Jonty Rhodes had appeared for his country in as many as four World Cups but was never fortunate to bag the crown. His final game in international cricket was in the 2003 edition at home and it was a moment of heartbreak as he broke his hand and bowed out. About to turn 50 later this month, Rhodes was left dejected that South Africa failed to make even to the semi-finals in the 2019 edition in England and Wales but did not stop short of choosing his finalists. The knock-out phase of the World Cup will kick off on Tuesday when India take on New Zealand at Old Trafford, Manchester, in the first semi-final.
The two-time champions finished at the top of the table with 15 points (seven wins, one loss and one washout) while New Zealand finished fourth with 11 points (five wins, three losses and one washout). While India are playing in their seventh semi-final with a 3-3 record so far, the Black Caps have succeeded in winning only one out of their seven semi-finals till date. Rhodes’ own country also made the semi-finals four times and lost all of them.
In the second semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday, reigning champions Australia and hosts England will be fighting against each other. Australia lost the top position to India on the final day of the league stage when they lost to South Africa by 10 runs. England, on the other hand, came back from the brink to make the semi-finals as the third team. The second semi-final is expected to be a blockbuster, especially ahead of the Ashes starting next month.
While speaking to Hindustan Times, Rhodes let his preferences known when he said that Australia will meet India in the final of the World Cup. If Rhodes’ prediction comes out to be true, it will be the second such final after 2003 when Australia hammered India by 125 runs in the title clash.
Their performance has been quite disappointing
Talking about South Africa’s performance at the World Cup, Rhodes said the team had no clear-cut idea about its best XI. “When you go to a World Cup and you are not even sure about your playing XI, I think you are in trouble,” the former cricketer, who was known for his sensational fielding, quoted.
“Their performance has been quite disappointing but as far as rankings are concerned, they were quite generously poised at No. 3 before the tournament. They were unable to replace AB de Villiers and you can’t accept him back at the last moment. Also, the players who were expected to perform did not work out in the tournament,” he added.