Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Two World Cup games today. First, New Zealand played Bangladesh. A good professional performance by New Zealand. Bangladesh scored 198 and New Zealand made the runs for the loss of three wickets off 33.3 overs, giving their net runrate a good boost. An excellent day's work for New Zealand.

England, on the other hand, were dreadful, losing by 82 runs to India. India scored a good but not spectacular 250. Their batting was good, but their gun batsment didn't really fine. England were bowled out for a miserable 168. For India, Ashish Nehra's 6/23 was I think the second best bowling figures in World Cup history. Good effort by India. India were badly beaten by Australia, but their form otherwise has been excellent, and they are now almost certain of a place in the Super Six stage. England do not deserve a place in the Super Six stage, but still have a good chance of making it, due to a couple of equally lousy performances from Pakistan. I have a more detailed analysis of group A here.

Group A, which was supposed to be the more competitive, has turned out to be something of a disappointment. Group B remains completely up in the air. A mixture of defaults, upsets, and rain means that the two sides who really deserve Super Six spots (West Indies and particularly New Zealand) do not yet have them, and two sides who really do not (South Africa and Kenya) remain in it.

Two probably one-sided games tomorrow (Australia v Namibia and South Africa v Canada). The next big game is the utterly crucial game between Sri Lanka and West Indies on Friday.

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