The last two games of pool play in the Cricket World Cup yesterday could have produced an upset by letting Ireland slip through to the knockout stage.
But they didn’t. Which is a shame because Ireland have played with real verve and no little skill, whereas the West Indies looked disinterested for long periods, and Pakistan looked out of sorts.
But here we are at the sharp end of the tournament. It’s a different ball game now, with extra pressure and the opportunity to put your problems behind you. Or in front of you.
The Black Caps have the challenge of waiting until Saturday to play. Yes it’s at home, and yes the Windies have played poorly. But our batting yips are a real worry, and we’re one hamstring strain away from having a serious hole in the bowling attack.
For the other quarter finals, it’s hard to go past India and Australia. And while AB de Villiers is the outstanding batsman of the tournament, the South African bowling looks short of a spearhead, so I’ll go with Sri Lanka.
But the beauty of the knockout stage is that everyone is in with a chance. Dropped catches, stunning run outs, a batsman or a bowler having their one perfect day – death or glory.
Or rain. It’s cricket after all.