Friday, March 14, 2003

Feedback on my cricket coverage, the World Cup points system, the Duckworth Lewis rule, and New Zealand versus India

The discussion of what I think is wrong with the World Cup points system (or, more specifically, the way teams on the same number of points are separated) that I promised a couple of days ago is here.

A few days ago I wondered aloud if anyone was actually reading my detailed cricket coverage. The feedback I have received since then indicates that the answer is clearly "yes". I knew that many of my Australian readers were following it, but it seems that I have a few cricket following readers in other places as well, which is nice. In addition, I find that people appreciated my detailed analyses of which teams would qualify for the Super Six in which cases, which has mostly been on Michael Jennings Extra. Given the lack of such analysis in the general media, this is perhaps not surprising.

In addition, it has been suggested that I explain how the Duckworth Lewis rule works. I'm game, but this will take me a day or two. I shall get it done in time for the semi-finals. There are reserve days for the Super Six matches, semi finals, and final, but they are only to be used (for replaying the match) if the match cannot be completed on the first day with Duckworth Lewis, so we may well see the D/L rule applied again. (For the final, there are two reserve days, and the match is to be replayed on the first reserve day if necessary, and then the game being played on the second day will be continued on the third if necessary. Again, this seems too complex, and I would rather simply complete matches on reserve days at all times anyway. Given the amount of complaining there usually is after D/L results, completing the match if possible seems better).

In today's match between India and New Zealand, New Zealand have been bowled out for an unimpressive 146. Zaheer Khan took New Zealand wickets with the second and third balls of the match, and after than New Zealand never really got it together again. Fleming topscored with 30 and that was about it really. Sadly, New Zealand have never really performed after their great win against South Africa. Fleming batted superbly in that match and has batted decently but not spectacularly since. Their other star is supposed to be Cairns, but he has been deeply disappointing in this tournament.

If by some unlikely chance New Zealand can bowl India out for less than 146, or Sri Lanka lose to Zimbabwe tomorrow, New Zealand will meet Australia in the semi-finals. If New Zealand lose, then Sri Lanka need to beat Zimbabwe tomorrow to meet Australia.

Update: For a brief moment, it looked like New Zealand were going to make a fight of it, as India were 3/22 with Tendulkar and Ganguly out. However, India then batted smoothly to make the target without losing any further wickets, thanks to 68 not out from Mohammad Kaif and 53 not out from Rahul Dravid. Unless Zimbabwe can cause an upset tomorrow, New Zealand are gone. From an Australian point of view, I think this is good, because I would rather they play Sri Lanka than New Zealand in the semi-final. On the other hand, the last time Australia played Sri Lanka in a semi final (ICC Champions trophy last September) Australia lost. (That was in Sri Lanka, however).

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