. West Indies started with a massive win over Pak, chasing down in 13+ overs, but soon they started declining. That match probably cost Pakistan them in NRR for qualifying.
England who player wonderful cricket after being eliminated in the group stage in 2015, has a real chance. They have a very attacking batting line up with a habit of making 350+ scores more often than not in recent times. I can't really call it a home advantage as its not 1990's that teams, especially South Asian ones are not familiar with English condition, also most of the crowd are from South Asia. So India/Pak/SL/Ban has probably more advantage in England.
South Africa, has been really unpredictable lately but from the league matches, it seemed they are no more "choking", they are predictably performing badly. Bringing back ABD may not be a solution either. They need to find the new ABDs, Steyns and the Morkels.

Sri Lanka has been one of the worst performers since the Sanga/Jaywardhena/Dilshan trio has gone. We did not really expect them to be one of the leaders in the points table.

What rise of Australia, initially I predicted they can't make it to Semis. But as I write this, they are the toppers. Return of Warner and Smith has made the team as strong as they were one year ago if not stronger as the tournament progressed. While every team has a very good batting line up, the differentiating factor has been the key bowlers taking wickets. Aus's Starc and India's Bumrah are the once taking their team to top.

India, as usual, has a great pool of players. They have been doing well except Dhawan's injury who is an ICC tournament expert and Vijay Shanker's failed experiment. Indian spinner duo hasn't been effective to live up to the hype but fortunately, Shami getting back some rhythm. When in England, play the seamers, not everyone is Shane Warne.

It would be interesting to see how India performs against England who has beaten them in the group stage and NZ, who have beaten them in warm-ups.

Can England finally win a world cup?

Will New Zealand be again as Semifinal team?

Or, same old story, it's going to be Aussies.

No matter what, 1992 is not releasing :) and India has beaten Pakistan, rest does it matter at all?

Nevertheless, this world cup will be memorable because of the timings where you can enjoy most of the matches after work and BBC Test Match Special commentary.

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