Thursday, March 29, 2007

I hate to say it, but the West Indies are dreadful

I was perhaps a little too hard on the Sri Lankans yesterday. They made a few mistakes, and were outplayed and lost the game, but at least they showed some fight. If one ball from Malinga had been ever so slightly differently aimed, they would have won.

The contrast with today was really striking. The West Indies batted first in similar conditions to those on which Australia scored 322 on Tuesday. As one expects from New Zealand, the bowling was tight and the fielding was good. And the West Inides just succumbed to this. Bond took 3/31. Oram 3/23. Vettori 3/39. Lara hung in for a bit, but didn't get going, and the rest of the side just got out to terrible shot selection and a complete lack of discipline. Gayle 44 and Lara 37 were the only batsmen who got 20. The West Indies got a lousy 177, and there was no way this was enough.
New Zealand lost Fulton to the second ball of the innings, but that was the most joy that the West Indians got. To insipid bowling from the West Indians, New Zealand carefully and slowly got the runs. Fleming got 45, McMillan 33 no out and Styris 80 not out. The Australian couple in the pub where I was watching the game were critical of the New Zealanders for not scoring the runs faster, but I wasn't. New Zealand want to get the points, and not slip up. They did that. New Zealand won, easily, by seven wickets. Solid performance by New Zealand. Terrible performance by the West Indies. Bangladesh will be fancying their chances against the West Indies if they continue to play like this.

The table looks like this.
Super 8PlayedWonLostTied/NRPtsNet RR
New Zealand220040.982
Sri Lanka211021.972
South Africa21102-0.714
West Indies31202-0.783

It is likely that eights points will be needed to make the semi finals, although this is not certain. (It is actually possible for sides to score as many as ten points and miss out, but it requires very unusual circumstances for a side to score nine or more points and miss out. Eights points and missing out is quite conceivable, but still not all that likely. Similarly depending on other results it is possible for sides to qualify for the semi-finals with as few as four points, but this would require freak results. Six or seven points and a good run-rate might be enough, but no side can rely on this). Australia and New Zealand still have to play both Bangladesh and Ireland, and as both will have little difficulty beating those two sides on present form, one has to say it is very unlikely that either Australia or New Zealand will miss out on the semi-finals. The West Indies, Bangladesh, and Ireland are unlikely to make the semi-finals, so we essentially have three sides (Sri Lanka, South Africa, and England) in the hunt for the other two spots. England have not been impressive so far but have done enough. (Of course, three days ago this was also true of the West Indies). My money is still on Sri Lanka and South Africa, but a couple of good performances from England and they are in the semi-finals. And from there, who knows.

The next few days do not in truth look very interesting. England play Ireland tomorrow, and while as an Australian I would love to see an upset, it is unlikely. Australia play Bangladesh on Saturday, and the way Australia are playing at the moment I really cannot see Bangladesh getting close. On Sunday the West Indies play Sri Lanka. On present form, the West Indies will get destroyed, but if there was to be an upset it would put a cat amongst the pigeons and Sri Lanka, England, the West Indies would be frantically struggling for the last semi-final place. On Monday Bangladesh play New Zealand, and New Zealand should be too good (although go Bangladesh). Ireland play South Africa on Tuesday, which should be an easy win for the South Africans. It is not until England v Sri Lanka next Wednesday that we get something that promises to be a good game. Still, we can hope that something interesting happens between now and then.

On the other hand, if England, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and South Africa win the games up to Tuesday, the table looks like this.

Super 8PlayedWonLostTied/NRPtsNet RR
New Zealand33006-
Sri Lanka32104-
South Africa32104-
West Indies41302-

If Sri Lanka are then able to beat England on Wednesday, then we have a pretty clear situation of four likely semi-finalists and an uphill battle for other sides to challenge them. If England can win that, the last couple of spots will be much more open.


Anonymous said...

If you want to get rid of all that space between the text and the table you need to remove the carriage returns between the table tags.

No, really.

Michael said...

Indeed. Thanks. (I think I would describe that as non-intuitive).

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