That final week in Pool Play is upon us. There is widespread agreement that this phase goes on for too long, but remember that is not due to the format, but more the TV rights driven decision to ensure all of the big names play in the weekend. That would occur whatever the format, or number of teams taking part.
Unlike other World Cups there is still a lot riding on this week with two sudden-death matches.
England Bangladesh 09-Mar-15 Adelaide
When the computer in Dubai generated this fixture it thought “Not a big game; let’s put that one on a Monday.” Not so; this is effectively a knock-out match. The winner will play India in a quarter-final. If it rains Bangladesh will progress. The UK media is currently sharpening knives, and Kevin Pieterson is on his way to Australia.
India Ireland 10-Mar-15 Hamilton
The cricketing aristocrats come to The Tron. Tourism Hamilton have been building up to this week for months. A Hobbiton Movie Set Cricket Cup evening (don’t even begin to imagine), trips to Waitomo Caves for Indian media, a multi-cultural “Origin Cup” cricket festival; they’ve pulled out all the stops.
An upset would see Ireland through to the Quarter-finals, but that’s pretty unlikely.
Sri Lanka Scotland 11-Mar-15 Hobart
Scotland is the only team other than New Zealand that does not get to play on the Australian mainland. Those plucky Scots have come close on three occasions so far, but they are in for a rough week in Hobart.
South Africa United Arab Emirates 12-Mar-15 Wellington
The match where “Yellow seats” will get multiple mentions. South Africa gets one final chance to tinker with their line-up and will probably welcome Philander back. Expect some bullying.
New Zealand Bangladesh 13-Mar-15 Hamilton
The other big event in Hamilton this week. The focus will be on what rest & rotation takes place, and it’s the last time for the Angstometer to get a tweak before the knockout matches start.
England Afghanistan 13-Mar-15 Sydney
Friday 13th. Even if England beats Bangladesh it still needs to win this one. Good scripting.
India Zimbabwe 14-Mar-15 Auckland
This is likely to produce one of the biggest crowds ever for a cricket match in New Zealand. It was also meant to provide India with a chance to become acquainted with the strange angles prior to the semi-final but that seems extremely unlikely now.
Australia Scotland 14-Mar-15 Hobart
The week in Hobart does not get any easier for the Scots. Just imagine how excited Dumb Dumb, Big Show, Watto etc will be getting about this. And then there is the commentary team.
West Indies United Arab Emirates 15-Mar-15 Napier
West Indies needs to win, and they need to bump up their NRR in advance of…..
Pakistan Ireland 15-Mar-15 Adelaide
….The last match in pool play also looms as a straight knockout match, with the winner taking third place in the pool. However, Pool B has been all over the show in terms of results, so anything is still possible. And given it is the last match of pool play there could be the chance that a certain result will see both sides advancing.