World Cup March 27, 2007

Less is more

Martin Williamson, Cricinfo's managing editor, looks at the performances of the Associates in the World Cup so far.

Martin Williamson, Cricinfo's managing editor, looks at the performances of the Associates in the World Cup so far.

So the first stage of the World Cup is over, although the wholesale elimination of the so-called minnows, which the format was designed to ensure, has not happened. If you include Bangladesh with the Associates in the minnow category, they have bloodied two of the most important noses in the world game.

The appearance of Bangladesh in the second round is a real a success for the expansion of the game and a most welcome reward for their cricket-mad public. That it came at the expense of neighbours India was a bonus for them, even if it devastated the hoards of commercial men that increasingly dictate the running of the game. The other surprise package, Ireland, secured their own place by beating a shambolic Pakistan side; in fairness, their tie with Zimbabwe, while a great result for them and the tournament, was not a seismic shock, so far have the Zimbabweans fallen in recent years.

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Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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