Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Ben on...preferred semi-final opponent

I'm intrugued by a couple of replies to some of the posts over the last few days, namely Karl's suggestion that South Africa might be a bogey team of New Zealand and Suhas's suggestion that we might have more chance of beating South Africa.

To analyse this, I turned to Cricinfo's Statsguru. In the table below, I have compiled each of Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka's* overall win ratio, overall win ratio against NZ, win ratio in the last 50 games (last 3 years or so) and win ratio against NZ out of those last 50 games.

Opponent     Win%   WinNZ% 50Win% 50WinNz%
Australia 64% 71% 69% 64%
South Africa 64% 64% 73% 80%
Sri Lanka 48% 45% 54% 44%
So what can we make of this? I think it clearly shows that South Africa has been our bogey team in recent years. They've been winning well, and thrashing us. In contrast, our record against Sri Lanka has been better than ever, despite their relative good form recently. The real surprise is that we have improved our record against Australia by such an extent recently.

Based on these stats, I'd suggest that we might want to meet Sri Lanka in the semis and hope that South Africa is beaten in their semi against Aus.

*The three teams looking most likely to get into the semis along with New Zealand – accepting that this is mere speculation. Expect, now I have made this prediction, that England will power through their remaining matches and South Africa to stumble against Ireland.

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