Random notes on the World Cup
Russell Degnan

D-Day Mark Two

Group B may well be decided today, with games between Ireland and the West Indies and England and Bangladesh. If the two big-name teams win, only an Ireland vs South Africa upset and some luck can keep the group interesting. Readers harking back to D-day mark 1, tipped to be the two deciding gams in each group between New Zealand and Zimbabwe, and West Indies and Bangladesh, will note the possibility of this being another shocker.

The current qualification odds:
RSA 96%, Ind 100%, Eng 94%, WI 66% Ban 18% Ire 26% Ned 0%

Zimbabwe's losing streak has effectively ended any interest in Group A. The remaining possibilities for an upset involve one of three scenarios:

  • Australia losing to Pakistan, Kenya and Canada (estimated probability: 1 in 30,000)
  • Pakistan losing to Zimbabwe and Australia, Zimbabwe beating Kenya, which is not out of the question
  • New Zealand being mauled by Canada, losing to Sri Lanka, and Canada beating Australia.

Aus 100%, Sri 100% Pak 95% NZ 99% Zim 6% Can 0% Ken 0%

Post-match update

Both good matches, but not quite the best result with Ireland losing. They only have themselves to blame, and I've not been impressed at any point in this tournament with Porterfield's use of his bowlers. I like their cricket, but they lack the edge and lost two winnable games against Bangladesh and the West Indies. That's ought to be enough to send a side home (unless you are England).

Changed probabilities don't take into account NRR, so realistically, the West Indies are 95%+, Bangladesh 22%, and Ireland 8%. England face a must-win against the West Indies to progress - though how a team that has won 2 of 5 games ought to progress is a question best left to the organisers.

RSA 95%, Ind 100%, Eng 78%, WI 75% Ban 39% Ire 13% Ned 0%

Mismatches, but not always mismatched teams

Scyld Berry noted the other day that most of the games have been very one-sided; what he didn't mention (apart from wanting a calculator for his birthday), was that of the six games where more than 5 wickets were lost, or the margin was less than 80 runs, half have involved the pilloried associates: Bangladesh vs Ireland, England vs Ireland, Pakistan vs Canada; and of the chases that went into the last 5 overs: Kenya vs Canada, England vs Netherlands, and India vs Ireland. Roughly the same proportion of good games as there have been games involving associates. Something that was also true four years ago.

Repeated myths

Two myths persist about the format, amongst the constant stir for something better: that the tournament is shortened by removing teams; and that the number of mismatches increases as more teams are added. I've covered the first already; the second is counter-intuitive, but simply explained. If the number of matches is held constant, then the number of games each full member plays against each team increases as the groups expand. If our concern is matches between the big-8 and the rest, then the number of those games at different sized world cups is 16 for 10, 12 and 16 team world cups, 20 for a 24 team world cup, and 24 for a 14, 20 or 32 team edition. The quality of the associates reduces somewhat as you expand, notwithstanding that most teams ranked around 16-25 are pretty evenly matched, but any qualification tournament risks excluding quite good teams as well (Afghanistan and Scotland). It is almost always better to have too many than too few.

It is a measure of the insanity of the 14 team format that the ICC managed to increase the number of scheduled mismatches, reduce the value of individual wins, and make the world cup more exclusive. The real reason for reducing the number of teams is to have certain teams play more games. A glorified league, but not a world cup.

Just when you think a ODI captain couldn't be more defensive

Many commentators have noted the tendency to use spinners in the early overs, but few have picked up on the reason they are proving so valuable. With only two fielders out in the first 10 overs, a pace bowler needs to deploy a fine-leg and third-man, or face a barrage of boundaries from flicks, glances and scoops. A spinner gives up at most 2 runs from late-cuts and paddles, allowing the fielders to be deployed deep in front of square.

In other words, fielding restrictions are best negated by ignoring the attacking potential of the new ball; a good reason to remove them as well.


There is still another nine days of group games to come.

Idle Summers 11th March, 2011 07:51:29   [#] 


Can you work out what the probability is of Punter getting the hell out of the captaincy after the World Cup?
Lou  20th March, 2011 07:08:54  

Random notes on the World Cup
Captaincy? Or cricket? Either way it is doubtful. There is insufficient data on captains that have played so far past their use by date.
Russ  21st March, 2011 20:18:08  

Wouldn't the most sensible way of shortening the length of the tournament be to not stick by the ridiculous notion that you can only have one match on a particular day? Surely (helped by a slight time zone difference in host nations in the current case) you can have a day game and then a day-nighter later on on the same day (at a different venue). The fact that there were patches where teams waited over a week between group matches is nothing short of ludicrous in my opinion. Oh and by the way, the 4s are in the GF. Fawkner Park from 11am if you are in the area.
Gav  25th March, 2011 11:08:17  

Re: Cricket blogging

Im writing on behalf of the Managing Editor of CricketCountry, which is a joint venture portal of the Zee Group and an American media giant. Our cricket vertical has lots of cricketers writing for us, besides established writers. However, we are also giving space for bloggers and others who would like to share their views and/or blog on cricket.

Would you be interested in posting your articles on our website? If you do wish to share, kindly let me know. We are not paying fan bloggers for non-exclusive articles, but what we would undoubtedly give them is instant recognition on a big platform alongside big names - something that is not possible as a stand-alone blogger or merely commenting on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, we intend leverage the written stuff across social media platforms. And that means getting your writings across to much bigger audience and
thus getting new readers to your blog if you are a blogger.

If we find that any blogger is writing insightfully and is drawing a huge following, we could then commission him/her to write exclusive articles for which they would be paid.

Do let me know your thoughts.


Devarchit Varma
Devarchit  27th March, 2011 03:12:23  

Random notes on the World Cup
Gav, agreed. Although with a 10 team cup it is going to be a minimum of 5 weeks, given the winner will need to play 11 games, plus rest and travel. A sensibly scheduled larger cup would generally be shorter than that, but something tells me the ICC doesn't actually care about tournament length.

Pity about the GF. Unfortunately, was in Torquay trying to kill myself. As in cricket, it helps if you train beforehand.
Russ  28th March, 2011 17:28:25