New Delhi: Former champions the West Indies and Pakistan registered easy wins against Associate teams from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ireland respectively on the final day of round-robin actions today to confirm their passages into the knock-out stage of the ongoing cricket World Cup Down Under.
In the early kick-off, the Caribbeans cantered to a 6-wicket win over UAE at McLaren Park in Napier. Jason Holder and Co. exploited the perfect bowling condition to rock a relatively inexperienced UAE batting line-up. Batting second, the winners of 1975 and '79 editions reached the target of 176 runs with 117 balls remaining.
In the second match, Pakistan walloped giant-killers Ireland by seven wickets with wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed notching up his maiden ODI ton. Earlier in the Ireland innings, skipper William Potterfield defied an all-out Pakistan attack to post his seventh ODI hundred and helped his side to a modest total of 237 runs.
Windies and Pakistan, both from Pool B, were on the verge of exiting the tournament early, but they kept their cup hopes alive with today's wins. India – having won all their six matches – along with pre-tournament favourites South African, have already qualified for the last-eight stage from the group.
In Pool A, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and surprise package Bangladesh have booked their knock-out spots.
Here are the confirmed quarter-final match-ups for the 2015 ICC World Cup:
First quarter-final: South Africa vs Sri Lanka on March 18, at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Second quarter-final: Bangladesh vs India on March 19, at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Third quarter-final: Australia vs Pakistan on March 20, at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Fourth quarter-final: New Zealand vs West Indies on March 21, at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Today's results confirmed that India finished on top of Pool B, followed by South Africa (second), Pakistan (third) and West Indies (fourth). In Pool A, New Zealand claimed top spot, followed by Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
First semi-final will be played between the winners of New Zealand-West Indies and Sri Lanka-South Africa matches on March 24 at Eden Park, Auckland, while the winners of Australia-Pakistan and Bangladesh-India matches will play the second semi-final two days later at Sydney Cricket Ground.
The big final will be played in Melbourne on March 29.
The tournament organisers have scheduled a reserve day for each of these seven knock-out matches. If a quarter-final or a semi-final match is tied, abandoned or if it is a no-result, the team that finished higher in the pool stage will progress.
All the matches in start 9:00 AM IST, while the remaining fixtures in New Zealand (New Zealand vs West Indies quarter-final and the first semi-final) start in 6:30 AM IST (timings subject to change).