Saturday, April 14, 2007

CricInfo fixing the tournament?

So I haven't posted in a while both because I've been travelling a lot for work, and because I really haven't had much to say about the World Cup.

I must therefore thank CricInfo for changing that with yet another great headline. Today they are claiming that the Bangladesh-Ireland match tomorrow is a play-off for last place in the Super Eights.

Let's just consider the facts here for a minute.

England have games remaining against South Africa and the West Indies, the latter match being the final game of the Super Eights, and Brian Lara's retirement match.

Bangladesh have to take on the Irish tomorrow, and the West Indians on the 18th.

Thus far, England have beaten Canada, Kenya, Ireland and Bangladesh, and lost to New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.

Bangladesh have beaten India, Bermuda, South Africa and lost to New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and England.

Apparently CricInfo have missed the fact that if England beat South Africa, but lose to the West Indies (a game in which Lara will probably score the first double century in ODIs, knowing him), then Bangladesh will be through to the semi-finals if they win their two games. Some last-place battle. In fact, if Bangladesh win both their games, regardless of what happens elsewhere, they are a real shot for fifth place on NRR.

I suppose the headline writers are hoping against hope. Good luck to them.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No surprises here

Heartache for the English, to be sure, but in the end, this most predictable of World Cups, Ireland notwithstanding, has continued true to form. Close, but no cigar.

Going into the Super Eights, it was evident that Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand were clear favourites to make the semi-finals, with England the only team of the other four that really had a chance to crash the party. Unfortunately for the tournament, their chance was today, and they couldn't take it. Their only hope is to now defeat either South Africa or Australia, but their biggest worry will be that even if they do so, they face the host nation in the final match of the league, and the West Indians are sure to want to at least exit on a winning note.

It's harsh to say it, but you have to think that had India and Pakistan made it through, at least there would have been a fight to the last four. Still, Ireland and Bangladesh earned their spots, more so than Kenya in the last tournament, so we can't complain.

Frankly, I didn't rate England as a chance today, so I should really keep my mouth shut. Ravi Bopara and Paul Nixon left me speechless as they first let the game slip (apparently), and then brought it right back from the brink. You always felt though, that the team that nearly pulled off a miracle against South Africa were not going to come second at the end of this one.

It seems to me that Sri Lanka are the team most likely to challenge Australia in the final, with a Shane Bond inspired New Zealand possibly the other team who could come close. I can't see the South African bowling attack pulling it off, so I'm hoping that the Kiwis and Lankans can sneak into 2nd and 3rd place, to ensure that one of them faces off against Ponting's men on April 28th.