Cricket World Cup: The Good, Bad and Ugly (so far)

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As we draw to the end of the group stages of the 2011 ICC cricket world cup it is worthwhile to take stock for a moment and consider which teams have shown that they either have the momentum to go far, or are merely going through the motions to an inevitable exit. From shocking upsets, to lamentably one-sided mismatches, the tournament has already thrown up a myriad of different performances, and as such it is timely to cast our eye back upon these to consider which teams poised for glory or disappointment.

With all teams having played either four or five matches, it is certainly possible to judge what I will term the ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’. Some of these judgments may indeed contradict the current points tables, but what must be judged is a teams overall chances based on their skill and their current form.

GOOD

1. Sri Lanka (3 wins, 1 loss, 1 NR)

An early tournament favourite, the co-hosts have shown so far that they have the necessary elements to make a real run at the cup. One slip-up against Pakistan aside, they have shown no mercy on the minnows, and looked in a commanding position against Australia before the heavens opened
Finishing position:
Final

2. West Indies (3 wins, 1 loss)

The Windies have finally managed to put a string of games together where they manage to get their batting AND bowling right at the same time. Further to this, they have shown that they can perform even without their talismanic former leader Chris Gayle. Kieron Pollard’s form looks very solid, and it was pleasing to see runs from Devon Smith. Their form against South Africa looked worrying, but they have a good chance of knocking out England in the last group match.
Finishing position:
Semi-Final

3. India (3 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie)

The pressure on the Indian squad must be almost unbearable, and this is slightly showing in their performances to date. I’ve included them in the ‘good’ section, primarily because of the form of Sehwag and Tendulkar. However, Dean Jones wrote an article recently that said without their spinners performing (and they are not) they would struggle to win the tournament. That said, they’ll go bloody close
Finishing position:
Semi-Final

4. South Africa (3 wins, 1 loss)

Given their only loss was against ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ England, we can safely say that South Africa still have the goods to make it far. Their batting still looks a little shaky, but their bowling is magnificent, and the real ‘find’ of this cup has been Imran Tahir. They have enough quality to cover the odd bad performance and they should just continue to get better as the tournament progresses.
Finishing position:
Final

5. New Zealand (4 wins, 1 loss)

I have to include NZ here, because they will make the quarters, and before the tournament that was probably highly unlikely. Their win against Pakistan was certainly impressive, as has been the form of Ross Taylor. However, other victories have all come against minnows, and it is unlikely NZ will trouble the top teams, as was shown in their inept performance against the Aussies.
Finishing position: Quarter finals

6. Ireland (1 win, 3 losses)

If you have watched any of Ireland’s games so far you’ll understand why they are included in the ‘good’ category. For a minnow, they have been particularly special. Their win against England was great, the century by O’Brien just amazing, and they looked well on their way against the Windies before a late collapse. They won’t make the quarter finals, but they have been a real highlight of this cup
Finishing position:
Group Stages

BAD

1. Australia (3 wins, 1 NR)

It may seem odd to put a team who has not yet lost in this part of the list, but in all honesty Australia have been fairly ordinary. So far they have taken care of New Zealand, Kenya and Zimbabwe, and have been probably saved by the rain against Sri Lanka. At times Australia have looked dominant, particularly against New Zealand, but they have looked shaky as well, and it seems unlikely that they will be able to match it against the big boys. Mike Hussey’s inclusion will help, but Australia just no longer has enough superstars at their disposal
Finshing position:
Quarter finals

2. Bangladesh (2 wins, 2 losses)

Bangladesh almost make it into the good…almost! Getting two wins so far is probably above expectations, but I have already talked of the massive caveat regarding the performance against England. What keeps them in the ‘bad’ category is their woeful performance at home against the Windies. This was a real opportunity, and given their victory against England, they could be safely into the quarters. But to get bowled out for under sixty was atrocious, and cannot be excused
Finishing position:
Group stages

3. England (2 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie)

Certainly the ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ team of this cup, England have been at times amazing and at others laughable. Their victory against South Africa and the tie against India were thrilling, but they almost lost to the Netherlands, and were beaten by Bangladesh and Ireland. The players look exhausted, and they will be lucky to be a part of the quarter finals.
Finishing position:
Quarter final

4. Pakistan (3 wins, 1 loss)

Ahhh…Pakistan. So predictably, all over the place. They have been brilliant at times, of course, but at others just horrid. They have some genuine match-winners such as Afridi, Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar, but there is just so much innuendo surrounding them that it’s hard not to laugh. The latest gossip is that Umar Akmal is faking an injury to help his brother! Who knows if it is true, but whatever the case, for the sake of cricket they need to get their house in order…fast.
Finishing position:
Quarter finals

UGLY

1. Zimbabwe (1 win, 3 losses)

I know it is fashionable at the moment to be appreciative of the ‘resurgence’ in Zimbabwean cricket, but I just don’t buy it. Yes, some ex-players have returned, but the team is weak, and the same disastrous management is in place thanks to the Mugabe regime. There is promise in some of their playing group, particularly Mpofu and Creamer, but Zimbabwe cricket, like the country itself, needs a big overhaul
Finishing position:
Group stages

2. Canada (1 win, 4 losses)

Canada aren’t really in the sub-continent to be a big player, so perhaps placing them in ugly is harsh, but maybe it’s just that they represent so much that is wrong with this competition. I’m all for the development of these countries, but having them in this competition, which should be the ‘best of the best’ is ludicrous.
Finishing position:
Group stages

3. The Netherlands (0 wins, 4 losses)

See above
Finishing position:
Group stages

4. Kenya (0 wins, 5 losses)

Kenya, like Canada and the Netherlands, should not be included in this tournament, but I must say that their performance against Australia showed great courage. They have been humiliated against other teams, but it was impressive to score more than 250 against the Aussies. Good luck to Kenya in their development, and ICC please note that these teams should be given different opportunities to play against the superpowers…just not at the World Cup
Finishing position:
Group stages

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Comments

  1. sidra says

    Pakistand brilliant performance against Australias and West indies has proven to the world that they are one of the best teams in this worldcup. typical of analyst to underestimate them and their potential. I think the only thing bad or ugly in this worldcup is Ian chappel and his arrogance.

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