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Saturday 7 December 2019
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Letters to the Editor

England and New Zealand joint World Cup winners?

Photo courtesy pixabay
Photo courtesy pixabay

THE EDITOR: The 2019 Cricket World Cup has ended, with much drama and not a little controversy. History will show that England won but, for me, it was a hollow victory, riding on the unfair dismissal of Ross Taylor and several lucky breaks, culminating with the application of the bizarre rule that, in the event of a tie in the super over, the team hitting more boundaries wins.

The dismissal of Taylor, and Jason Roy in the semi-final, once again highlighted my pet peeve about the ridiculous way the DRS (decision review system) is implemented. Had my suggestion that it be mandatory to review every “out” decision, neither would have happened. It does not get bigger than the semi-final and final of a World Cup. What more does the ICC need to convince them to review the review system?

Among the playing conditions is this: “If following a tie weather conditions prevent the super over from being completed, or if the match is abandoned or a no-result at the end of the reserve day, the teams shall be declared joint winners.”

So why not declare joint winners if the scores are tied after the super over? It would seem the most fitting result and no true cricket fan would have argued with that.

Imagine the scenes across the globe if England and New Zealand were declared joint winners. People still remember (and talk about) the first tied Test match in 1960 between West Indies and Australia.

Why resort to the very artificial device of more boundaries? More boundaries will, almost certainly, mean more dot balls. So the team playing more dot balls wins the World Cup? Ludicrous. Many matches have been won by the team scoring less boundaries. We should not let a meaningless statistic like more boundaries determine the World Cup winner.

I suspect no real thought was put into what happens if scores are tied after the super over because the possibility seemed so remote. It’s like saying the team getting more corner kicks (or shots on goal) will win the football World Cup if the scores are tied after regulation, overtime and five penalty kicks. Absurd.

Another issue that arose is whether Pakistan or New Zealand should have advanced to the semi-final. After the league stage, both had 11 points. New Zealand advanced because of a better net run rate (NRR). Both had five wins, three losses and one no-result. In this scenario, I would recommend that the result of the head-to-head match, not NRR, determine who should advance. Since Pakistan beat New Zealand, they should have played in the semi-final.

If the head-to-head match was a no-result (or a tie), then more wins followed by NRR can be used. It’s a bit more complicated if three (or more) teams are tied on points but head-to-head results should take precedence. For instance, if three teams (A, B, C) are tied but A has beaten B and C, then A should advance. If A beats B, B beats C and C beats A, then apply more wins followed by NRR.

All in all, the 2019 World Cup was a worthwhile spectacle, with a final for the ages. The West Indies fizzled after a blazing start. Hopefully they learnt from the top four what is possible when natural flair is tempered with a little discipline.


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