In a surprising turn of events, Irfan Pathan has diverged from the popular choices of England, Australia, and Pakistan as finalists for the 2023 World Cup. With less than a week until the competition kicks off in India on October 5, Pathan’s bold prediction has sparked intrigue within the cricket community.
While cricket experts worldwide favor teams like India, Australia, England, and Pakistan as top contenders, Pathan, in a Star Sports segment, opted for a left-field choice. He predicts South Africa to reach the summit clash and face India on November 19 in Ahmedabad, deviating from the expected narrative dominated by the tournament favorites.
During the same program, other cricket pundits made their finalist picks. Eleven out of twelve former cricketers, including Aaron Finch, the 2021 T20 World Cup-winning captain, leaned towards India as one of the finalists. The majority anticipated an India vs. England encounter, echoing the sentiments that the Rohit Sharma-led team would make it to the final at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
The defending champions, England, who won the title in a dramatic 2019 final against New Zealand, are gearing up for another showdown. Jacques Kallis, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Dinesh Karthik, Faf Du Plessis, Waqar Younis, Dale Steyn, Murali Karthik, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Piyush Chawla all foresee India’s presence in the final, with varied predictions for their opponents.
Notably, Aaron Finch remains the outlier, predicting an Australia vs. South Africa final. India’s campaign will kick off on October 8 against Australia in Chennai, while the tournament’s opening match between England and New Zealand is scheduled for October 5 in Ahmedabad.