Tuesday, February 18, 2003

A small amount of cricket related egg on face

Two days ago, I declared that "Assuming that New Zealand doesn't get beaten by Canada or anything like that, the West Indies are now certain of a place". Of course it is now clear that my qualification was wrong. I should havfe said "Assuming that the major cricketing nations win all their remaining games against the minnows.....", because the other possibility was that a game would get rained out and the points would be split in some such game. And of course, that is what happened today. The West Indies were going along just fine against Bangladesh, but then it rained and the match was a no result. The only important case this affects is if South Africa defeat Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka either defeat West Indies or the match is tied or no result. In these cases, South Africa and not West Indies will go through to the Super Six round. Basically South Africa's destiny is back in their own hands, although in the event that West Indies beats Sri Lanka, South Africa also have to watch their net runrate. Again, things could be futher complicated if there are upsets or no results in the minor matches. I have a detailed analysis of all the possibilities over at Michael Jennings extra.

Today was a rough break for the West Indies, and a good break for South Africa. Of course, this type of good break has happened in the World Cup before. In 1992, a storm saved Pakistan from almost certain defeat against England. The points Pakistan got from this match were enough to ensure that they and not Australia made the semi-finals, and Pakistan went on to win the world cup.

It is also worth observing that in the last World Cup in England four years ago, at this stage Australia were faced with a struggle to make the Super Six round, and South Africa appeared to be cruising. In that instance, Australia won or tied all their remaining matches and went on to win the World Cup.

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