Day/Night matches are synonymous with One Day Cricket. The Kerry Packer lead World Series revolution which changed the game forever, pioneered Day/Night cricket simultaneously with its efforts to promote and spread the one day cricket game.
It has been accepted over the years that the team batting second in day/night match is usually at a disadvantage. The team batting second usually has to bat through the twilight (or transition) period, when the daylight fades and the lights takeover. And it is a simple fact that no matter how good the lights are, daylight is immeasurably better for seeing a cricket ball, especially when the ball is getting old and is scuffed and grey. And in South Africa, the pitch seems to freshen and the new ball swings like a banana. In many cases, this has the chance to level out in a tournament with the toss of the coin, provided all matches are day/night.
It is the crowds that make one day cricket and they love day/night cricket. Day/night cricket is part of the game, everyone knows that and I don’t hear anyone complaining.
However, I wonder if in the most important cricket tournament of all, whether all matches should be played during the day, to ensure as level a playing field as possible. Notwithstanding that there are other factors, mostly involving weather, that can give one team an advantage, it seems to make sense to make playing conditions as equitable as possible. I think that you can argue this more so with this World Cup as there are relatively few matches under lights.
There is one semi-final under lights (Super Six position two v three) which means that just one of the four teams will be disadvantaged in that way. And there are other critical matches before then where both teams will be praying that they will win the toss.
And just a few news items from the last couple of days:
India beat England (batting second) soundly, by 82 runs and is through to the Super Sixes. That makes Pool A rather interesting. Contrary to my previous statements, that leaves England, Zimbabwe and Pakistan still in the picture. If Australia beats England, and Zimbabwe beats Pakistan (not out of the question), Pakistan is out and England and Zimbabwe finish level on points. Forget about what Channel Nine says, the first separator is head-to-head, not net run rate – which means England would be gone.
In an extraordinary last over, India went from 5-250 with 4 balls remaining to 9-250. The last four wickets resulted in four wickets! But is was too little too late.
In an equally extraordinary last over, Boof Lehman clobbered 28 runs to take Australia to 301 against Namibia. Australia dismissed the Namibians for 45, and won the match by 245 runs – the biggest margin in One Day cricket history.
Glenn McGrath took 7-15 from 7 overs – the best One Day analysis by an Australian.
Gilchrist equalled his own Australian record of six catches in an innings.
Andrew Symonds and Damien Martyn conspired to great effect in an attempt to qualify for the “dumbest run out of the tournament” competition. The winners receive a life time supply of Nikes.
I am looking forward to the next three days immensely. Channel Nine has deemed fit to televise matches on each of the next three nights, so I’ll be a mess by Monday, when fortunately I’ll be on leave. So until Tuesday, good bye.