Monday, February 24, 2003

Assuming that New Zealand doesn't get beaten by Canada or anything like that, take two.

Not that particular result, but definitely something like that. Kenya beat Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had looked good in the tournament so far, but they came a cropper today, with their batting collapsing and their ultimately losing by 53 runs. This completely puts the cat amongst the pigeons for Group B. I have some analysis here, but the basic deal is that virtually any three of Kenya, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and South Africa could now go through to the next round. The situation is essentially this. For West Indies, win their last game and they are definitely through. Lose it and they are probably gone. For Sri Lanka, win the last two games and they are definitely through, but win only one of them and it then gets complicated. Lose both and they are gone. For Kenya, beat Bangladesh and they are probably through, but lose and they are gone. For South Africa, win and they are almost certainly through. For New Zealand, sit tight and hope that Kenya loses to Bangladesh. If not, hope that Sri Lanka win both remaining games. If not, make sure they have a good net runrate.

Today was a really bad result for New Zealand. Their refusal to play in Kenya may now end up being extremely expensive. It was not an especially good day from the West Indies, who thanks to two events out of their control have now gone from not needing to win their last game to almost definitely needing to win their last game. It was bad for Sri Lanka, but not catastrophic if they can win at least one more game. And it was good if anything for South Africa. Plus of course it was great for Kenya.

All the above supposes no more upsets or washed out matches. If those things happen, things may become even more complicated.

In the other game, Australia beat Zimbabwe by 7 wickets with two and a half overs to spare. Zimbabwe batted quite well, ending up with a good score of 9/246, thanks to 90 runs off the last ten overs and some good batting by Andy Flower, and Andy Blignaut and captain Heath Streak at the end. Australias batsmen simply cruised, and never looked in the slightest danger of failing to get the runs. Some nice hitting by Gilchrist at the start, some competent batting from Ponting, Hayden and Martyn (none of who really looked in top form), and a nice inings from Lehmann at the end). Nothing for Australians to be concerned about, although perhaps it is slightly worrying that the Zimbabweans got on top of the Australian bowling at the end. Dare I say that Australia were missing Shane Warne?

For Australia, Michael Bevan has not yet had a bat in the tournament, and Andrew Symonds hasn't batted since his great century against Pakistan in the first match. Brad Hogg could probably do with some batting time, too. It will be interesting to see if Australia change the batting order accordingly in their next game, which should be an easy one against Namibia.

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