As the ICC Cricket World Cup has reached the halfway point, here are the patterns that have emerged so far.
Based on the current points table, we already have the semi-finalists locked in. Only Bangladesh can give the fourth spot a shake-up. The wash-out rain-abandoned matches may haunt Bangladesh, the West Indies and South Africa in the finals point tally.
Of the 19 completed matches, the captain that won the toss sent the opposition in 14 times, winning nine. For the skipper that lost the toss and batted, they won three from five.
Two patterns have emerged. One is sending the opponents in, bowling them out cheaply, and chasing down the target with overs to spare. The other is posting 300-plus runs, which has proved tough to chase for everyone besides Bangladesh against the West Indies. The next highest successful chase was India’s pursuit of SA’s 227.
Right now, the World Cup is full of pressure. No team has set a score beyond 350 and been run down, which we’ve seen in some ODI series in recent years.
India are the most dominant team, with the top order setting a base where the middle order can come in and accelerate. Scores of 300-plus in the first innings are defensible. India have a strong opening bowler combo as well as the spinners who can choke up the opponents’ run-scoring and take wickets in the middle overs.
England, with the home crowd support and their strong batting depth, are able to post significant scores and chase down high targets themselves.
Australia’s squad is not dynamic and their batting depth starts getting weaker at No.8, minus Nathan Coulter-Nile playing a once-in-a-lifetime innings against the West Indies. The frailty is there. A potential banana skin is coming up in the next match against Bangladesh.
New Zealand is a team having a wonderful time, winning their fair share of matches and not being put in the spotlight.
On paper, it seems that an England vs India final is very much on the cards, but don’t bet against the repeat of the 2015 final between Australia and New Zealand.
In both the semi-finals and finals, if the team batting first isn’t bowled out cheaply and manages to post a total around 280, so long as their bowlers fire and are supported by their fielders, they should win.
Scores in excess of 300 will not be easy to chase.