T20 World Cup June 13, 2009

Group bug

Cricinfo
From Ankit R Gulechha, India The group stages of the ICC World Twenty20 are over and the Super 8 leg kicked off two days back

From Ankit R Gulechha, India
The group stages of the ICC World Twenty20 are over and the Super 8 leg kicked off two days back. It would interest many of us to see how rules laid by ICC has left a few matches insignificant in group stages and also led to formation of one sided groups.

According to the rules, irrespective of the number of matches a team wins in the Group stages or the position in which they finish in their group, they will move forward to the next round based on their ranking which was determined after the last edition of world cup. Just to give an example, though South Africa finished on top of group D, they were ranked as D2 and moved to group E. If ICC had not made such rules South Africa would have moved to group F.

Now what this did is that it made the last league match between South Africa and New Zealand insignificant, because irrespective of result South Africa would go to group E and New Zealand to Group F.

Similarly the Sri Lanka and West Indies match became a practice match for them before super Eights. If the rules were, and should have been, that group leaders are ranked based on performance in this world cup, and not last years, then the groups would have been like these: Group E: India (A1), Pakistan (B2), Sri Lanka (C1), New Zealand (D2) and Group F: Ireland (A2), England (B1), West Indies (C2), South Africa (D1).

If we look at the current group we have to feel for England, West Indies and South Africa on having lost out on a match with Ireland. What this bizarre rule has done is placed three group toppers (India, England and South Africa) in one group, which is unfair.

The team which has gained most from this is Sri Lanka. Not only do they play Ireland in Super 8, but also two other teams which finished runners up in their groups. Overall the group E looks tight with the favorites being South Africa followed by a three way race between India, West Indies and England for second semi-final spot from group.

Whereas Group F is a three way race with Sri lanka and New Zealand favorites to go through to semi-finals after a dismal performance by Pakistan. I hope the ICC will take into consideration these factors for the next edition of world cup or Champions trophy.

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