Tag Archives: West Indies

More accurate Super8 schedule?

This appears to be the most likely schedule for the Super8s we may end up with. The ICC obviously planned this schedule but didn’t publish it because there is always the potential for an upset in the group stage. It appears that the earlier article I wrote was a misinterpretation of how the seeding rules apply.

Aus RSA SL Ind NZ Eng Pak WI
Aus Apr 16 Mar 31 Apr 20 Apr 08 Apr 13 Mar 27
RSA Mar 28 Apr 07 Apr 14 Apr 17 Apr 03 Apr 10
SL Apr 16 Mar 28 Apr 12 Apr 04 Apr 18 Apr 01
Ind Mar 31 Apr 07 Apr 02 Apr 11 Apr 15 Apr 19
NZ Apr 20 Apr 14 Apr 12 Apr 02 Apr 09 Mar 29
Eng Apr 08 Apr 17 Apr 04 Apr 11 Apr 21 Mar 30
Pak Apr 13 Apr 03 Apr 18 Apr 15 Apr 09 Apr 21
WI Mar 27 Apr 10 Apr 01 Apr 19 Mar 29 Mar 30


Unravelling the Super8 schedule!

After the Rediff expose of the ICC schedule bungle — perhaps as a result of an overzealous website editor/copywriter — I did some thinking on the nomination of the teams as A1, A2, B1, B2, etc.

For a brief period the ICC schedule website, had the following rule in it (copied from Rediff who were quick enough to clip it from there!):

    Team names for the Super Eight stage are indicative based on the top two teams from the Group Stage qualifying. If these two teams do qualify they will be seeded in position 1 or 2 as specified regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group. For example, if South Africa wins Group A and Australia comes second, for the purposes of the Super Eights, South Africa will still be A2 and Australia will be A1.

Note that the ICC runs two schedule websites, here and here — the latter being the website being run for the ICC by its official Internet partner, http://www.indya.com!

Let us think this through logically. The Super8 stage is a league where every team plays every other team apart from the one from its own Group (which it would have played already and carried over points from). So, it doesn’t really make a difference which team is named A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1 and D2 — given that they will all play each other! For example, even if India wins all its 3 group games and tops Group-B, it would not make a difference if India is named B2 and Sri Lanka (say) is named B1 — as long as India carries over 2 points into the Super8 stage.

Now, why would the ICC want to label India as B2?

Easy. If the ICC did that, India would play most of its games on Saturdays or Sundays. Big TV audience. Big moolah! Clever.

The ICC would maximise its TV revenue if it labels the teams in the following way (assuming no upsets in the Group games by the 8 minnows that are just there to make up the numbers and fatten the stats).

    A1: Australia
    A2: South Africa
    B1: Sri Lanka
    B2: India
    C1: New Zealand
    C2: England
    D1: Pakistan
    D2: West Indies

This will mean that marquee games (or showcourt games) that would have larger TV audiences would be on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! Note the strategically positioned gap in the schedule between the Wednesday 4th April and Saturday 7th April. That’s so that India can play South Africa on Saturday the 7th of April, if we follow the labelling as above. An alternative to the above labelling is that D1 and D2 are swapped — this would make a toss of a difference to the “revenue earning” games that matter — as far as the ICC is concerned! The swapping of A1 and A2 will also produce reasonable dollar results for the ICC — after all, is that not their main concern?

However, I am pretty confident that India will be labelled B2 and Australia will be A1, regardless of the Group results.

In the event that the labelling is as I indicated above, India’s Super8 games will be:

  • Saturday 31 March: Australia V India
  • Monday 02 April: New Zealand V India
  • Saturday 07 April: South Africa V India
  • Wednesday 11 Apr: England V India
  • Sunday 15 April: India V Pakistan
  • Thursday 19 April: West Indies V India

How convenient? This is smart, but devious of the ICC, in my view. Devious because I haven’t seen this transparently explained anywhere. In the absence of such transparency, most people would like to believe that the labelling follows the normal rule which would suggest that the leader assumes first spot in the Group table…

— Mohan

Wise Words from Ranatunga

Ranatunga has categorically said that this is the strongest Indian one day side ever and is the side to beat. I have not had a chance to read through all the posts and comments on  this blog on the possible last four combinations. Having said that, I find it difficult to argue with Ranatunga’s selection of India, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. The only side that I might have had different would have been West Indies instead of New Zealand. Home side advantage is a huge factor in the World Cup and particularly in the Caribbean. My prediction of an India v Sri Lanka still stays. It is interesting to note that Ranatunga has a very high regard for Uthappa and recommends that Uthappa open in all the games. I am not so sure I agree to his view that Sehwag should be up at the top, atleast, I am not convinced yet. What is most satisfying to hear is his comparison of this Indian side with the winning combination that he lead in 1996.


A tale of captains…

I decided to have a look at the ODI and World Cup stats of the eight captains that are captaining the likely Super8 teams.

By the way, I have to acknowledge CricInfo for all the stats that I have compiled together — in this and previous articles. Where would we all be without this magnificent treasure-house of cricket data, information and knowledge?

First, their overall career ODI stats (organised in the decreasing order of batting average):

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |

The first thing to note is that they are all batsmen. So comparing their bowling is hardly worth it. The only one from this list that does bowl — and that too, occassionally in ODIs — is Greame Smith. But it is hardly anything worthy of serious note. Smith and Vaughan are the relative fledgelings of the captains’ group — in terms of overall number of games played. It surprised me to see that Vaughan has only played 77 ODI games overall!

