I never get sick of World Cups. Ever.
This week I’m doing a preview of the Cricket World Cup. Part 1 covers the Also Rans, those making up the numbers (the bottom 7). Next week the Contenders (the top 7). We are doing it in reverse skating direction too.
United Arab Emirates
I mentioned this in my Football World Cup Preview last year but it bears repeating. Sportsbet is paying shorter odds for the World ending via Zombie Apocalypse (1001) than UAE and Scotland winning the World Cup. I wonder what odds Sportsbet would give me for Zombie UAE or Zombie Scotland winning the World Cup. BTW what’s the point of writing a blog if you can’t recycle your jokes every 6 months.
Batting – Khurram Khan – ICC World ODI Ranking – N.A, Games – 10, Runs – 427, HS – 132*, Ave – 53.37 and SR – 83.23.
Bowling – Mohammad Shahzad – ICC World ODI Ranking – N.A, Games – 4, Wickets – 5, BB – 4/26, Ave – 25.40, Econ – 5.29 and SR – 28.80.
I’m talking small sample size for these guys too. I think those averages might take a belting as well, just quietly.
Shahzad, Khurram Khan, Krishna Karate, Manjula Guruge, Mohammed Tauqir (capt), Muhammad Naveed, Nasir Aziz, Roshan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider, Shaiman Anwar, Swapnil Patil.
They are hoping they do half as well as their Football brethren. Unfortunately, they are a shadow of their Football colleagues. Semi-professional journeyman, I can’t see them winning a game. They do have nice outfits. Well they are shiny and grey. BTW at least 242 Australian journalists will mention that Khurram Khan works as an Airline Steward. You can lock that in.
Batting – Matt Machan – ICC World ODI Ranking – 98, Games – 16, Runs – 548, HS – 114, Ave – 36.53 and SR – 76.00.
Bowling – Majid Haq – ICC World ODI Ranking – 58, Games – 50, Wickets – 57, BB – 5/54, Ave – 31.73, Econ – 4.46 and SR – 42.60.
Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer (vice-capt), Freddie Coleman, Matthew Cross (wk), Josh Davey, Alasdair Evans, Hamish Gardiner, Majid Haq, Michael Leask, Matt Machan, Calum MacLeod, Preston Mommsen (capt), Safyaan Sharif, Rob Taylor, Iain Wardlaw.
Can’t see them being anything other than cannon fodder. Might give 1 or 2 teams a fright but will probably finish bottom of the table. Will be trying to finish at least above Afghanistan. That’s certainly possible.
Batting – Mohammad Nabi – ICC World ODI Ranking – 57, Games – 45, Runs – 1069, HS – 77, Ave – 31.44 and SR – 89.60.
Bowling – Mohammad Nabi – ICC World ODI Ranking – 32, Games – 45, Wickets – 42, BB – 4/31, Ave – 36.23, Econ – 4.19 and SR – 51.80.
Afsar Zazai (wk), Aftab Alam, Asghar Stanekzai, Dawlat Zadran, Gulbadin Naib, Hamid Hassan, Javed Ahmadi, Merwais Ashraf, Mohammad Nabi (capt), Najibullah Zadran, Nasir Jamal, Nawroz Mangal, Samiullah Shinwari, Shapoor Zadran, Usman Ghani.
They won’t be the worst team in their pool and should knock Scotland over. I was amazed to learn that they have an internationally ranked batsman/bowler who captains the team as well. Lost 3-1 in a recent series to UAE which isn’t a great sign, however, they played better in Dubai and won matches against Scotland and Ireland while losing each reverse fixture.
Batting – Brendan Taylor – ICC World ODI Ranking – 27, Games – 161, Runs – 4825, HS – 145*, Ave – 33.27 and SR – 72.50.
Bowling – Prosper Utseya – ICC World ODI Ranking – 43, Games – 160, Wickets – 130, BB – 5/36, Ave – 46.50, Econ – 4.34 and SR – 64.20.
Regis Chakabva (wk), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura (capt), Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (wk), Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.
