A lesson in how to turn a celebrated event languid

Tue, Jul 16, 2019


SILIGURI,: Almost all that could be said about the Cricket World Cup (CWC) tournament and the melodramatic final has probably been said by now.
The reasons behind the Indian team’s stumble in the semi-final have been dissected too and the sport’s pundits have expressed their views.
It is another matter that no two views on the subject are same, but criticism over team selection and questionable batting order seem to be the common thread in all analyses.
Not much is, however, being told about the playing format. Come to think of it, the semi-final line-up might have been entirely different and so could have been the outcome of the final but for the strange rules governing the tournament.
Admitted that all teams were aware of the rules and must have accepted those, so there cannot be complaints from any quarter now. But, the very concept was askew.
Take for instance the rain rule. Points were divided equally between teams if rain washed away or interrupted play for a certain length of time.
That was at the round robin stage of the tournament. Come the semi-final and the first day of the India-New Zealand clash was washed away due to rain.
Yes, play was possible till the first ball of the 47th over of the New Zealand inning on day one. Since it was the knockout stage of the tournament, points could not be divided between the two sides as it was during the league stage.
The India- New Zealand tie at the league stage had also been washed away and points were divided between the two teams, which affected India’s run rate and upset the points table.
That brings up the question, why in that event was the rain washed league match between India and New Zealand not played again? The reason is ridiculous – there was no reserve day for any league stage match.
So, different sets of rules for different stages of the same tournament, is it? This is all very confusing.
Next, it would be interesting to learn what happened to the Duckworth-Lewis method. That too is the ICC’s brainchild, isn’t it?
The D/L method is not popular among the cricket playing nations, but it is still applicable in all other tournaments including bilateral ties and tournaments such as the Asia Cup. How come the CWC was played under a different set of rules then?
Does this mean that the Duckworth-Lewis method has been done away with, or is it still in force, but shelved just for the CWC?
Then take the final. It was a double tie, a first ever in the CWC. How could the encounter then be decided on which team hit the maximum number of boundaries?
Can a high-status tournament as the CWC depend on the fancy of the ICC? The institution comes first, everyone knows that, but doesn’t the sport come before that?
A juvenile conclusion to an event soaked in blood, sweat and tears.  


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