With the final matches of the first round completed, the make-up of the Super Six is finally determined. I don’t know if there was betting on who would be in the Super Six round (I’m sure there was somewhere), but if there was, I doubt many would have collected.
In the first World Cup on African soil, there is strong African representation in the final six, but not from the Africans that we expected!
Zimbabwe have been gifted their position in the Super Six stage. Not only from the rain last night but also from the earlier forfeit from England. Kenya also benefited from the rain at the expense of South Africa and the West Indies.
While it is good for cricket and novel to have Kenya and Zimbabwe in the Super Sixes, it is rather a shame that the six strongest teams are not there. And clearly they are not.
The rain has had a big impact on this World Cup and tournament organisers should be considering reserve days for all matches. After all, every match is critical and the World Cup is only once every four years.
From here on on, there are some slight changes to the tournament’s scoring system from the last World Cup. The two main ones are as follows:
1. As per last World Cup, teams take through the points already earned against other teams who qualified for the Super Six round. Under the new rule, in addition, teams also take one point for each win against non-qualifying sides. In the last World Cup, these points did not exist and we had the farcical situation where South Africa topped their pool but started with zero points in the Super Six. The only games they lost were against the other teams who qualified.
That situation applies to New Zealand (and Zimbabwe) on this occasion but as New Zealand performed better than Zimbabwe, they are placed slightly higher in the Super Six. The fact that Kenya has qualified unexpectedly counts against the Kiwis, having forfeited their match against Kenya.
2. In the unlikely case of a tie or wash out (after two reserve days), the team to progress to the final will be the one that finished higher on the Super Six ladder. The team to progress will NOT be decided on the outcome of the previous encounter, as was the case with South Africa and Australia last time around.
The table at the start of the Super Sixes is below. I think that the semi-finals will be Australia to beat New Zealand (1 v 4) and India to defeat Sri Lanka (2 v 3). I think that this would be an accurate reflection of the best four teams in this tournament.
But there could be a twist – New Zealand will need at least two wins to overhaul Kenya. That means beating Australia and/or India – which they must be a reasonable chance of doing. They recently flogged India at home – but they are now a long way from home. And they dominated Australia in Australia just over 12 months ago – but this is a very different Australian side. It is nervous times for the Black Caps! If NZ fails to win two games, and Zimbabwe does not leap frog Kenya (quite possible), the biggest boil-over in cricket history will occur. Kenya through to the World Cup semi finals – and all on the back of a single win against Sri Lanka (and a forfeit from New Zealand).
My tip for the final is that Australia will suffer their first defeat of the Cup as they are slain by their nemesis, Sachin Tendulkar. There is one batsman in world cricket that Australia has struggled to dominate over a long period of time – and that is Sachin. Lara is the only other man to have assumed the mantle of Australia’s conqueror for more than a fleeting moment.
Maybe I’m just nervous. Whatever the case, exciting times and the prospect of excellent cricket is before us.
|P |W |L |NR|T |CFP |Points |NRR |For |Against
Australia |2 |2 |- |- |- |4.0 |12.0 |+1.674 |376/69.5 |371/100
Kenya |2 |2 |- |- |- |2.0 |10.0 |+1.060 |210/50 |157/50
India |2 |1 |1 |- |- |4.0 |8.0 |-0.347 |380/100 |300/72.2
Sri Lanka |2 |1 |1 |- |- |3.5 |7.5 |-0.060 |429/100 |435/100
New Zealand |2 |- |2 |- |- |4.0 |4.0 |-0.940 |225/50 |272/50
Zimbabwe |2 |- |2 |- |- |3.5 |3.5 |-0.979 |418/100 |503/97.3