FOX Sports Asia presenter and former first-class cricketer Jason de la Peña looks back at an exciting weekend at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 that promises to only get better.
What a weekend at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019!
It all began with England losing to Sri Lanka on the Friday – we didn’t see that one coming, did we?
But Lasith Malinga and a previously out-of-form Angelo Matthews combined to potentially put a proverbial spanner in the works as far as the hosts and pre-tournament favourites advancing to the semi-final stage.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Malinga leads Sri Lanka to victory against England
England now have to play Australia, India and New Zealand! A tough run-in for the Three Lions if ever there were!
Then on Saturday, we were gifted two classic matches.
First off, India dodged a massive upset against tournament minnows Afghanistan who showed no nerves against the two time world champions.
Afghanistan bowled beautifully and restricted Virat Kohli and company to just 224!
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Kohli & co. survive Afghanistan scare
There aren’t many times that I can recall such a low total for the mighty Men in Blue. And chasing that 224, the Afghans got close!
Squeaky bum time for a while there but Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah snuffed out any threat of a shock loss. A win is a win even if it was just by an 11-run margin.
Also on Saturday but this time in Manchester, the Black Caps and the West Indies played out arguably the match of the tournament thus far.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Williamson’s Black Caps edge past West Indies
One-man run machine Kane Williamson smashed 148 to guide NZ to 291. In reply, the Windies finally saw some runs from Chris Gayle with 87 from 84 balls but the hero of the match, almost, was Carlos Brathwaite, whose 101 so nearly got WI over the line.
Close but no cigar for Carlos – this match and his heroics will live long in the memory. WI fell six runs short with six balls to spare.
And finally, thanks to Pakistan, we witnessed the Sunday demise of South Africa who will not be able to advance to the semis due to reported in-fighting and well, just rubbish cricket.
The home of cricket, Lord’s was the venue, finally, for two powerhouses to lock horns and batting first, 1992 champions Pakistan reached 308 thanks in main to Haris Sohail’s 89 from 59 deliveries and the fact that Kagiso Rabada and Quinton de Kock were arguing whilst in the field.
In reply, the Proteas were bundled out for 259 and 49 runs short of their target.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis called his team’s demise ‘embarrassing’. Could not have put it better myself.