14 teams worked day and night to play 46 matches for more than a month. As expected the semifinal line up was filled by the two hosts, Mr. Consistent South Africa and defending Champion, India. Sachin Tendulkar had predicted it a year in advance, newschoupal and some other sites predicted it before the world cup started. It is no match fixing though. It is common sense based on past performances and venue. Were the 46 matches a waste of time then? Can ICC now reduce the teams to may be 6 instead of 10? Or Should one consider the great entertaining individual and team performances in some of the matches!!
Except Bangladesh and Australia all played 6 matches at group and then top 8 played the Quarterfinals too, with only England getting knocked out prematurely, although as expected. But there was no surprise for the semifinal list. In fact, except Pakistan no other test-playing nations threw unexpected result. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh won only against the expected teams including the weak England. They were demolished by group toppers and then also in quarterfinals when they played against the semifinalists.
Yes it was a waste!!
If we concentrate only on the semifinal list, it was a waste. Despite 10 more teams getting plenty of matches at hand and getting equal opportunity too, neither the Associates nor the other Test playing nations could throw a surprise. The only surprise was Bangladesh knocking out England for the spot in Quarterfinals.
There were surprise individual performances. For example, for a day Josh Davey of Scotland raced ahead of all bowlers to lead the most successful bowler’s list. There was this World record 7th wicket partnership from UAE, not once but twice. In fact, Shaiman Anwar of UAE became the highest scorer of the tournament also for two days at the later half of the tournament. Sean Williams of Zimbabwe still leads in the highest numbers of 50s scored by any batsman.
Look at the Points Table at Group Stage. Unless one expected England to be in the quarters ahead of a better ODI team Bangladesh, was their any surprise at all in the final ranks?
But, what happened in quarterfinals!! The four semifinalists defeated the other 4 test playing nations without any contest.
Look at the results in quarter finals:
- South Africa def Sri Lanka by 9 wickets
India def Bangladesh by 109 runs
Australia def Pakistan by 6 wickets with 16 overs remaining.
New Zealand def West Indies by 143 runs.
Even Associates could have lost more or less by the same humiliating margins. Isn’t it!!
A world cup is not about the semifinal list. Yes, the predictable team reached but then did not they cross through the ring of fire!! They played 5-6 Group matches and proved why they deserved to be in the semifinal. Prediction was fine, but what if they were not involved in playing 5 to 6 opponents!! What if some opponent could have thrown a surprise!!
Without Playing the matches at group stage, how would one understand that England and one of the top ranked ODI team Sri Lanka did not belong to the top four league!! Did Pakistan of 1992 World Cup belong to top four category? Was Kenya expected to reach semifinal in 2003 World Cup?
It is true that India, Australia and New Zealand faced no challenge from any other opponents. But was the passage of South Africa to the semifinal so easy? Yes, they managed to win the quarterfinal very easily. But did they win the 4 games comfortably at group stage!!
Because of this surprise element, one should not feel discouraged and keep giving others the chance. Even from team performances only England and Afghanistan could not score a century, so whom will you throw out in next edition?
Among the 36 centuries scored till Quarterfinal, 6 were scored by Ireland, Zimbabwe, UAE and Scotland, while Bangladesh also opened its account of centuries in World Cup.
ICC Can Now Reduce the Number From 10 to 6
ICC has earlier insisted on playing only 10 teams from the next World Cup. The logic is simple. Associates do not bring value to the standards that a World Cup game should follow. If the standards are based on they humiliating losses they face against test playing nations, then ICC has got an shot in the arm now.
They can certainly go for the kill now. In fact, now considering the results and performances of some of the test playing nations such as England and Bangladesh, ICC should contemplate stopping a free ticket to all the test playing nations to the World Cup.
In this world cup, din’t some test playing nations played very poor game, got into humiliating losses!! In fact, the number of close matches in World Cup 2015 has been the least. One can count them on fingers. Probably not even 5 out of 46 matches can be considered match worth a good competition.
Irony that except Australia vs New Zealand group stage match, all other close matches included Associates, at times both teams being non-test playing nations. Afghanistan, UAE, Scotland did throw challenges which were effectively handled by the opponents, but din’t they provide some entertaining world cup standard nerve-wrecking matches? Even in their record defeat to Kiwis in quarterfinals, West Indies bowed not without fight. It scored a World Cup record 250 runs in just 30 overs. Isn’t that apt for World Cup match?
So, if interesting matches has to be the concern, either ICC should stop participation of some test playing nations too or else conduct a world cup qualifier where Associates and test playing nations should play and the top 6 should enter the World Cup contest.