2015 World Cup – Games 20 & 21 – New Zealand v Australia & India v UAE

A small change as I put both the games together for the comments thread. The first game, starting at 1 am our time, I do believe, is seen as a clash of the form teams. I fancy Australia, who have not played for a fortnight, might get caught cold, as the Black Caps, already with three games under their belt, have been very impressive. This is the best chance for the home team to win, so I’d suggest a home defeat may have a huge effect.

The second game couldn’t be more of a contrast. India have discovered World Cup form while the UAE, who have won many friends with their play against Zimbabwe and Ireland now meet a full test nation foe (I don’t really consider Zimbabwe to be that) and we’ll see how competitive they are.

All comments below….

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35 thoughts on “2015 World Cup – Games 20 & 21 – New Zealand v Australia & India v UAE

  1. SimonH Feb 27, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    One of the attractions of tonight’s NZ v A match is seeing two sides that haven’t played each other much recently. They’ve only played two ODIs since April 2010 (an Australian win in the 2011 WC and a wash-out in the 2013 CT).

    Does anyone have insights into why this is? Has it attracted any comment? Is it likely to continue? (I’m English and genuinely curious – not trying to score any points here).

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    • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 12:45 am

      Really not sure why that is to be honest. It is not like New Zealand have been that poor in ODIs versus Australia. I seem to recall a 5-ODI series that was shared when rain intervened in the decider in 2009 in Australia.

      The only possible “generous” explanation that I can come up with is that calendar clashes make it slightly harder to schedule games. That appears to be the case for South Africa – Australia clashes, which have not happened too often since 2010 either. The less generous explanation is that New Zealand are commercially only more interesting than the West Indies, from a moneyman’s perspective.

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  2. d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 12:46 am

    Australia won the toss, will bat first. I’d be surprised if they don’t win comfortably.

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    • SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 1:00 am

      Clarke in for Bailey and Cummins for Hazlewood; NZ unchanged.

      Clarke said he didn’t expect conditions to change much during the day. McCullum said he’d have batted because “the stats” show the team batting first do well at Eden Park. McCullum looks at “the stats”!

      NZ don’t have that great a record here. They’ve won just six of the fourteen ODIs in the last decade.in Auckland. They’ve lost the last four against Australia. But their captain sang the national anthem so that could be crucial…..

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    • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 10:03 am

      That was an atrocious batting effort by Australia.

      Now the “exciting” thing is that because of the washout against Bangladesh that they could finish third in the group if one more unexpected result (or no result) comes their way. And that would mean a quarter final clash with the South Africans.

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  3. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 1:13 am

    30-1 off 2.2 overs. Not dull.

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  4. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 2:20 am

    95-4 Australia, you could even argue NZ have been below par with their bowling.

    Time for Clarke to step up or how can you justify his taking Bailey’s place?

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  5. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 2:22 am

    OH WOW, game over already?

    96-5 AUS

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  6. Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 2:36 am

    Awful shot from a captain, Clarke goes, 104-7

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    • SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 2:46 am

      Poor shot but caught by one of two short covers in the 20th over of an ODI? That’s pretty special captaincy!

      Crucial moment was when McCullum brought back Boult in the 17yh over rather than go to his 4th and 5th bowlers. England had Australia with wickets down and were bowling Root in the 25th over.

      Bringing on Vettori in the 6th over wasn’t bad either.

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      • Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 3:09 am

        Gotta agree with the early introduction of Vettori, took away the Aussie momentum and bought NZ back.

        Whilst being backed up by a special bowling unit, McCullum deserves huge credit, first aim is always to take a wickets and that may sound obvious but very few captains have the heart / balls / to keep attacking as soon as the there are a few big scoring overs.

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  7. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 3:07 am

    Shane Bond, NZ bowling coach, getting loads of praise for adding pace to the NZ bowling attack.

    He’s the anti-Saker.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 3:36 am

    Simon Wilde in great form on Twitter

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  9. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 3:41 am

    Australia’s second lowest score in WCs (equal with the Winston Davis match at Headingley in 1983).

    One of the associates batted like that and Dave Richardson would be saying they don’t deserve to be there.

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  10. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 3:45 am

    Johnson first ball hit for four and a no-ball. Free hit goes for six over extra over. That’s by Guptill, the weak link in the NZ top order.

    11 off the first ball.

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    • SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 3:50 am

      McCullum charges his first ball and forces a wide. Belts his second over cover for six.

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      • Timmy Feb 28, 2015 / 3:55 am

        Well worth staying up watching McCullum do his thing!

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      • SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 4:08 am

        Australia switch to short stuff. McCullum takes first ball on the forearm which swells up so badly there’s an audible “oh shit” from one of the comms. Slashes his next ball for four.

