Perhaps the trick to make a World Cup interesting is to add a pinch of Bangladesh – two games so far, a win and a defeat, and both eminently watchable. This is, of course, the nation that booted England out of the 2015 World Cup so unceremoniously and spectacularly.
Yesterday’s match against New Zealand was one of those where every time you felt the Kiwis had got control, they lost a wicket, often through that particular joy of cricket, the ridiculously daft shot out of nowhere. There were a fair few of those on display in the first game too, though Bumrah’s opening spell will deservedly get most of the headlines for that one. India looked decent enough elsewhere, as far as can be determined from a single game.
South Africa on the other hand have one foot already on the aircraft home – three defeats out of three doesn’t put them out of the tournament, quite, but it does leave them needing to win at least five of their remaining six games to have any realistic kind of chance. Given the entire format of the World Cup is to maintain it for as long as possible, this might well be the earliest a team has managed to get themselves on the brink of elimination in decades. In their favour, it can be pointed out that they have played England and India, rankings wise the two best sides in the world, and perhaps teams the Proteas might be expected to lose to. But then they lost to Bangladesh as well, have batted badly, bowled worse and caught abysmally. The loss of Dale Steyn is a blow to the tournament, and to cricket fans everywhere, but South Africa’s problems are deeper.
Today’s game is Australia vs West Indies, and one that might just be an intriguing one. Australia with their returning bad boys look a vastly stronger outfit, while the West Indies have arguably the most potent pace attack in the competition, and the possibility of a Chris Gayle Day leaves every opponent slightly nervous.
Is it too much to hope from this World Cup a tournament where everyone beats everyone else? Perhaps. And perhaps in the long term such a hope would be the most damaging, as it would re-inforce the ICC’s claimed motivation for making it a 10 team World Cup. That’s the trouble with cricket these days – wanting good cricket has to be with an eye kept on how the bastards will use it.
Comments as ever below!
I have to say that I liked the format in 1992, but there were only eight teams in the competition then. I know some people have issues with this format, but I do like the fact that everybody plays everybody else. It can be argued that SA are almost out of the tournament now, and so will their further matches mean anything to them if they can’t progress. On the hand if they keep losing, why should they go any further?
There is no perfect system. If you have group games a team can win one match, and then have a couple of bad weather days where one game gets rained off, and another is a D/L farce and suddenly they are going through to the next round.
What I do think is there should be two games every day. As we have now completed the first week… 14 games would be behind us, not just the nine. This second week will have only eight games. Mismatches occur in all sports but in cricket they are worse because the match lasts so long. At least in football a miss match only last 90minutes. It is the nature of cricket I’m afraid, which means best to have another game that day to provide a hopefully better contrast.
Today’s game could be a belter……Let’s hope so.
Quick correction. There were 9 teams in 1992. Originally 8, but they added South Africa at the last minute. No Zimbabwe from that comp, but Bangladesh and Afghanistan instead.
The issue is not whether or not South Africa will advance if they lose. The issue is that other teams might not qualify due to South Africa suddenly performing much better / worse after being eliminated. If they lose by 300 runs to say New Zealand or Australia, that will give their Net Run Rates undue boosts, which could eventually sink a more deserving team that played South Africa when they still had something to play for. That would stink.
Chances of rain affecting a game in a longer tournament are much higher (due to the number of fixtures). The question is, will it affect an inconsequential match, or a tournament defining one (like in 1992, when Pakistan won).
Some of these problems could be mitigated by having reserve days.
There are reserve days for semi-final and final I believe.
At least Australia are doing their best to make the tourney interesting.
The middle lower order to the rescue.Nathan Coulter-Nile could be the first batsman to score a ton batting at 8 in World Cup history.
And I fear that the Aussie quicks will know what to do on this wicket …
Appalling overrate from the West Indies though.
Great innings from Coulter-Nile but after that start the Windies will be very disappointed. I reckon Australia will win comfortably from here.
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288 is entirely defendable, especially for that bowling line-up. On paper, at least.
Add Cottrell’s catch to the “overhyping things as the best ever” list, I guess.
He took a tricky catch then lobbed it up in the air rather than risk going over the ropes. SENSATIONAL, SUBLIME, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, and all that.
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They really need to fix the stump situation. Those bails must be like lead weights. A 94mph bowler clipping off stump and they barely move.
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…and flashing bails, costing (allegedly) US$40k a set, work really well in day/UK in June D/N matches… as do white balls, coloured clothing, fireworks etc…
I’ve never seen a Kiwi so keen to do an obliging turn for the Aussies. Take a bow umpire Gaffaney! It took you three attempts, but you got Gayle out eventually…..
And one can easily argue that all three decisions were incorrect. To three times challenging the umpire’s decision, only to be leaving the field on umpire’s call is very galling, to say the least.
The umpiring was not particularly great that game.
My pet peeve of umpire’s call is always how people say “it’s clipping leg”. It isn’t saying that at all. It *may* be hitting the stumps, that’s all.
Blah… disappointing game after an exciting start.
WI got sloppy with both fielding and bowling.
Pakistan might drop a point today, courtesy of the weather gods. Why group fixtures have no reserve day, given the EXTREMELY HIGH pace of the tournament is beyond me.