The time has come that all of us were waiting for. The knockout stages of the World Cup begin tomorrow. It's do or die for every team now. There is going to be no confusion about the net run rate and all the teams need to do to progress to the semifinals is win. So let's take a look at all the matches we have at hand. Tomorrow South Africa faces Sri Lanka at the SCG and then Bangladesh play India on Thursday at the MCG. Following that is Australia vs Pakistan when for a few hours our country will be at a complete standstill. Last amongst the quarterfinals is New Zealand vs West Indies. The cricketing world is in for a treat with all these matches. However, let's focus on tomorrow’s match. Sri Lanka has put in strong batting performances in their campaign till now and that is mainly because of Sangakkara’s tremendous form. Dilshan has also chipped in incredibly into every big score but the rest of the team has not really done enough. If South Africa can manage to get these two batsmen out early, their chances to go through increase massively. Almost every batsman for the Proteas has performed in this tournament but we have seen their batting collapse twice in the group stages and they lost both the matches. If Sri Lanka can constantly take wickets and not let South Africa score freely, they will be able to see themselves through to the semis. In any case, we are in for some special cricket in the next few days. Brace yourselves for the mad ride.

–Shaan Tahir

shantahir@gmail.com