Minnows and the World Cup 2011!!

Group A and Group B had 6 minnows, one of them Bangladesh is test playing nation, Zimbabwe was earlier test playing nation, and other 4 were Associate Nations. Ireland and Netherlands made others notice them. Canada and Kenya, 2003 World Cup semifinalists, looked well set to remain Associate for many more years.

Group B Results
Despite some drama and unexpected results, Group B finally regained sanity and the top four teams – South Africa, India, England, West Indies – reached the knockout round, as expected along with the Group A top 4 favorites – Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.

Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands did play some exciting cricket, each according to their strenght. The Dutch scored big and got close to create the first upset of the World Cup, against might England. But, after scoring the 2nd highest World Cup total ever against the English, their bowlers and fielders succumbed to the match pressure. Since then they did play well in patches, against India and Ireland, but could not earn any point in their allotted 6 group matches. They returned with 6 defeats, yet they did gain respect, specially Ryan ten Doeschate.

Ireland, who were rewarded the Leading Associate title, did show why it deserved the title. They chased England’s 300 plus total and gave the much-awaited upset to the World Cup, kicking it alive. They again chased Netherland’s 300-plus score to announce that they are ready for the big league. Yet, they could not get another victory against their name, which with some more experience they could have easily.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, is considered a minnow despite being a test playing nation. The minnow of the test-playing league, provded the title correct. They did defeat the two minnows (Associate Nations) Netherlands and Ireland emphatically. They also made the English succumb. But proving their minnow status, they succumbed meekly against West Indies and finally against South Africa where they had the chance of writing their own history by defeating the Africans and riding the Safari to the Quarterfinals. Yet, they could not even show some spine. Probably they succumbed more the the match pressure and home expectation in the final match. Two below-100 score in 6 WC matches is not a record matched even by Associate Nations. Hopefully the Bangla fans would know which bus to choose now, and why, while pelting stones.

Group A Results
Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe did not show any spine against any of their test playing opponents. Among themselves also, Zimbabwe crushed Kenya and Canada. Kenya, the only Associate Nation to have ever entered the World Cup semifinal, is at its worst. Even Canada defeated them comfortably.

Teams with 0 Points
Kenya from Group A and Netherlands from Group B returned home without earning a single point. Yet Netherlands gained respect. Ryan ten Doeschate was the 6th highest run scorer with 307 runs after group matches. Kenya’s old war horse Tikolo played his last international ODI, and others did not show any world-class talent.

Other World Class Performers
Baidwan from Canada finished as joint 4th highest wicket-taker with 13 wickets after Group matches. Mooney of Ireland finished with 10 wickets.

KJ O’Brien scored a breathtaking century to defeat England and Ireland completed the biggest chase in World Cup history.

Ryan ten Doeschate completed the tournament with 2 centuries, matched only by Tendulkar and AB de Villiers as the highest centurions of the World Cup 2011.

Associate Should Play World Cup
Overall although Canada and Kenya played below standard, Bangladesh could not barge into the big league, yet performances of Ireland and Netherlands show that Associate Nations have a big role to play in future and they should get more participation in tournaments involving test nations.

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