Probably not a great sign that your highest ranked bowler averages just a touch under 50. Unfortunately, I think Zimbabwe has regressed and I could see them getting knocked over by Ireland in their pool matches. They always seem to have some promising but raw talent but haven’t really been competitive since the Andy Flower/Heath Streak days. Recent form hasn’t been flash either (swept in the tests and ODIs against Bangers, although that was in Bangers). They did knock Australia over in August last year. Boy that flew under the radar in Australia.
Batting – Paul Stirling – ICC World ODI Ranking – 32, Games – 51, Runs – 1726, HS – 177, Ave – 35.22 and SR – 95.14.
Bowling – George Dockrell – ICC World ODI Ranking – 36, Games – 42, Wickets – 51, BB – 4/24, Ave – 27.78, Econ – 4.23 and SR – 39.30.
Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien (wk), William Porterfield (capt), Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (wk), Craig Young.
Ireland have been wonderfully underrated and are capable of an upset. South Africa and India should top the group but Pakistan and the West Indies are inconsistent at the best of times and wins are very gettable against Zimbabwe and UAE as well. The Irish are certainly getting more game time these days with tours to the West Indies and a number of other tournaments under their belt last year. That being said, I think they will probably knock Zimbabwe and UAE over and be done with it. I can’t see them getting into the quarter-finals.
Batting – Mushfiqur Rahim – ICC World ODI Ranking – 29, Games – 140, Runs – 3153, HS – 117, Ave – 28.92 and SR – 71.35.
Bowling – Shakib Al Hasan – ICC World ODI Ranking – 4, Games – 141, Wickets – 182, BB – 4/16, Ave – 27.92, Econ – 4.26 and SR – 39.20.
Al-Amin Hossain, Anamul Haque, Arafat Sunny, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed.
Bangers are really the last of the minnows. Rugby League, Rugby Union and Cricket have this in common, the first part of the World Cup really is a fait accompli. We know who is making the quarter finals. We just don’t know the order yet. Occasionally one of the big 8 might lose a game to a rank outsider but it is rare. I can’t see Bangers winning against England, Australia, Sri Lanka or NZ. It might be a different story on the sub-continent and if this was played in Bangladesh I could be tempted in to saying they might actually make the quarters, but not in Australia or NZ. They are going to get belted. They should account for Scotland and Afghanistan (and that is not a given) but that is about it.
Batting – Chris Gayle – ICC World ODI Ranking – 51, Games – 262, Runs – 8881, HS – 153*, Ave – 37.00 and SR – 84.23.
Bowling – Sunil Narine – ICC World ODI Ranking – 2, Games – 52, Wickets – 73, BB – 5/27, Ave – 26.49, Econ – 4.10 and SR – 38.6.
Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (capt), Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.
Losing Quarter Finalist.
Not going to harp on about the decline of the West Indies but it must be said that recently controversy has dogged them at every turn. Their best batsmen Chris Gayle is woefully out of form and their best bowler Sunil Narine has been hounded (enough with the canine themed verbs) by suspect action investigations and recent reports say he has been withdrawn from the squad (yet to be confirmed officially). The Windies badly need him. Only last weekend Narine starred for Trinidad and Tobago bagging 6 for 9 against Guyana who were rifled out for 65. They seem to be heading for a 4th placed finish and a quarter final showdown with Australia but who knows. They are the epitome of mercurial and could just as likely play out of their skins and end up in the semi-finals. Can’t see them winning the whole thing though. That period of sustained excellence is beyond them at the moment.
League of Extraordinary Gentleman
This might have to become a regular segment. A reminder for those of you scoring at home, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is any of my friends who have some thoughts they don’t mind hitting my blog incognito style.
This is what the League had to say (unedited) about last week’s thoughts on the FFA:
“It always surprises me when I watch the A-league and the crowds in Sydney are better than the NRL. The WSW/SFC local derby had an amazing attendance.
