After 45 matches, and into the third calendar month of the competition, we finally reach the semi-finals. Three games to go, the secret tournament gets to the business end amid a frenzy of indifference in the host country.
The semi-final stage really ought to be the one where the anticipation is huge, and where the wider audience is tuning in far in advance ready to view a showpiece occasion. In New Zealand, Australia and India, that could well be the case.
This has been repeated in numerous quarters ad nauseam, but it doesn’t make it any less true, or less concerning, nor is it a dig as Sky Sports, no matter how sensitive their employees are or how “outrageous” they consider articles on a blog lamenting the invisibility of the game to be. That they are so touchy tends to re-inforce the truth of the complaints – no one gets so irate unless it has touched a nerve.
Still, while the viewing figures for today will be as miserable in this country as they usually are, it is a World Cup, it is a semi-final, and a big event for the cricketing world. And the two teams involved today have had sufficiently contrasting recent form to make India overwhelming favourites. Despite their defeat to England, they have looked every inch potential winners of the competition, whereas the Black Caps three successive defeats have resulted in them stumbling into the knockout stage on net run rate. The outcome of this one ought to be obvious.
But underdogs though they might be, New Zealand’s malfunctioning batting order do have enough to cause problems, and have the bowling attack to make any opponent queasy. Their slump has been a rather surprising one given the quality on offer, even if player for player, the Indian team would be reckoned superior overall. New Zealand embrace their underdog status at the best of times, and with this one, when someone as notable as Sachin Tendulkar wishes MS Dhoni all the best for “the next two games” it will certainly provoke a wry smile in the Kiwi camp.
India should win. New Zealand have been poor. But it could be fun if they decide to show up for it.
The first – first! – respondent to Lawrence Booth’s tweet preceding the quoted one is wonderful:
“It has been on free to air TV. You can access the highlights whenever you like so to criticise the timeslot is just lazy.
As for tickets… I got three in the ballot and then whilst sat at edgbaston for NZvSA found tickets for just about every game on the official portal.”
Then he goes full Guardian BTL:
“For the price of a pint at any ground you can access the world cup through @NOWTV for the day, or a round for a whole month. Its not been hard to find, some people just like to complain because its not how they want it, or how it ‘used’ to be.”
Before flirting with self-awareness:
“If you’re a casual fan or new to the sport I think it’s difficult to access apart from the great coverage on the BBC website, but complaints from cricket fans are lazy. Sorry, should have clarified.”
Those lazy “cricket fans” should stop being concerned for others and adopt the same I’m all right Jack attitude as the likes of the pampered press and the “price of a latte/vegan wrap” crowd. Have I got that about right?
One of the things I most remember post 2005 was walking past a park in November – bloody November, and seeing some kids playing a casual game of cricket. All gone.
What do Sky think was written on here that was outrageous? Are they now some deity that we must all worship & bow down to? Coughing up monthly subscribtions is not sufficient now? They are getting a bit above themselves don’t you think? Probably all this stuff about being called “partners.” of the sport.
They are a commercial outfit that pays large amounts of money for sports rights, for the sole purpose of flogging them to their customers to make a profit. Nothing more, nothing less. And absolutely nothing wrong with that. They don’t pay for cricket out of the goodness of their heart, they do so to make a profit. The ECB don’t just get the money from a benevolent Sky, but from Sky’s customers, We pay for the ECB.
Sky don’t, or at least shouldn’t make the statigic decisions about cricket, that is left to the ECB. However, the ECB has decided to put money first, and sell out the entire game to one broadcaster for live coverage, and then pretend they are trying to grow the game.
The ECBs priority for the last 15 years has been to maximise revenue, and hope for the best. If growing the game was….as Harrison claims his priority….. he wouldn’t have sold the rights to cricket in the way he has. That is not Sky’s fault.
As we reach the semi final stage of the World Cup, the home nations governing body, (who has bet the farm on this event,) is completely helpless, and it appears totally at the mercy of their so called “partner” broadcaster to put the final on FTA. This is farcical……
When Harrison says he wants to grow the game that should come with a giant caveat……(As long as it does not interfere with maximising revenue.) That has been the ECBs priority, and all the other syrupy promises are just platitudes.
If New Zealand’s struggles are anything to go by, England will be happy they are not batting / collapsing on this pitch.
If the game is resuming today, New Zealand might thank the vagaries of DLS for getting them a better target.
Neither bowler at the death (Kumar and Bumrah) has gone for 4 runs / over, so let’s pretend that extremely good death bowlers would have gone for 15 against two batsmen who are horribly out of nick and the bowlers …
India have bowled so well it feels a bit churlish to say it, but I sort of wish they’d lose on DLS, as it’s the only way that some of the broken bits of DLS will get addressed.
As it is, given the forecast, it seems the smart thing will be to use the reserve day.
I’m supposed to be in holiday. Lord. I’m run off my feet. Anything interesting happen?
Not much super interesting. What I find interesting is that hardly anyone seems to bother with this contest (I don’t blame people for that), but it seems to be massively telling about the state of the game and the tournament.
India lost the toss and bowled well for 46.1 overs to restrict New Zealand to 211/5. It took New Zealand 39 overs to cross 150. The fielding by Chahal was noteworthy for its mediocrity (and I am generous there), then the rain came. Taylor has lived a rather charmed life, Latham who struggled all tourney was demoted to #7. This is not a 350 = par wicket, so New Zealand need to try and get at least 250. They are not out of it by any stretch, though now it is advantage India.
