Most Aussies are rightly engrossed in footy finals fever and it has come to my attention that many are not even aware that the ICC Championship is in progress. Didn’t the Ashes tour finish just five minutes ago? Weren’t New Zealand and India visiting Sri Lanka? Yes, but this is 2009 – the era of the jet aircraft.
The top eight ICC nations* are in South Africa contesting that bridesmaid of One Day cricket tournaments, the ICC Champions Trophy. And I would like to point out that like the last one, this tournament is shaping up very well.
The format is simple: Eight teams make up two pools. There is a round robin where each team plays the other three in the pool once. Then semis (1st v 2nd place in the other pool) and a final. It’s quick, effective and this is no room for mistakes.
Pool B is almost finalised. South Africa has been eliminated. England, proving that their single victory in the seven match series against Australia was no fluke, have beaten Sri Lanka and now South Africa, despite 141 from Smith. England is through. If New Zealand, who overnight beat Sri Lanka, can bring England’s three match streak to an end, they will eliminate Sri Lanka. Who would have thought?
In group A, Pakistan is sitting pretty with two wins already. If Australia beats India tonight, India are out. What shaped up to be a yawn has been a very interesting scrap thus far.
* The West Indies are the 8th ranked ICC nation, despite the second string team they are fielding here being recently whipped at home by Bangladesh.