        “No excuses” says Warne before going on at length about the rained off game. And the short boundaries are suddenly reappearing. They’ve shrunk to 45 metres in Warne-o-metrics.

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  11. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 5:18 am

    McCullum caught. Taylor and Elliott bowled by pearlers from Starc either side of tea. Not over yet.

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  12. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 5:49 am

    Starc had Anderson in all sorts of trouble. Clarke takes him off and brings on Johnson. 16 runs off the over. Johnson 5-0-68-0.

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  13. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 6:38 am

    Bloody hell. Williamson and Anderson cruising it then Anderson slogs one to mid on. Starc demolishes the lower order with brilliant inswingers. Last man Boult survives three balls from Starc and Williamson (who never looked like getting out) on drives Cummins for six to win it.

    These meaningless Pool games. Australia vs. India SF just got more likely. Think this means NZ should get a home SF as well.

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  14. ArushaTZ Feb 28, 2015 / 6:50 am

    That was bloody incredible from first ball to last. Vettori, Boult, McCullum, Starc, Williamson. I need a lie down!

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  15. SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 6:53 am

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  16. Gambrinus Feb 28, 2015 / 8:27 am

    Blimey. I slept through the whole thing, woke up bleary eyed, got the laptop and stuck cricinfo on. I was so tired I transposed my 1 and 9 and thought NZ had won by 9 wickets, and Boult was batting at 3 as some sort of weird night watchman. Think it would have been a bit stressful to watch the whole thing live!

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  17. d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 9:52 am

    So we had a game between Full Members that was relatively close. Well done ICC. It took you only to the 20th game of the tournament to get there!

    Of course we all know it was more or less a fluke, since there was no sporting reason for New Zealand to go hell for leather, and I doubt they would have if they had not yet practically qualified for the knockouts, or if this was a knockout. The only reason this got relatively close, is that because it was more or less meaningless …

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    • escort Feb 28, 2015 / 10:16 am

      It wasn’t a close game because Mitchell Stark bowled well then?
      You make some good points about the ICC nut here I think your just being cynical.

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      • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 2:33 pm

        And just to add:

        Before play started, no one expected Australia or New Zealand not to qualify for the quarter-finals. Neither team faced a realistic prospect of elimination before the game started. Which means the game was almost completely meaningless in the grander scheme of things.

        Dave Richardson has effectively declared the group stages meaningless, by repeatedly implying that the “lesser teams” are a waste of time. Consequently, according to the ICC, the “meaning” of games between the “competitive” teams is only to determine who pairs up against who in the knockout stages.

        Because of the results thus far in the group, the game had become more and more meaningless with each win New Zealand notched up, and some of the results that made it almost next to impossible for Australia not to finish in the top 4 – it certainly would not be decided on the basis of this game.

        That is just the nature of the tournament fixture scheduling. If England manage to lose their next two fixtures, their last fixture may end being completely meaningless. Likewise Pakistan – Ireland may be completely meaningless if Ireland beat South Africa and Zimbabwe, and Pakistan keep on losing.

        Maybe my post came across as being a bit too cynical, but you can’t help feeling like this, because even by the ICC’s own admission these games are more or less meaningless. I am only taking the ICC’s position to its logical extreme.

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    • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      I just don’t think that if this was a knockout either team would have batted as carelessly as they did. Let alone if this had been a final. Both teams knew that no matter what happened, the outcome would not define their tournaments. At most it would influence who they play in the quarter finals.

      Would they batted like this, if they knew they be out of this tournament, if they lost? Starc bowled well, certainly. But he was certainly helped by the New Zealand batsmen. Just look at the way Elliott took guard.

      It is a bit like Bopara down the order. When the target is out of sight, he seems to be batting much better than when England are really in with a chance. The problem is that once there is real pressure on, and the outcome matters, he tends to fall short of what he can do. Pressure matters. A lot.

      A player is not judged for runs scored under no pressure, but for runs scored under pressure. Just as a team is not judged on the meaningless games, but on the results in the meaningful games. South Africa get called chokers for a reason: they fail in the games that matter.

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      • SimonH Feb 28, 2015 / 2:45 pm

        Having watched the whole game, I really don’t think the low scores were down to the match not mattering and lack of pressure. If anything, the match was played at too frantic a pace with both sides caught up in the intense atmosphere. Also, the match did matter because a) NZ look likely to avoid India in the SFs b) NZ are now likely to have their SF at home c) NZ self-belief would have taken a hammering if they’d contrived to lose.

        Not attracting much attention but I fear the UAE match could have more long-term significance. This is the sort of match the full-members want to justify the 2019 shrink-down. They had to wait 15 days and for a team denied any ‘top eight’ practice since 2008 to get it.

