Pakistan and West Indies, both former World Cup champions, played their last league matches today, and registered easy wins over the minnows, associate members Ireland and U. A. E. respectively to advance to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. They had to wait up to the last matches of the round robin stage speaks volumes about their performances in earlier matches. Both teams were perilously close to being eliminated from the knock out stage.
The West Indies defeated UAE by six wickets to enter the knock out stage, while Pakistan played a do or die match against the giant killer Ireland on Sunday. Either team, Pakistan or Ireland, winning this match would have gone to the quarterfinals. Ireland, put into bat, could score only 237 on a placid wicket as their batsmen wilted in the crunch situation. On the other hand, Pakistani batsmen did not negate the efforts of the Pakistani bowlers, and easily surpassed the target of 238 runs.
In the Pool B, India are on the top winning all their six matches, and are through to the quarterfinals along with South Africa, Pakistan, and West Indies. From Pool B, New Zealand which also won their all six league matches, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh are through to the knockout stage. Hence, the battle line at the quarterfinal stage is as follows; South Africa plays against Sri Lanka on 18th March, India take on Bangladesh on 19th, Australia faces Pakistan on 20th, and New Zealand locks horn with West Indies on 21st March.
Semi-final matches are scheduled to be played on 24th March, and final on the 29th.