While the action on the field during the ongoing ICC World Cup in England has been top-class, rain is turning out to be a spoilsport at the marquee 50-over tournament. Instead of quality sides squaring off against each other in the biggest cricket tournament, we are now left with the possibility of the tournament itself actually not going anywhere. This World Cup has already proven to be the most rain-affected edition in history, resulting in three washouts so far – two in a row, in the second week of the tournament – and Nottingham threatens to add one more to the hit-list of England’s inclement weather – India vs New Zealand.
Following an exciting first week or so of the competition that benefitted from one of the advantages of hosting a tournament in Britain – a diverse and multicultural population that led to packed and enthused houses all round, even at the warmup games – its second has been plagued by one of its disadvantages. The weather.
Sri Lanka have been worst affected by the great British summer, with two of their games called off, although given the state of their performances so far – numbers 4-7 in their order have so far managed just nine runs between them – some might feel that picking up two points from abandonments might have actually worked out in their favour.
GAME 10: Australia vs West Indies, Australia won by 15 runs
GAME 11: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, no result
GAME 12: England vs Bangladesh, England won by 106 runs
GAME 13: Afghanistan vs New Zealand, New Zealand won by seven wickets
GAME 14: India vs Australia, India won by 36 runs
GAME 15: South Africa vs West Indies, no result
GAME 16: Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, no result
GAME 17: Australia vs Pakistan, Australia won by 41 runs
While rain dominated the cricketing action, the tournament thoroughly entertained the fans in whatever action was possible. New Zealand finished the second week at the top of the points table. The Kiwis are yet to taste a defeat and have won all the three games they played so far.
Australia, England and India are the other three teams that finished in the top-four at the end of the second week.
While better weather is on the horizon, it sadly seems unlikely that we are completely done with washouts, with most worryingly Sunday’s titanic clash between India and Pakistan currently forecast to have a 40% chance of rain.
Ultimately though the weather is one of cricket’s great uncontrollable factors and while the British summer is perhaps more fickle than some others, fortune has a big part to play in matters with washouts a possibility almost anywhere – even the UAE has seen games abandoned due to rain at both Dubai and Sharjah in recent years.
In fact one of the advantages of this tournament’s interminable round robin format is that despite the rain, the damage done to the overall outcome of the competition has been minimised – with each team playing nine games and the World Cup stretching beyond six weeks in length – it can accommodate even this fairly prolonged spell of bad weather and with any luck by the tournament’s conclusion it will be nothing more than a minor footnote.
There were some great performances on display in the little cricket we could manage – while a few batsmen dominated with blistering centuries, some other bowlers bowled fiery spells. It was all a delight to watch and thoroughly entertaining.
BEST XI FROM WEEK 2
With rain playing spoilsport, the sample size to pick this eleven was quite small with most of the teams playing just one game (via – CricTracker)
1. Jason Roy | England
England faced Bangladesh in the only game that they played this week and it was Jason Roy who lit it up with his aggressive knock. The English opener attacked the bowlers right from the start and even had an opportunity to get to a double hundred at one stage. However, he couldn’t get there and got out on 151 in the 35th over of the game. He smashed 14 fours and 5 sixes during his knock which was highly entertaining.
2. Shikhar Dhawan | India
Shikhar Dhawan is the other player in this team who was top-notch in the second week. He was hit on his finger early on and the scans later revealed that it was a fracture. Yet, he continued batting in the game and battled the pain. The left-hander survived the initial phase where the ball was doing the talking and capitalised later on. Dhawan scored 117 runs in that match from just 109 balls and laced 16 boundaries. However, it is sad to see him ruled out with the injury he sustained during this match.
3. David Warner | Australia
Australia played three games during the second week and the team was fortunate that none of the games was washed out due to rain. David Warner didn’t start the week on the best of notes as he got out for just 3 runs against the Windies. Although he scored a fifty against India, he was criticised for scoring his runs at a slow pace. But against Pakistan, he played a wonderful knock to make amends and registered his 15th ODI ton. His century turned out to be the difference between both the teams.
4. Shakib Al Hasan | Bangladesh
Shakib Al Hasan has played some wonderful cricket in this tournament. The Bangladesh number three batsman scored a blistering ton in the only completed game for his team this week. He failed to convert his fifties into big scores in the first two matches. But on this occasion, he didn’t miss out on the opportunity and made it count. However, he was unlucky that his team failed to chase the target down. He was the lone warrior for Bangladesh in that match.
