It was just the kind of result that this World Cup wanted. Things were moving along too predictably, the fancied teams were lording it over the underdogs and the semifinalists had virtually been spotted halfway through the competition. Just one upset victory and everyone is agog with excitement. Now one is not sure anymore of the semifinalists for the door has been opened ajar for a couple of teams thought to be out of the reckoning. Oh yes, the enthusiasm associated with the mega event is back and suddenly people are talking more excitedly about the World Cup.

All this because England considered favourites before the tournament and flying high during the competition so that they became prohibitive favourites have gone down to an uninspiring Sri Lanka who suddenly played inspiring cricket. Now Sri Lanka are in with a chance to make the semifinals, as also Bangladesh and West Indies while England are suddenly under tremendous pressure. The point to note is that they have three matches in hand and all of them are against heavyweights India, Australia and New Zealand. With eight points from six games they would probably have to win two of these games to qualify for the semifinals.

It was reasonably reckoned when the tournament started that no team was going to win all their nine matches and in such a competitive field even an 8-1 win loss record would be almost impossible. A 7-2 win loss record was more likely and the team with such a scoreline would certainly make the semifinals while those with a 6-3 record stood a chance depending upon NRR and other permutations and combinations. Four no-results have become an additional factor which is why the World Cup has suddenly become more open. A couple of more unexpected results and it could be thrown really wide open.

Hitherto there had been only one real upset with Pakistan ranked No 6 getting the better of top ranked England. But Sri Lanka ranked ninth prevailing over England is a much bigger shock given the fact that they looked out of sorts during the campaign winning just one match out of five and that against Afghanistan. Certainly England who were riding high would roll over them was the almost unanimous opinion. But raising their game to a level hardly anyone would have expected them to saw Sri Lanka pulling off the stunner of the competition making the World Cup that much more potentially pulsating.

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