Thursday, 22 March 2007

Ben on...looking ahead

There are still four days left of first round games, but the list of likely qualifiers for the Super 8s is starting to firm up. New Zealand will surely go through as the first qualifier in group C (making them C1), with England likely to make it also (C2) (though if there's going to be another upset, it will be in their match against Kenya). The Windies will surely top group D, with Ireland second (D1 and D2). Australia and South Africa have qualified, but still have to fight it out to qualify as A1. The biggest question is who will qualify along with Sri Lanka (C1) in group C, Bangladesh or India.

(So, some big games coming up over the next few days. India/Sri Lanka, with India needing a win to stay in the tournament – run rate won't come into it; Australia/South Africa, the heavy-weight battle; England/Kenya, 'cause the upsets might not be finished.)

Richard Boock has given his view of how New Zealand stands at the start of the Super 8. I think his analysis is a bit off though. He makes a big deal of the two facts that New Zealand will start the Super 8s with points and that the West Indies won't get to play Ireland in the Super 8s (with Sri Lanka in the same situation if Bangladesh qualifies). However, this analysis ignores the facts that we had to beat England to get those points and that the Windies will have had the chance to play Ireland before the Super 8, and will almost certainly have scored points from the game to carry over into the Super 8 stage. I think it is best to consider the games between the Super 8 qualifiers in the first round to be part of the Super 8.

Incidently, there has been talk of how New Zealand should be getting behind England to qualify for the Super 8, so that we get to carry the points forward. However, now that we have beaten Kenya, it is in fact to our advantage if Kenya qualifies. We'll carry the points forward regardless of which of England and Kenya qualifies, but if England qualifies we'll be competing with them for a semi-final spot.

Boock's predictions are a bit awry also, I believe. He reckons that our first Super 8 game (against D2) will be against the Windies. By my reckoning, our first opponent will be Ireland. Then either India or Bangladesh, then the Windies, then Sri Lanka, before our last two games against Australia and South Africa. In terms of wrapping up a semi-final spot early, this is a good draw. The first three games are the easiest, and if we were to pick up a couple of wins in those games we'll only need one win in the second three.

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