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      • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 3:26 pm

        By that logic, all the ODIs between say India and Australia of a few years ago matter, since they affected the seedings for this tourney. Had Australia lost a few more, then who knows, it could have been India in Group A instead of Group B (the ICC probably would have come up with a different metric to seed the teams though). Just because something has a marginal impact on what happens a few weeks or years down the line, does not render these games “meaningful”.

        If you look at it from a systemic point of view, the only sporting purpose the ICC ascribed to:

        Australia – England
        Australia – New Zealand
        Australia – Sri Lanka
        England – New Zealand
        England – Sri Lanka
        New Zealand – Sri Lanka
        was to determine who gets to play whom in the quarterfinals. Nothing else. From a money-perspective, these are the biggest revenue generating games, though it has to be said the value of cricket rights in Bangladesh is also on the upswing (and the cynic in me suggests that is why the qualifying tournament for WC 2019 is in Bangladesh).

        The other fifteen fixtures get treated as “filler content”, so excuse my cynicism when I treat these six games in this group as filler content as well. If the ICC declares that 30 games out of 49 are meaningless, what is stopping me from declaring another 12 games meaningless?

        It is quite evident if you also bear in mind that the quarterfinal venues have been primarily assigned to these four teams in Group A. No matter what position New Zealand finishes in they will play their quarter final in New Zealand. This fixture allocation could work to a serious disadvantage to those teams in Group B, especially if the last fixtures in that group has serious bearings on who plays where.

        Assuming that Pakistan, or Ireland (who duke it out on the 15th of March get to feature in QF1, that means they have to travel to Sydney on the 16th of March, have one practice session on the seventeenth, and then perform against Sri Lanka (assuming they qualify). At least they’ll be traveling in Australia. If West Indies qualify, bear in mind they play in New Zealand on the fifteenth as well. By contrast Sri Lanka can probably travel to Sydney on the 12th of March.

        That it is unlikely that either of those teams from Group B finishes as #2 in the group does not mean we can bank on it. One N/R for Australia against Sri Lanka can mean the Lankans finish second in the group, and that means they play the #3 of Group B, for which those three teams are prime contenders.

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      • escort Feb 28, 2015 / 4:30 pm

        This was a group stage fixture so of course no team would be eliminated from the tournament if they lost. The format is obviously not perfect but i would suggest that this was one of the least meaningless fixtures of this group. Both of these teams would have absolutely hated to have lost this game. You say that you are only taking the ICC’s position to its logical extreme but why would you want to do that? Why not just accept that today New Zealand scraped over the finish line with a 6 (how often does that happen?) by one wicket in a game against Australia, a team who in the past have resorted to the worst kind of gamesmanship to avoid defeat to them. By the way, New Zealand won the Chappell- Hadlee today in front of over 40,000 fans. Meaningless? are you sure about that?

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      • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 6:02 pm

        One of the “less meaningless” fixtures? I am really not sure what you mean.

        If you mean “meaningless” as in “does not alter the qualification outcomes for the knockouts”, there are 3 fixtures in a group, between the three teams that end up being eliminated, and even that is not guaranteed, since #5 can be eliminated due to a poor result against #6 and / or #7. Another 4 fixtures may have no impact on the outcome of the qualification process if #7 loses all its games against the top 4. Add another 4 games for #6 doing the same, and another 4 for #5 doing the same. So we could have anywhere from 0 to 15 meaningless games in a group, ranging from 0% to 70% of the fixtures in a group. The ICC seems to be putting the figure at about 50% (meaning: they consider the BDi fixtures “relevant”).

        The problem is that too few teams get eliminated in these bloated groups. If there were only 2, (or even 3) knock out spots available, then yes, the game would have been far more meaningful. But since there are just 3 teams cut after the group stages, the meaningfulness is greatly reduced.

        Consider England: they have received two absolute trashings, but in terms of their qualification prospects that does not really affect them much. They could have lost those games by 1 run and 1 wicket of the last ball, and the only difference would have been the NRR, which probably ends up being irrelevant anyway. To the fans of course, it would have made a huge difference. I think the supporters would have been less discontent if England really gave a run to Australia and New Zealand for their respective victories.

        Assuming that they get a N/R to Sri Lanka (the most realistic prospect of Sri Lanka and England finishing on the same points requires such a thing; alternatively Sri Lanka need to beat Australia, and lose to England), and beat Bangladesh and the Afghans, those trashing may only have a small chance of being “relevant” in terms of deciding who finishes third and fourth, as then there is a chance of a 3rd / 4th spot tie on points. In short: the sheer nature of the trashings received does not really affect the prospects of England qualifying much, nor does it affect who they play in all likelihood.

        And all this talk about New Zealand avoiding India in the semis, that is making the assumption that India don’t mess up their games in the future, and actually finish first in their group (assuming NZ do the same). India might lose against the West Indies (doubt that will happen though). Australia might finish third in the group, and then what? Then the “meaning” of this result will suddenly be that New Zealand may face India or Australia in the semis.

