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Cricket World Cup Group Matches

By SportMarch, 2007December 13th, 20232 min read

Well, the cricket world cup has begun in the West Indies, and the first stage consists of 24 “group matches” over a couple of weeks. The pool of 16 teams is divided into 4 groups of 4, with each group containing two “contender” teams, and two “minnows” who are either in the lower rungs of the ICC one-day rankings, or are associate ICC nations. After the group matches, the top two of each group proceed to the next stage.

This means that of the 24 matches, only 4 of them feature two contender teams, 4 of them are between two minnows, and the remaining 16 will pitch a minnow against a contender, like a lamb to the slaughter. Margins of 200+ runs have already featured in a couple of these games. Clearly the strategy for a minnow when winning the toss is to bowl first, if only to ensure they get the chance to bowl a full 50 overs against a top team.

In a long, 6-week tournament such a this, one must question the wisdom of such scheduling. Who do these games benefit? Do they assist the top teams in reaching and maintaing form? The key to winning in a format like this is to do enough to get into position for the semis, and to peak at the right time. I doubt if Sri Lanka gained anything in the context of their campain, by crushing Bermuda to the tune of 243 runs.

Can the minnows develop and gain from the experience of playing the established ICC teams? Or are they simply demoralized when these matches highlight the huge gap in competitiveness?

Many questions, yes. My suggestion for a better way is coming soon.

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • noss says:

    Many good points. Makes the whole group stage seem inconsequential, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t we just start with the 8 best teams in the world (poor Zimbabwe and Bangladesh might just miss the cut)?

    Here’s what I have to say about that:

    Every sport has its marquis event. Soccer, rugby and cricket have their World Cups, tennis has grand slams, cycling has the Tour de France, and of course there’s the Olympics. These competitions are the pinnacle of their sport and promote the highest level of play from all involved.

    But all those competitions have minnows involved. There’s no point watching a grand slam in the first week, Soccer’s world cup only gets interesting in the later stages (unless you’re a socceroo), not to mention the heats at the olympics (who can forget Eric ‘the eel’ Moussambini from Equatorial Guinea, who swam the slowest heat on record at the Sydney Olympics).

    But that memorable heat at the Sydney Olympics reminds us that it’s not JUST about the level of competition. These are events of the WORLD STAGE, and they do as much for the promotion of the sport as they do for the level of competition they inspire.
    Whilst some of the early stages in this year’s Cricket World Cup will be boring, it’s great to see that fat guy playing for Bermuda… or for that matter, finding out that they play cricket in Bermuda. It’s great to see Australia can beat the Netherlands at something after being beaten by them in our last meetings of Soccer and Hockey. It’s great to know the WORLD is involved.
    The fans from around the world certainly love it, and I’m also sure the players of these minnows are savouring the opportunity to be on the world stage and to play the best in the world.

    I think it’s a great opportunity to spread the great game of cricket, and here’s hoping a minnow might just do something a few years down the track (just like we hope the Socceroos might get to the second stages of a World Cup).

    We have been saturated with cricket in recent times. The players play almost year-round, and we’re all a bit cricketed out.

    After this summer’s almost laughable VB series, G-d knows the game needs a lift.

    Here’s hoping this World Cup gives us that buzz again.

  • With the lack of any media outlet in my life, I will be relying solely on The Knows for my World Cup coverage.

    Keep it up.

    The Nose Knows.

  • noss says:

    The biggest World Cup upsets:

    Bangladesh (5-192) bt India (191) by 5 wickets at Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

    Ireland (7-133) bt Pakistan (132) by 3 wickets at Kingston, Jamaica

    need I say more…

  • noss says:

    OK, I think I’ve gone ad nausea on this one but it looks like Ian Chappell says it best.

    Your thoughts on his solution David Knows?

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