The 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup is heading into the championship round; here’s how things have shaped up for the four teams that made it passed the group stage (teams are listed in the order of their performance during the group stage):
1. India – India was the only team that went undefeated in the group stage of this year’s Cup, earning them the top seed for the remainder of the games. The team has dominated the competition in this year’s Cup, earning the No. 1 ODI (One Day International format) ranking and evolving as the clear favorite to win this year’s Championship. As the No. 1 seed following the group stage, India played New Zealand in the first game of the semifinal round on Wednesday and emerged victorious once more. In the 397-327 victory, India batter Virat Kohli set the record for the most centuries scored in the ODI format with his 50th 100-run performance, passing cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, according to the Associated Press. The match was almost the first match of this year’s Cup to reach the full 100 overs, but New Zealand was bundled out in the 49th over to secure the win for India. Mohammed Shami hauled seven wickets on the bowling side while Shreyas Iyer’s 105 runs helped guide India to the win. Interestingly, India’s official cricket board, the BCCI, has been accused of intervening in the choice of venue for India’s semi-final, which was played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, according to The Guardian. Even so, India should be viewed as the clear-cut favorite to win this year’s World cup and will host the winner of South Africa/Australia in the Final this Sunday.
2. South Africa – By the time that this article reached the public, South Africa and Australia would’ve already played each other to determine who will take on India in the World Cup Final. No matter who emerges as the victor, each team deserves a shot at the Final after performing almost similarly in the group stage of the Cup where both teams were 7-2. South Africa ranks as the 3rd-best ODI team and has received contributions up and down their roster: Keshav Maharaj currently ranks as the top bowler in ODI while Rashid Khan was instrumental in leading South Africa to a tight 247-244 win in their last match against Afghanistan. In that match, Khan knocked down two wickets through the maximum 10 overs, allowing just 37 runs for a 3.70 economy rate. Mohammad Nabi also bowled well in the game, allowing 35 runs for a 3.50 economy rate through 10 overs. The team also has three top-10 ODI batters in Quinton de Kock (third), Rassie van der Dussen (sixth) and Heinrich Klaasen (10th). South Africa’s deep and balanced roster makes them a formidable opponent and even if they can’t defeat Australia to advance to the Final, their performance in this year’s Cup cemented them as one of the world’s cricket powerhouses.
3. Australia – Like South Africa, Australia managed an impressive 7-2 showing in the group stage of the Cup. The second-ranked team in ODI, Australia pulled ahead of Bangladesh for a 307-306 win in their most recent matchup, pulling ahead while still having 32 balls remaining. David Warner has been the team’s best batter during the team’s World Cup run as the ODI ranks him as the seventh best batter in this year’s games. He contributed 53 runs to his team’s total in their last match versus Bangladesh while Mitchell Marsh had a career game, tallying 177 runs in a game where he never was responsible for an out. The team has their superstars on the bowling side as well where Adam Zampa ranks as the third best bowler in ODI and Josh Hazlewood ranks fifth, respectively. Australia and South Africa are alike in many ways aside from both playing to a 7-2 record in the group stage: they each form deep squads that have players across the roster that can contribute to a winning effort. It’s a shame that one will be eliminated from the games by the time you’re reading this, but the battle between Australia and South Africa is sure to be a tight one.
4. New Zealand – New Zealand was the fourth and final team to finish with a winning record in the group stage of the games, squeezing into the fourth seed with a 5-4 showing. Though their hopes of winning this year’s Cup were vanquished when the team lost to India in the semifinal round of Wednesday, New Zealand put on a solid showing in the year’s games. Unlike the other teams that are still alive, New Zealand did not have a roster compiled of superstars; Trent Boult is the only New Zealander inside ODI’s top-10 bowlers, ranking seventh, and Mitchell Santner is the team’s only top-10 ODI all-rounder in fifth place, respectively. Even though none of their batters rank among the top-10 in ODI, Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell scored 578 and 552 runs apiece for New Zealand in the World Cup, ranking third and fourth among all batters, respectively. Even so, they are the fifth-ranked ODI team and have found ways to win when it matters.