If they had decided to give India 20 overs to chase, New Zealand would have been favourites due to DLS (148 from 20 overs, in conditions that are massively suiting for their seamers), despite a seemingly sub-par batting performance. If the rain had been minor, India would have been asked to chase 238 from 46 overs. Which seems massively odd as well – given the game situation, it seems like it might even be a struggle for New Zealand to get to 240 in 50 overs.
But we’ll see what effect the weather has had on the wicket.
Enjoy your holiday.
What would be to acceptable (to these farcical rules) is that if India get to 50/9 inside 19.5 overs, and then the washout ensures they’ll be finalists.
Seriously, as it is, India get penalised for good captaincy (bowling out the lesser bowlers before the two death over specialists), which, I am sorry, does not sit well with me. DLS is utterly indifferent to who is to bowl – whether it is Bumrah (who averages less than a run per ball in the death overs this World Cup) or a player who has averaged over 20 in the death overs They’re deemed equally good according to DLS.
Seriously, if you have a reserve day, why not use it attempt and get the full 100 overs in?
Sadly, there’s some GOAT going on on twitter… A poll for the poundly piously plenished of those cricket supporters who don’t recognise those of us with no cable tv connect to even be bow-downing to a NOWTV £8.99 pass regarding ICC/Star/Sky ahem ‘commentators’…
Don’t dig us outside any deeper into the shared and compared btl sh!thole please, even if it was meant to be a bit of fun.
The KP issue split cricket in two in this country between sensible people and governing body toadies. After it had played out The toadies have an almost pathological hatred of anyone who doesn’t think the governing body is wonderful.
I think The ECB could announce the end of cricket, and some tosser below the line at the Guardian would defend it.
The reality is that a small amount of people are prepared to pay for live sport. And therefore the cost to those people will be relatively high. Now TV with daytime and weekly and monthly viewing passes my improve things and increase numbers of people who don’t want to commit to a full contract.
However, for most of Sky’s history you have had to sign up for a 12 or 18 month contracts which includes a base pack before you add on extras like sport or movies, Cricket didn’t have a strong fan base like football, and over night it abolished the game on FTA TV.
The “I’m alright Jack” brigade weren’t so satisfied with themselves when they couldn’t afford or wouldn’t pay for BT to watch the Ashes. I can watch both, but I don’t laugh and sneer at those that can’t. But then I’m not a so called tolerant Guardian reader. I have noticed how many of the Guardian types would like to see BT and other pay per view broadcasters go out of business and have all sport on one pay channel. The one they can afford.
Amazing effort from the Kiwi’s today – I’ve underestimated them yet again.
Dmitri’s being retweeted by Peter Jukes! My Twitter worlds are colliding!
India 5/71. This is not going at all according to plan. The next world cup will be contested by just three teams, just to be sure.
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I don’t generally go in for schadenfreude, but I’ll make an exception for MS Dhoni.
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I’m just waiting for the ICC to announce this afternoon that the loser of the semi-final now gets to play in the final, while the winner is banned from the next World Cup.
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Too bad Giles Clark is not there to call it meritocracy.
Had to miss today due to other commitments. Is it fair to say that new Zealand had the better of the conditions? In that high case, there might be less radical proposals out there. How about making the semis best of thirteen? Might have meant an icc sanctioned England vs. Australia borefest
What’s your problem with Dhoni?
Serves him right for his feeble run scoring which put far too much pressure on Jadeja and suggested his effort against England wasn’t fishy at all – he really is a selfish red inker.
That’s all. Nothing personal.
It’s a dangerous game he plays, trusting himself to finish it in a blaze of glory. He paid the price this time.
I wonder how many empty seats there will be at Lord’s on Sunday.
Brilliant game of cricket. Really got me into this 50 over stuff. Now where can I watch a domestic match… What’s that you say?
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Congratulations to New Zealand. Once again they make the final, denying the naysayers. When it comes to rugby and cricket NZ are pound for pound one of the best sporting nations on the planet. They are are a country not much bigger than Wales and yet they punch well above their weight.
Sure, they are not the best cricket nation with the most talented players the moment, but they seem to get the most out of what they have. They also are not one of the big three. It’s an object lesson in what they achieve vs England over the last twenty five years despite the hundreds of million of £s that are poured into English cricket.
A potential NZ vs Australia final will be a repeat of last time, and a global tv ratings disaster. I doubt Sky will be able to give the coverage away.
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It is ready a disaster. Probably better for the audience figures if England make the final. But that is only because the final will be in the middle of the night in Oceania. We could be looking at 2million plus whoever will switch their tvs on in the subcontinent
Congratulations to NZ, a fine performance, although I’m not altogether thrilled that the team that won the toss and batted first won the match.
Kohli in an interview today…….
“Asked whether he would like to see the tournament follow the model of the Indian Premier League, in which teams who finish top in the regular season get another chance to reach the final if they lose their first play‑off match, the India captain said: “Maybe. If topping the table means anything. I think these things can come into consideration, looking at the magnitude of this tournament. That is a really valid point. You never know when that is going to be implemented.”
I was . . . . er . . . joking?
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It is very depressing that so many people who govern sport and indeed play it at the highest level haven’t got a clue what makes sport so different from scripted drama.
You don’t know what is going to happen in sport. And also it matters in a knockout context. The elites of modern sport seem determined to eliminate the very thing that makes it worth viewing.
Sport would be so good if the right team always wins they delude themselve. No, no no. It would be utterly pointless and boring.
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