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Explaining the eliminator

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 28, 2011

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Cartoon: It's a tie
If that's the result of any of the three remaining games in the World Cup, the OOPSE will decide the winner © Satish Acharya
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Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup

The two World Cup semi-finals and the final have a reserve day each, which will be used if both teams haven't batted at least 20 overs, but in the case of a tied game, the one-over-per-side eliminator (officially-named OOPSE, for short), will come into play to separate the teams.

Broadly, it involves each team batting for an over, with a team getting bowled out if it loses two wickets. One can imagine headline writers having a field day if the OOPSE goes wrong, but the ICC has put in place several levels of elimination - however contrived - to ensure one team does emerge the winner at the end. Here are some of the salient features of the method:

  • 1. The captains from each team will nominate three batsmen and a bowler for the eliminator. These names will be submitted to the match referee, and will be disclosed after both teams have made their nominations.

  • 2. Both teams will have to bowl from the same end, which will be chosen by the umpires. The umpires will stand at the ends at which they finished the match.

  • 3. The team batting second in the match will bat first in the eliminator. The over will be played with the field restrictions that apply to a non-Powerplay over, i.e. five fielders allowed outside the inner circle. The ball in use will be the same one with which the last over of each team's innings was played.

  • 4. If a team loses two wickets in the over, the innings is terminated.

If the teams are equal on scores after the over, there are three further criteria to decide the winner.

  • 1. The team which has struck more boundaries (fours and sixes) in both innings together - the 50 overs and the one-over eliminator - will be declared the winner. Rather curiously, though, instead of looking at the runs scored in boundaries, the ICC has decided that the number of boundary hits will decide the winner. Thus, a four will count for the same as a six. So, a team which hits four sixes will, according to this method of calculation, fall short of the team that has struck five fours.

  • 2. If the boundary count in the two innings combined is the same, the boundaries scored in the main match only - excluding the one-over eliminator - will be used to separate the two teams.

  • 3. If all of the above can't decide the winner, the countback is the final hope. This is how it works:
    the runs scored in each ball, starting with the last one, will be checked, and the team with the higher scoring delivery is the winner. If, for instance, both teams struck fours off the last ball, but team B scored two off the fifth compared to team A's single, then team B will be declared the winner. The runs scored off any ball is defined as all the runs added since the completion of the previous legitimate delivery.

If all these elaborate methods still don't produce a winner, the last fall-back option for the semi-finals is considerably less complicated - the positions of the teams in their respective groups. In that case, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have the advantage, having finished higher than New Zealand and India.

If nothing separates the two teams in the final, though, both sides will be declared joint winners.


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