I wonder whether our clubs shouldn’t do deals with clubs like Sao Paulo and Santos in Brazil, River Plate and Boca Juniors in Argentina, etc, etc to give their younger players who aren’t getting any game time more exposure to league football, even if it is the A-league. We’re in the same hemisphere…
I reckon also, a smaller version of the Asian Cup, like the Rugby Championship would be good – Australia, NZ, South Africa, Japan, South Korea or something like that…
And I think we should play an annual Anzac soccer match – Australia v Turkey. That would be killer…”
I’m e-mailing the FFA now. The League has thrown out some great ideas. I particularly like the idea of a 16 year old Lionel Messi running around for the Brisbane Roar.
What was sweeter than Jelly Bread?
- Asian Cup. Still awesome. Finally the free to air coverage has kicked in. The finalists are set now. Australia v Korea Republic.
- Golden State Warriors. Still awesome. Warriors getting historically good now. 6 of the 7 teams who have finished with a points differential above 10 have been NBA Champions. The only team that didn’t win the championship lost to a team on that list.
EPL Tips Match Day 23
Hull vs Newcastle – Draw 1-1 (Newcastle are swooning post-Pardew but should be getting some of their injured players (Abeid, Obertan, De Jong and Santon) back soon which will help. Not selling Cisse (away on African Cup of Nations duty) or Sissoko will probably help too. This one is too close to call)
Crystal Palace vs Everton – Crystal Palace 3-2 (Speaking of Alan Pardew, Palace are on fire since he took over. Talk about trading places. Everton have only won once in its last 10 League fixtures but I don’t think they will find that elusive W this weekend either)
Liverpool vs West Ham – Liverpool 2-0 (Liverpool have only lost once in their last ten League matches and will test the Hammers at home)
Man U vs Leicester – Man U 3-0 (Man U have had relatively mixed form of late, especially in the Cup but should easily account for Leicester)
Stoke City vs QPR – Stoke 2-1 (QPR are under all kinds of pressure at the moment and I can’t see that easing at Britannia Stadium)
Sunderland vs Burnley – Sunderland 2-1 (This will be extremely tight but I see better news for Gus Poyet this week)
West Brom vs Tottenham – Tottenham 2-1 (Tottenham are deadly at the moment with Harry Kane in particularly good form and I see them stealing the points this week against the Baggies)
Chelsea vs Man City – Chelsea 2-1 (To say this game is important for the championship aspirations of both clubs is a massive understatement. They don’t come any bigger. Neither team will want to drop this one. I see Chelsea being too strong at home)
Arsenal vs Aston Villa – Arsenal 4-0 (Gunners to keep pace with the Champion’s League places)
Southampton vs Swansea – Southampton 2-0 (Unfortunately the news won’t be much better for Swansea this week. At least Southampton won’t put 5 past them)
I’ve adopted the scoring system utilised by Mark Lawrenson on the BBC (a correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth ONE point and picking an exact score THREE points) and even though he wouldn’t know me from Adam we are going head to head all season long. It’s on like Donkey Kong (unless I get a letter from his lawyer or Donkey Kong’s lawyer and then I’m tipping against myself again).
Last week – Me – 8 (6 from 10 with 1 perfect score) and Lawro – 4 (4 from 10 with no perfect scores)
Season so far – Me – 170 and Lawro – 153 (Lawro falling off the pace again)
Fantasy Premier League
Transfer of the week
Nacer Chadli (Spurs) for Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea) – Pretty much just a suspension fill in this week.
My team this week
Forster (Southampton), Bertrand (Southampton), Ivanovic (Chelsea), Terry (Chelsea), Eriksen (Spurs), Downing (West Ham), Sanchez (Arsenal), Chadli (Spurs), Kane (Spurs), Austin (QPR) and Diego Costa (Chelsea) with Hamer (Leicester), Sterling (Liverpool), Wasilewski (Leicester) and Wisdom (WBA) on the bench.
195,414 from 3,439,424
In the top 200,000 doesn’t sound so flash. In the top 6% of the whole World sounds a bit better.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode on Tuesday, 3 February 2015 titled ‘2015 Cricket World Cup Preview Part 2’