The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Souravs and Sehwags have to get going
- India, Australia look certain to make semi-finals

Captain Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Mongia need to hit some form if India are to make the final of the World Cup let alone win it.

India still relies heavily on Sachin Tendulkar to make a big score. They have not proven to anyone, least of all themselves, that they can make a winning score without a sizeable contribution from their super star. The bowling has been serviceable but will need to show more potency if they are to beat Australia in particular.

As the World Cup enters the Super Six stage the organisers will be disappointed that the senior host nation is the one missing from the list which will go to the next stage. South Africa has only itself to blame.

Nicky Boje and Lance Klusener should have crossed when the latter was caught in the deep late in the game with the West Indies and Mark Boucher should have known that one run was required from the last ball against Sri Lanka.

There is no doubt that the Duckworth-Lewis system is harder to understand than Chinese algebra, but it is hard to imagine that the ruthlessly efficient Australians would have made a similar miscalculation at such a vital stage.

Shaun Pollock, Klusener, Boje and Boucher will be revisited by the ghosts of these mistakes every time World Cup cricket is discussed in the future.

England is equally guilty of self-destruction.

Nasser Hussain is right to fall on his sword. Apart from having done nothing with the bat he captained the team poorly and must take much of the responsibility for allowing Australia to get off the floor to win in Port Elizabeth.

England has unearthed some promising cricketers in recent months and will need a leader who is resourceful, adventurous and courageous.

Pakistan also laid the seeds of their own destruction. Nothing much went right from the start. Their first match with Australia set the tone for a disastrous few weeks.

They appeared to play on emotion and little else. When the fast bowlers failed to have any effect against the better teams there did not seem to be a plan B.

The captain and the coach will, no doubt, bear the brunt of the acrimony and insinuation.

Some critical comment on the captain will be justified, but if that is as far as the investigation goes then the Pakistan supporters will be let down once again.

Of the six teams making up the Super Six, Australia is the overwhelming favourite. If talent, form, preparation and belief are all that it takes from here, the Australians should be at the Wanderers as a participant on March 23. History will tell you it is not that straight forward.

India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Zimbabwe are capable of beating anyone on their day. Kenya have been brave, but I can not see them beating any of the fancied teams.

Australia will not take any of the remaining games lightly and will know that they should be in the semi-finals.

The advantage that Australia have over the other nations is that they seem to rely less on a few individuals than the rest.

Andy Bichelís performance underlines how committed the Australians are. I like his approach. He plays each game as if it was his last and he leaves no stone unturned in his effort.

Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist are the super stars in a star-studded line-up, but they do not have the same pressure on them that key figures in other teams do.

Sri Lanka has steadily improved during the tournament albeit the surprise packet is a largely part-time spin attack. Once again, it is hard to see them beating Australia unless it is on the back of a large score and Chaminda Vaas can get some early breakthroughs.

Zimbabwe has got to this stage with the assistance of a political smoke-screen and some rain. On form it is hard to see them getting through to the semi-final stage.

New Zealand is the team that will have earned the respect of Australia by dint of their committed attitude last summer. Chris Cairns will need to have a bigger impact than so far in the series.

The Super Six concept received much critical comment when it was introduced but it is now being warmly embraced by most. The concept of the top teams having to play each other at least once is excellent, with each of the next nine games being critical for most teams.

Australia and India are all but assured of a semi-final berth but that is only half the battle. First and fourth positions are the coveted spots for that will ensure a day game in Port Elizabeth as opposed to a day-night game in Durban.

The players know that a day-night game is the cricket equivalent of Russian Roulette. Win the toss and you own all the empty chambers. Lose the toss and you are guaranteed the bullet. The main hope then is that the gun misfires.

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