Mysterious Mathematics

Having almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, Australia has managed to scramble a last ball victory against Pakistan and win Pool A.  This sets up a semi final against England.  Pakistan will play New Zealand.

Note that even if Brett had have been run out scrambling a bye, Australia would still have qualified with the one point for a tie.  But they would have been playing New Zealand.  What is even more astonishing is India’s tactics against the West Indies.  Even if Australia had have lost, they would have gone through on run rate.

For India to qualify, they needed Australia to lose (as badly as possible) and to give the West Indies a good old thrashing.  In short, they needed to lift their run rate above Australia’s.  It was mathematical suicide to win the toss and elect to field.  The run rate is the difference between average runs scored versus runs conceded.  The best way to increase you run rate is to bat a full fifty overs, make a mountain of runs and dismiss your opposition cheaply.

By allowing the West Indies to bat first, and dismissing them cheaply, the overall impact of that match is diminished because of the lesser number of overs.  Having dismissed the Windies for 129, India needed to make the runs in about 5 overs to have the necessary impact on the run rate.  India knew Australia had won by the time they started batting, so the fact that they took a leisurely 32 overs is irrelevant.  Their fate was doomed from the time they sent the West Indies in, when the Pakistan v Oz match was at the half way point.

Whether India is a great team may be open to debate.  I don’t think anyone can claim that they are great mathematicians.

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