Bengaluru, June 20: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is turning out to be far too predictable.
Weeks before the round-robin stage is completed, the top four teams are more or less determined and it looks as if the competition is more limited within them (England, Australia, New Zealand and India).
The only other team that looks capable of challenging the top four is Bangladesh even though it has to beat teams like Australia and India to make it to the semifinals.
The biggest disappointment of this World Cup is the performance of three big names of the cricketing world: West Indies, South Africa and Pakistan. Languishing at the seventh, eighth and ninth positions of the points table, these three sides have little chance of making the semis now unless miracle strikes.
Pakistan though are in an identical position to that in 1992 when they won the tournament, but their leadership is far less than the inspiring Imran Khan. With one win in five games, Sarfaraz Ahmed's side is in a state of implosion (especially after the no-show against India) and one more loss will mean they too will be history.
The West Indies were a big disappointment. Especially after the team that was picked following the England series at home and individual brilliances in the Indian Premier League, it was thought that the Caribbeans will strike in unison. But defeats against Australia, England and Bangladesh showed that the West Indies are more effective a team in T20Is than ODIs. The players are far too short in their temperament to survive the 50 overs and their performance was far too inconsistent. One day, they skittled the opposition out for 105. On another, they lost by scoring 321.
The fall of some of these big names does not augur well for the cricketing world. SA never found themselves at peace at the World Cup, but they did not disappoint earlier the way they did this year. Pakistan never had the firepower while the Windies' arsenal was damp to deliver when it mattered.
This World Cup effectively looks like a four-team tournament.