Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
The Sophia Gardens, Cardiff Cricket Ground, more commonly known as the Cardiff Cricket Stadium, is an international cricket ground located in Cardiff, Wales, which hosts international matches of all formats of cricket. This relatively new ground is the home base of Glamorgan County Cricket Club and has served as a venue for hosting bilateral series of England. This ground will also host a series of WC matches featuring teams like South Africa and New Zealand which will determine which team advances to the semi-finals.
Review of Previous Matches:
Established in 1999, the Cardiff stadium has hosted a variety of bilateral series as well as international contests. Although ODI cricket began since its inception, test and T20 cricket made a rather late entry to this venue. With the WC right around the corner, it’s important to review old matches to get a picture of what to expect at this ground. A brief details of matches held here is given below:
- ODI Matches: 24
- Seating Capacity: 15000 Approx.
- Matches won by team batting first: 6
- Matches won by team batting second: 14
- Tie / No Results: 1 / 3
Pitch Report and Weather Forecast:
Cardiff stadium pitch is a traditional English pitch which provides more pace for seam bowlers. Consequently, it will be harder to bat on this surface. Stats provide evidence that teams batting second on this wicket are more successful which makes sense considering the fact that the pitch won’t be much of a help when it comes to batting. A wise option is to opt to bowl first and restrict the opposition on the lowest score possible. With a set target in mind, teams can adjust their batting according to the target. More pace means more wickets for seam bowlers. Teams like NZ and SA will star at this venue and bowlers like Trent Boult, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Tim Southee will be hoping to get some extra pace of the surface to make sure the ball seams significantly.
World Cup Contests:
A total of 4 matches are scheduled to be contested at this venue. Their details are given below:
- New Zealand vs. Sri Lanka (1st June)
- Afghanistan vs. Sri Lanka (4th June)
- England vs. Bangladesh (8th June)
- South Africa vs. Afghanistan (15th June)
These fixtures might not be as appealing as some of the other matches at various venues but underestimating any match at this tournament is a mistake. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh both shocked the world when they performed exceedingly well in the Champions Trophy 2017. Looking at the recent stats, it is safe to assume that these matches will be easy wins for England, NZ and SA. SL and Bangladesh have been performing poorly in recent matches and if they don’t take responsibility for their actions, this tournament might be a lot shorter for them than they hoped. Afghanistan is a minnow team which has no chance of winning even a single match on paper. Going up against SA, Afghanistan are most likely to lose their clash. All hope is not lost for the smaller teams. Cricket is all about bouncing back and surprising your opponents. If they perform on the given day, these teams can defeat even the toughest oppositions. Bangladesh fought tooth-and-nail in CT 2017 to earn a spot in the semi-final. If they can find that same fighting spirit, who knows they might even beat the top ranked teams.
As WC approaches closer and closer, each team is trying to find the best possible combination to compete at the grandest stage. Each team is trying to perform strongly so they can take that momentum to the WC. England, NZ and SA are playing on this mindset. Cardiff will host lower number of matches and most of these matches have straightforward winners. For Afghanistan, this is their first WC and going up against a team as formidable as SA, all pressure will be on them. England will certainly have the home ground advantage. Defeating Bangladesh will be a walk in a park for them. SL might defeat Afghanistan but they’ll need a huge effort to win against NZ. Matches here won’t be between top ranked team but they’ll have a huge impact on determining the final 4 teams.