The World Cup is only four games into its first weekend (it will be five after Sunday) but 300 has been crossed only once, and in the other seven innings, the highest total so far has been 209. In his post-match conference in Cardiff, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne's assessment was far from positive, saying "everyone is here to watch some entertainment, see a good match, a good, high-scoring match."
The World Cup 2019 venue curators may be going into frantic "course correction" in the hunt for a high-scoring close finish to give the event a spark, but the one team that is not surprised at how things have panned out is New Zealand.
For captain Kane Williamson, the cards of the competition were laid out well before his team's opening fixture, in the warm-up games. Before the match against Sri Lanka, Williamson had said, "We do know here, on some grounds that are smaller, have flat surfaces, that perhaps there will be some much higher scoring. We saw that in Bristol and also saw it at The Oval. It was quite a different situation. In some ways, we know that not every game is gonna be a 350 score, and we saw that in two warm-up games we played. One was; one wasn't."
He underlined the four venues so far in an early English summer had established one fact: the totals and matches at the World Cup will not be the run-fests being expected and, therefore, "there won't be one way to play." Williamson said, "I think there has been a lot of talk about really high scores, but I think there will be a number of games where that isn't the case and it will require adjustment… So there won't be one way to play but, I guess, it's just being smart with how we look to operate. For us as a team, that's important."
By the end of Sunday, nine teams, barring India, will be a game into the competition, and setting out a pattern may be too early in the World Cup. Williamson, however, underscored that it is important for teams to be "aware". He was asked whether New Zealand would, like South Africa did against England, open with a spinner - a move trademarked by New Zealand themselves in the 1992 World Cup.
"You've got your five or six bowlers and they're all options," Williamson said in response. "I think it's just important to address the surface, the opposition, and try and come up with the best plan... Naturally when you go through the tournament, you play one country and you might have two or three days, play another country on another surface, and you're trying to, I guess, stay up-to-date with the different plans that you're adjusting with the different opposition."
For his team, and it would apply to every other side in the competition regardless of skill levels or betting odds, adjusting to oppositions and conditions would be key as it could offer tactical solutions. "Whether it's guys having to push a bit harder on a particular surface on a given day, then that may be what's required," Williamson said. "Equally, it may not be the case, and it's about guys adjusting to perhaps what one-day cricket used to look a little bit more like where the scores are a little bit lower and much more scrappy-type mentality."
In the first half of the summer, ODI cricket does not seem to be so different from Test-match cricket in England, then?