Himanshu Dubey

Bangladesh beat England, England beat South Africa and South Africa beat India. The sequence of events not only underscores how fiercely fought Group B is but also has spiced up the group to a great extent. Now every team has a chance to finish table toppers and can ensure for themselves a somewhat smooth ride through the next knock-out rounds.

Currently stationed at the top in Group B, Team India had maintained a clean slate until Saturday. If India had won that game, they would have booked their berth in the top eight and could have fired up the group even more, leaving South Africa, England, Bangladesh and West Indies in jitters of an early exit from showpiece event. But South Africans did not permit that.

The proteas, with six points, are tied with West Indies having played four games each. Graeme Smith had an ambivalent tournament so far, lost a close game to England and almost threw away the advantage to India. But what matters in the end is, SA managed to bag two crucial points in the kitty, dodging any mishaps in future.

They play Ireland next on Tuesday and going by the arithmetic, another two points look certain for SA. Bangladesh, too, are all set to earn double points after getting better of Netherlands on Monday. West Indies, however, next play a high voltage encounter with England, both teams will look to outdo each other, not only in the game but also on the points table.

But a loss would shun the WC doors for the English as minnows Bangladesh sitting pretty with a point more that Andrew Strauss’ side and a game in hand. Strauss has problems with the bowling, as the sub-continent conditions giving little to his bowlers and also he will be wary of Caribbean storm that may just blow them over.

The action will go right down to the wire as the script will unfold in a week’s time while all twists and turns in Group B will be eagerly watched. Hopefully best four sides go to the next round, Bangladesh might spring in with a surprise.