There appears to be a distinct clustering here. Ponting, Lara, Dravid and Inzamam belong to one cluster. They have batting averages around the 40s. Ponting and Lara have converted a lot more of their 50s into 100s. That could be explained by their position in the batting order as much as anything else. We observe that Dravid and Inzamam have a larger proportion of 50s against their names. However, their is not much between this group. With the exception of Ponting, whos is a mere 144 runs away, all of them have over 10,000 runs in the game! That is a sensational performance by any yardstick!

With an average close enough to 40, Greame Smith could claim that he belongs to this grouping. And perhaps he does. But I’d place him on his own. As far as I am concerned, the jury is out on him. This could be his World Cup. If it is, I would say that he belongs in the first grouping.

The remaining three captains (Fleming, Jayawardene and Vaughan) bring up the rear. In my view, Jayawardene has been a somewhat disappointing ODI player. He is a class act, but does not seem to have the wherewithal to convert his style and panache into high scores. He is one of the more frustrating players of our time. I thought Sri Lankan cricket missed a beat by not appointing Sangakkara as captain. How Jayawardene will turn out over the long run is anyones’ guess! But it sure is disappointing to see him in a clustering with Fleming and Vaughan. In my view, he is a better player than that and he is probably not as tactically-astute as Fleming or Vaughan.

Now for a look at the performance of the Super8 captains in World Cup games (again, organised in the decreasing order of batting average):

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |

Again, it is amazing how far ahead Dravid is from the rest! There is daylight between his performances (in terms of batting average) and the rest! One could conclude that the big match brings out the best in him. And that is not entirely surprising, given his mental strength, discipline, self-belief and sheer determination.

The disappointments in this list are surely Inzamam and Jayawardene. Maybe this will be their World Cup. Who knows?

— Mohan

India’s schedule for the World cup?

Mohan’s article was an interesting read about results in the Group stage that would maximize India’s chances of advancing to the semis. But, here is what I think will be the standing at the end of the Group stage –

Group A Group B Group C Group D
1. Australia India New Zealand West Indies
2. South Africa Sri Lanka England Pakistan

The reasoning for these standings is that I believe the 8 teams shown above will beat the minnows easily and the real test is the match played between each other. Of these, I think Australia will beat South Africa, India will beat Sri Lanka and so on…

Based on these standings, these are the games India will be playing –

Date Opponent
March 28 South Africa
April 01 Pakistan
April 04 England
April 12 New Zealand
April 16 Australia
April 18 West Indies

It is interesting to see that if this scenario plays out, India’s last game of the Super 8s will be on the 18th of April against the hosts – West Indies. All other teams will have another game to go after that and I hope India would have already qualified by then – rather than wait on the outcome of the next three games, which they will have no control over…


Group results that would be good for Team India

A few basics on the tournament points-rules first. Let us remind ourselves that:

  • The World Cup 2007 has 4 Groups (A, B, C, D and E) of 4 teams each.
  • The top two teams from each group (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1, D2) will advance to the Super8 stage.
  • In the Super8 stage A1 will not play A2, B1 will not play B2, C1 will not play C2 and D1 will not play D2.
  • So, Super8 teams will only play 6 games each in the Super8 part of the tournament.
  • Any points that teams may have earned against the other qualifier from their own Group will be carried through.
  • At the end of the Super8 stage, the top four teams will go through to the semi-finals.

Let us also remind ourselves that the Groups are:

    [Group-A]: Australia, Scotland, Netherlands, South Africa
    [Group-B]: Bermuda, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India
    [Group-C]: Canada, Kenya, England, New Zealand
    [Group-D]: West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe

Like most cricket fans and pundits, the expectation is that Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, England, New Zealand, West Indies and Pakistan will make the Super8.

Let us further assume that we do not have rain, game-abandons and ties.

Given that most of us on this Blog would want Team India to maximise its chances of entering the semi-final stage, I feel that the following results in the Group stages of the World Cup 2007 will be good for India’s chances.

  • India wins all its 3 Group-B games — against Sri Lanka, Bermuda and Bangladesh.
  • Australia thrashes the living daylight out of South Africa in its Group-A!
  • England manage to win only one of their Group-C games and that is against New Zealand. England then proceed to lose to Canada and Kenya and bomb out of the tournament. This is not a pipe dream, but a regular England thing when it comes to World Cups in any sport! But more seriously, it would be good if England were to beat the Kiwis.
  • West Indies beats Pakistan.

Reasoning? I think a team would need 3-4 wins out of the six Super8 games plus one from its Group-game to be a safe shoe-in to the semi-finals stage. I believe that of the Super8 teams, India can beat England, West Indies and New Zealand. If we add to that a Group-game win against Sri Lanka, that would then be the games that India needs. Unless India plays some exceptional cricket, I expect the team to lose to Australia and South Africa. Even though India has never lost to Pakistan in her World Cup outings, the India V Pakistan game is always a lottery. So, a win there would be a bonus.

India’s semi-final contenders are, in my view, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan. Despite the recent chest-beats from Barry Richards and Sunil Gavaskar, I still feel that there is daylight between Australia and the rest of the teams and they must be a dead-cert for the Semi finals. So, the best results in the Group stage would be those that disadvantage South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan. Hence the results-suggestions above.


— Mohan