How the current Cricket World Cup format is the best one the International Cricket Council has used yet…

By Pieter Swanepoel 

 

Cricket World cup Format: Lots of change over the years

After 12 tournaments and 9 different formats, it would appear that the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, has, at last, stumbled upon a formula that works.

Until England’s defeat to Australia, the CWC19 was trundling towards two weeks of foregone conclusions and dead-rubber fixtures. The four possible semi-finalists, India, Australia, New Zealand and England, were pretty much locked in, the only thing yet to be determined, was the order they would finish in. That much seems to finally have been determined. In-form Australia just need to beat South Africa to finish top of the pile or alternatively, hope India don’t beat Sri Lanka. Australia are currently just 1.3 on the Betfair Exchange to win the group stages.

 

You can bet on all Cricket World Cup matches, plus long term markets such as the overall winner, top batsman and top bowler  on the Betfair Exchange. 

Sign up to Betfair and benefit from a double welcome offer: one on the Exchange and one on Betfair Sportsbook. New customer offer at Betfair Sportsbook. Place 5 x £/€10 or more bets to receive £/€20 in free bets.

 

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the West Indies all looked out of the running. South Africa, meanwhile, were languishing down at the Afghan end of the table, already eliminated and with nothing but pride to play for.

Questions, then, were being asked about the wisdom of the tournament format – and rightly so. After all, by placing all 10 teams into one Group Stage pool and making each play against the other over five long weeks, before sending the top four teams into the semi-finals, the ICC always ran the risk of ending up in a situation like that.

If we look at the history of the format of the tournament, we find that in 1975 and 1979, there were two groups of four teams, each playing the other once, with the top two in each group going into the semifinals.

Then the 1983 and 1987 editions had two groups of four teams, each playing the other twice, with the top two in each group going into the semi-finals.

Then in 1992, you had one group of nine teams , each playing the other once, with the top four going into the semis, while in 1996, you had two groups of six teams, with the top four in each, going into the knockout quarter-finals. 1999 saw two groups of six teams, with the top three going into another group, called the Super Six, and the top four in that group went to the semis.

2003 had two groups of seven teams and the top three went into the now-pluralised Super Sixes, with the top four from there going into the semis. Then 2007 changed that completely, with four groups of four teams, and the top two in each group going into the Super 8 group stage, and the top four there made the semis. 2011 and 2015 went back to two groups, this time of seven teams each, with the top four each going into the knockout quarterfinals.

 

2019 Cricket World Cup Format: The cleanest and fairest

Each format was flawed in its own way, but the CWC19 tournament format is – like 1992 – the cleanest and easiest to understand. But – as in 1992 – as the competition took shape, the top four teams emerged fairly quickly, and as teams saw their top-four hopes fading, the tournament was left facing the horrible reality of a dozen or more pointless, dead-rubber games.

Then England lost – first to Sri Lanka, and then to Australia – and suddenly the top four didn’t look so clear at all. England, followed by New Zealand’s loss to Pakistan, have inadvertently brought new life and interest back into the tournament. South Africa’s nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka, however, means that hosts England have now been somewhat let off the hook. Victory against New Zealand, where they’re  1.4 favourites to win with Betfair Sportsbook, would be enough to see them through. Even if they don’t win, they’ll get a second bite of the cherry; they’re still through if  Bangladesh beat Pakistan.

 

You can bet on all Cricket World Cup matches on Betfair Sportsbook. 

Sign up to Betfair and benefit from a double welcome offer: one on the Exchange and one on Betfair Sportsbook. New customer offer at Betfair Sportsbook. Place 5 x £/€10 or more bets to receive £/€20 in free bets.

With the current Cricket World Cup format, the ICC might now have a tournament format that actually works.

 

500 up?

Cricket has come a long way from the days of heavy bats and low run rates. Nowadays, thanks to the evolution of the game, cricket matches resemble a classic action film.

England recently broke a long-standing record, when they became the first team to record seven consecutive scores of 300 or more in ODIs, usurping Australia’s record set in 2007. The feat of teams scoring 300-plus in ODIs has become the norm and has been at full display at this year’s Cricket World Cup.

Since that jaw-dropping game between South Africa and Australia at the Wanderers in Johannesburg 13 years ago, in which they both breached 400 runs – a first for ODIs – the 400-run mark has been clocked 19 times, by six different teams.

Half of those 400-or-more scores have come in the past five years, with the highest coming from England, where they registered a score of 481-6 off 50 overs against Australia. Moreover, it is in this period that the highest score at the World Cup was set. This was when Australia ran up 417-6 against Afghanistan in the 2015 edition.

This penchant for scores in the region of 300 and 400 in recent times has people asking questions of whether a team can set a completely new standard and reach 500 runs at the 2019 World Cup.

The reason why teams  are now running high scores is due to several changes introduced to the game over a number of years, such as the design of bats, the rapid growth of Twenty20 cricket and the introduction of fielding restrictions.

With all these changes favouring a rapid accumulation of runs, and teams already having shown they are very much in the mood for big scores, fans wait with bated breath to see who will be the first to clock the 500-run mark in an innings.

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