Wickets: 0, Economy: 7.1
5. Jos Buttler | England
In the same outing where Jason Roy and Shakib Al Hasan registered centuries, Jos Buttler played a potentially match-changing inning. The England cricketer walked out to bat at number four and scored 64 runs from just 44 balls. He smashed four sixes and was eyeing for many more before Mohammad Saifuddin got the better of him. Buttler will be the floater in the line-up and possibly the finisher as well.
6. Alex Carey (wk) | Australia
Australian wicket-keeper Alex Carey had a couple of really good outings in the second week. In the match against Windies, he walked out to bat when his side was under real pressure at 79/5. He made a valuable contribution in that game by scoring 45 runs from 55 deliveries. In the next game against India, he was absolutely on fire and took Australia‘s score as close as possible to the target so that the NRR didn’t get affected. In that match, he remained unbeaten on 55 off 35 balls. However, he failed to make it big against Pakistan and could only score 20 runs.
7. James Neesham | New Zealand
New Zealand’s James Neesham will be one of the all-rounders in this Best XI. In the only game that his team played this week, Jimmy picked up a five-wicket haul. It was him who initiated the Afghanistan collapse and put his team on the top. Neesham’s economy rate of 3.1 in this game was also quite good. While he didn’t get an opportunity to bat in this match, he is capable of striking a few lusty blows down the order.
8. Jason Holder | Windies
Jason Holder is another player who had a good outing in the second week. He did everything he possibly could in the game against Australia but found very little support from his teammates. Thus, Windies ended up losing this match. Holder was economical with the ball and bowled tight lines and lengths in this game. He did a fair job with the bat as well where he scored a half-century at almost run-a-ball. But the pressure towards the end got the better of him.
Wickets: 1, Bowling Average: 28, Economy: 4
9. Pat Cummins | England
Australia’s Pat Cummins, was easily one of the best bowlers this week. He bowled excellent lines and lengths and didn’t give any scope for the batsmen to get the better of him. Cummins started off with a 2-wicket haul against Windies where he bowled 3 maidens in his 10 overs. Again, in a high-scoring encounter against India, he was the most economical bowler for his team. He made quite a huge difference by picking up three big wickets against Pakistan. Moreover, he is also handy with the bat down the order.
10. Mitchell Starc | Australia
Mitchell Starc really came into his own in the second week of the World Cup 2019. The left-arm pacer had a massive role in helping Australia win against Windies as he picked up a five-wicket haul in that game. Though, he ended up being slightly expensive against India and picked up just one wicket in that match. He picked his game up against when he was up against Pakistan. Starc accounted for two decisive wickets in that match which potentially turned the game in Australia’s favour.
11. Mohammad Amir | Pakistan
Pakistan’s first game of the week against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain. In the other match, they faced Australia and fought hard for a win. Mohammad Amir played a critical role in restricting Australia to a below-par total towards the end of the innings. The left-arm pacer restricted the opposition’s middle order batsmen and bowled at great speeds. He adjusted his lengths well and went on to pick up a five-wicket haul. Amir even dismissed the dangerous Aaron Finch in this game.
No reserve days have been scheduled for the 10-team round-robin stage, despite the well-known risks of rain during a British summer.
The lack of cricket has left fans frustrated, with many wondering why the International Cricket Council didn’t do a better job in scheduling the mega event.
The ICC responded, insisting that including reserve days for each match in the group stage of the World Cup would have been “extremely complex” to organise.
“Factoring in a reserve day for every match at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup would significantly increase the length of the tournament and practically would be extremely complex to deliver,” ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said.
“It would impact pitch preparation, team recovery and travel days, accommodation and venue availability, tournament staffing, volunteer and match officials availability, broadcast logistics and very importantly the spectators who in some instances have travelled hours to be at the game.
“There is also no guarantee that the reserve day would be free from rain either.”
The rain has left ticket-holders frustrated
While there is no contingency plan for any of the 45 group matches, the semi-finals and the final in mid-July all have one reserve day.
Teams whose matches are curtailed by rain are awarded one point each, which severely impacts on their attempts to qualify for the knock-out stage.
Are You In?
Who is your Super 8?
Leagues up in the Lobby, Go get ’em champs!