        To attach meaning to an event that might not even come to pass in the near future, just seems a bit of clutching at straws to be honest, given the format of the tournament. Too many eventualities that may or may not come to pass. Better focus on the things you can control.

        The only thing New Zealand can control is their own playing performance. Whether they face India, West Indies, South Africa, Pakistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe, or even the UAE in the quarters is something they cannot control. They don’t even control whether they get a home semi or not, as far as I understand the scheduling policy. I think they won’t if Australia finish third and get to the semis, and if that is the case this victory may have cost them a home semi. Again, that is looking in the future, eventualities that may not come to pass, etc..

        I doubt New Zealand is that preoccupied with avoiding certain teams. Their mission was to ensure they would be playing in Wellington on the 21st of March. And even though say, West Indies, England, Sri Lanka might look easier on paper than India, Australia, South Africa, any team will have to believe they can beat all comers, and can win three games in a row.

        New Zealand and India have played magnificently to get where they are in this tournament. Both look good to get far in this tournament. I would be quite happy if New Zealand won the tourney.

        But, these were almost no-pressure games, since their qualification did not hinge on any of them. Sure the players want to win – of course. They´re professional sportspeople. But they also knew, that if they lost, they´d be still on track to have a crack at the World Cup. That was the entire point of the decision to alter the tournament format, after the 2007 ´fiasco´. To assume that the format of a tournament does not influence players at all, seems a bit naive.

        Just a reminder, South Africa bowled out the opposition in all six group games in 2011, and barring a bizarre chase against England won all their group games. Did not stop them from choking in the quarter finals – in the first game that really was `do or die´. I just hope New Zealand go all the way.

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      • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 7:33 pm

        Of course it is great for the fans that the Chappell-Hadlee trophy is back in New Zealand, but the fans deserve better than what they are getting from their administrators.

        Would it not be nice if it were contested over a proper series, rather than a once-off, which is part of another tournament? The trophy is a side-show now, rather than the main focus of a series. The last proper series (meaning more than a game in a World Cup or Champions Trophy) between these two sides was in 2010. Since then Australia and England have played 25 ODIs against each other in bilateral series.

        And would it not be nice that the administrators consistently thought about such matters? They admitted they had ´forgotten´ about it, in 2013. Just as well, as the game got rained off, but still.

        I know I come across as cynical at times, but I don´t feel cricket lovers should be happy with the crumbs they are offered by the administrators.

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  18. Escort Feb 28, 2015 / 10:30 pm

    Thank you. You could not have made that clearer if you tried. As I said the format is not perfect for this tournament but surely even a cynic such as yourself can acknowledge a good game when they see one instead of denouncing it as meaningless and played in a carefree manner? You seem to be searching for a kind of cricketing tournament perfection that does not exist.

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    • d'Arthez Feb 28, 2015 / 10:54 pm

      As Dave Tickner aptly summarised:

      “Before the game, Australia and New Zealand were on course for the top two spots in Group A and with them guaranteed home draws in the quarter- and semi-finals. After the game, Australia and New Zealand are on course for the top two spots in Group A and with them guaranteed home draws in the quarter- and semi-finals.”

      The outcome of this game did not even have the slightest bearing on the venues either team will play their quarterfinals in. Perversely, it has more bearing on the venues their respective opponents have to travel to (if Australia had won, #4 of Group B had to travel to Adelaide, but now it is #3 of Group B who have to do that, assuming the rest of the games don’t throw up surprises).

      The fact that the teams in Group B’s travel destination is decided not on the basis of their own results, and positions, but rather on the results in Group A annoys me greatly as well, as it offers a significant advantage to the teams in Group A.

      Never mind the supporters. The minute Sri Lanka qualify they know where they have to go to, and can get themselves organised. The fans in Group B don’t have that luxury. They will have to wait until everything is set in stone (both in Group A as in Group B).

      Right now New Zealand have qualified. New Zealand and New Zealand fans know exactly where they have to be and when. Even if India win their next game, the same cannot be said of India, and that is simply not fair to their fans. They may only know on March 14 where India is supposed to play, unless the groups become “dead” before then.

      I don’t expect perfection. But I do expect that the scheduling is fair to the teams, and their supporters. Even that seems to be beyond the ICC.

      I am wary of expressing anything positive about the format, since the ICC will run away with the few things that accidentally went right. One close game in ten games is not enough to forget all the one-sided games that we have witnessed, such as the pastings England received at the hands of the hosts, West Indies against South Africa, South Africa vs. India.

      We can be certain that UAE’s efforts against India will be used against the Associates. We can also be certain that the even worse effort by England against New Zealand will be brushed under the carpet.

      Like

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