Wednesday, March 21, 2007

India did what was necessary. Now we wait for Sri Lanka.

Since I last posted here, there have been four mathes, all of the "stronger side meets weaker side" variety. When a stronger side outclasses the opposition, there are usually two ways to go about it. The stronger side can either do what is needed and win comfortably and take the points without doing anything flashy or go out and hit the stuffing out of the weaker side to win by the largest possible margin.

Normally, I consider the second of these options to be slightly bad form, but there are certain cases when it is necessary. Yesterday's game between India and Bermuda was such a case. India knew that there is a strong chance that the teams who go through from group B will be decided by run rate. They also knew that they have more batting firepower than Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, so that if they beat Bermuda by the highest possible margin, it would likely make a big difference. So, after being sent in (and losing one quick wicket) India really went for it. Sehweg scored 114 in a 200 run partnership with Ganguly and then Yuvraj Singh scored 83 runs off 46 balls and Tendulkar 57 not out off 29. In all, India scored 5/413 off 50 overs including 18 sixes and 30 fours, the highest score in World Cup history. Bermuda batted better than some might have expected, scoring 156, largely thanks to 73 not out by David Hemp. Still, a huge 257 run win, exactly what India needed, both from the perspective of their confidence and the tournament.

Yoday, though, we discover if it was necessary. Sri Lanka play Bangladesh. If Bangladesh win, then Sri Lanka and India essentially play off for the second place in the Super eights after Bangladesh take the first. Run rate then does not matter, unless they play a tie. If Sri Lanka wins, and then India beats Sri Lanka, the three sides are level, and the two with the best run rate make it. In that event, Bangladesh are the most likely side to miss out.

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