World Cup Review- Groups A and B

World Cup Group Stage Review
Groups A and B
With the Group Stage completed it is time for a review of the Tournament so far.

The early part of this long World Cup has seen controversy, disappointment and excitement galore. There has been fierce competition, dramatic upsets, exciting cricket, and records broken. However providing the flip-side to the excellent aspects are the issues that have been raised over the poor attendance levels, the quality of certain tracks, the negative impact of the weather and the unfortunate events surrounding Bob Woolmer. Whatever the viewpoint, the 2007 World Cup Group Stage evokes strong opinions.

Group A
Based- Saint Kitts and Nevis
As expected the two strongest teams in the World (Australia and South Africa) progressed to the Super-8’s without any hiccups. The big game between the number 1 and number 2 ranked teams in the World would have to wait until the final game, whilst in the mean time Australia and South Africa went about the work-a-day business of dismantling the Associate members in the Group. They did this with consummate ease prompting calls from sections of the media that the World Cup was being devalued by providing mismatches of this magnitude. In the 4 games combined South Africa and Australia played against Scotland and the Netherlands, they scored at over 7.5 runs an over, including 1 over where Herschelle Gibbs hit the unfortunate Daan van Bunge for 6 sixes. The only relative shock in Group A was the Netherlands defeating the higher rated Scotland. The final game in Group A was the jewel in the early round schedule, and it didn’t disappoint. After racking up a huge score of 377/6, Australia fought back after some destructive South African batting to win comfortably by 83 runs.

Player of Group A- Matthew Hayden. 190 runs @ 63.33. In the most eagerly anticipated game of the opening round, Hayden destroyed South Africa to register the fastest ton in World Cup history off 66 balls.

Biggest off-field story- Matthew Hayden and Herschelle Gibbs being awarded honorary citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis. Hayden received the honour for scoring the fastest ever World Cup century in the game against South Africa and Gibbs for hitting six sixes in an over against the Netherlands.

Australia v South Africa at Basseterre – Mar 24, 2007
Australia won by 83 runs. Australia 377/6 (50 ov); South Africa 294 (48 ov)

Netherlands v Scotland at Basseterre – Mar 22, 2007
Netherlands won by 8 wickets (with 157 balls remaining). Scotland 136 (34.1 ov); Netherlands 140/2 (23.5 ov)

Scotland v South Africa at Basseterre – Mar 20, 2007
South Africa won by 7 wickets (with 160 balls remaining). Scotland 186/8 (50 ov); South Africa 188/3 (23.2 ov)

Australia v Netherlands at Basseterre – Mar 18, 2007
Australia won by 229 runs. Australia 358/5 (50 ov); Netherlands 129 (26.5 ov)

Netherlands v South Africa at Basseterre – Mar 16, 2007
South Africa won by 221 runs. South Africa 353/3 (40/40 ov); Netherlands 132/9 (40/40 ov)

Australia v Scotland at Basseterre – Mar 14, 2007
Australia won by 203 runs. Australia 334/6 (50 ov); Scotland 131 (40.1 ov)

The following teams made it through to the Super-8 stage of the Tournament from Group A (points carried over to the next round in brackets)
Australia (2), South Africa (0)

Group B
Based- Trinidad
A group containing 3 Test nations (India, Sri Lanka and the emerging Bangladeshi’s) was never going to be easy and this Group went down to the wire. The fourth team in Group B was Bermuda and they were easily brushed aside in the opening game of the Group by Sri Lanka. The game that followed caused a great deal of drama. Bangladesh defeated a fancied Indian team with the lauded Indian batting failing. India humbled Bermuda in their next game but everything was dependant on their game against Group favourites, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka warmed up for the clash by crushing Bangladesh by 198 runs. With a fifth of the World’s population looking on, Sri Lanka further illustrated their good form by being victorious and virtually consigning India (whose batting had failed again) to an early return home. India’s only hope was for Bermuda to upset Bangladesh. It was not to be as Bangladesh secured their place in the Super-8 with victory in a disappointing and rain affected match.

Player of Group B- Chamara Silva. 166 runs @ 166. In a team (Sri Lanka) that had a number of good performers during the opening stage of the World Cup, it is a pleasure to give recognition to an inexperienced player like Silva. In each of the three games in the group stage he passed fifty and was dismissed only once.

Biggest off-field story- The financial implications of India’s exit. Estimates place the financial loss domestically from India’s early exit at around $35 million US. Then there is the further knock on effect of smaller levels of Indian tourist travel to the West Indies and the probable devaluation of future television rights for ICC competitions.

Bangladesh v Bermuda at Port of Spain – Mar 25, 2007
Bangladesh won by 7 wickets (with 21 balls remaining) (D/L method). Bermuda 94/9 (21/21 ov); Bangladesh 96/3 (17.3/21 ov)

India v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain – Mar 23, 2007
Sri Lanka won by 69 runs. Sri Lanka 254/6 (50 ov); India 185 (43.3 ov)

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain – Mar 21, 2007
Sri Lanka won by 198 runs (D/L method). Sri Lanka 318/4 (50 ov); Bangladesh 112 (37/46 ov)

Bermuda v India at Port of Spain – Mar 19, 2007
India won by 257 runs. India 413/5 (50 ov); Bermuda 156 (43.1 ov)

Bangladesh v India at Port of Spain – Mar 17, 2007
Bangladesh won by 5 wickets (with 9 balls remaining). India 191 (49.3 ov); Bangladesh 192/5 (48.3 ov)

Bermuda v Sri Lanka at Port of Spain – Mar 15, 2007
Sri Lanka won by 243 runs. Sri Lanka 321/6 (50 ov); Bermuda 78 (24.4 ov)

The following teams made it through to the Super-8 stage of the Tournament from Group B (points carried over to the next round in brackets)
Sri Lanka (2), Bangladesh (0)

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