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Cricket 42: The answer to life, the universe, and the inevitable English batting collapse


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The T20 World Cup has kicked off in Oman with the preliminary round to see which teams will join the top 8 teams in the main stage. It's not exactly the highest profile of starts to a tournament but I feel patriotically obliged to watch Scotland take on Bangladesh. It looked like it was heading for disaster with Scotland reduced to 55/6 early on, but debutant number 7 Chris Greaves scored 45 to get Scotland to 140/9 which seems below-par but still something to bowl at. I suspect Bangladesh can pull off the chase.

I am amused that every other team gets pop/rock music to celebrate boundaries but the DJ decides he's at a ceilidh and gets the fiddles out when Scotland get one.

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Bangladesh should chase it easily but that was a respectable recovery from the Scots.

I like that there’s a qualifying tournament to give the lower-ranked teams have a chance to enter the main bracket.

ETA: Having said that, the Tigers are making a meal of the chase so far…

Edited by Paxter
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1 hour ago, Paxter said:

Bangladesh should chase it easily but that was a respectable recovery from the Scots.

ETA: Having said that, the Tigers are making a meal of the chase so far…

I think we can add this to your list of memorable cricketing predictions, although to be fair I think it was an obvious prediction at the time.

I think clearly Scotland's best result at a World Cup (I think previously beating Hong Kong was their only other victory). The top order misfired but there was a lot of fight from the lower order and it was a very disciplined performance in the field, Mark Watt probably being the stand-out among the bowlers.

Bangladesh's batsmen seemed to have problems timing the ball all the way through the innings, maybe 140 was a better total on that pitch than it initially looked.

I like that there’s a qualifying tournament to give the lower-ranked teams have a chance to enter the main bracket.

It is a good way of getting more teams involved without having too many one-sided matches.

29 minutes ago, Paxter said:

Crazy! Scotland will just need to beat Oman and PNG to qualify if they hold on here.

Winning just one of those might be enough (particularly if they beat Oman who demolished PNG in their first match). Really, Bangladesh should still qualify as well, they'll be embarrassed about the defeat but on paper Scotland were the biggest danger to them.

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So Scotland and Bangladesh are through to the main tournament. Sri Lanka and either Ireland or Namibia will join them.

Looking forward to the weekend's matches (especially the greatest show on Earth - India v Pakistan on Sunday). 

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57 minutes ago, Paxter said:

So Scotland and Bangladesh are through to the main tournament. Sri Lanka and either Ireland or Namibia will join them.

Looking forward to the weekend's matches (especially the greatest show on Earth - India v Pakistan on Sunday). 

In any sport it feels very uncommon for a Scotland team to win three consecutive World Cup matches and they even managed to qualify comfortably with Oman always being behind the game after running out their best batsman without facing in the first over. Admittedly, further victories will be more challenging although they may have chances against Afghanistan and whichever team qualifies out of Ireland and Namibia. One team they're unlikely to face is England since they're in the other group.

When the tournament starts in earnest it's difficult to know who the favourites are. Probably India if you had to pick one team but there are a lot of contenders.

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I think Scotland will get at least one more win on the board before this is done!

I agree that India are narrow favourites. Then comes England, Windies and Pakistan. The rest are also contenders depending on the form of star T20 players like Maxwell, Rashid Khan or de Kock. 

Having said that, it's always a bit of a lottery in T20. Windies could easily fall into a heap, while an unfancied team like SA or NZ could get on a roll. 

 

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37 minutes ago, Paxter said:

I agree that India are narrow favourites. Then comes England, Windies and Pakistan. The rest are also contenders depending on the form of star T20 players like Maxwell, Rashid Khan or de Kock. 

Having said that, it's always a bit of a lottery in T20. Windies could easily fall into a heap, while an unfancied team like SA or NZ could get on a roll.

I think it's always dangerous to underestimate New Zealand in any tournament.

England are definitely contenders. It's probably not the ideal conditions for them although the big Asian teams are in the other group so might not matter so much.

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Namibia knock out Ireland!

I always enjoy watching Ireland but it's probably better for cricket to have more African representation in the WC, especially after Zimbabwe were effectively banned from entering the tournament. 

ETA: Oh and the England v India test series will resume at 2-1 next July! Edgbaston to host the fifth test. 

Edited by Paxter
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15 hours ago, williamjm said:

England are definitely contenders. It's probably not the ideal conditions for them although the big Asian teams are in the other group so might not matter so much.

England have enough depth in limited overs cricket that they’ll probably still be decent but Archer, Stokes and Curran all missing the tournament isn’t ideal for them. Archer was almost certainly meant to be the death bowler and Stokes and/or Curran give Morgan a lot of flexibility with the bowling without compromising the batting. They’ll probably have to gamble a bit with being short in either the batting or the bowling depending on the side they pick.

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2 hours ago, Paxter said:

Namibia knock out Ireland!

I always enjoy watching Ireland but it's probably better for cricket to have more African representation in the WC, especially after Zimbabwe were effectively banned from entering the tournament.

It is good to have some variety in the teams taking part in tournaments, although it is a blow to Ireland to miss out when they would have been the favourites to go through.

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