And now for something completely different – cricket!

The International Cricket Council Champions Trophy tournament is underway in England right now. This consists of 50 over one-day games and features the top eight teams in the world. The teams are split into two groups of four that play round robin games, with the top two in each group going to the semi-final round. Although Bangladesh edged out the once mighty West Indies to qualify for the eighth and last spot in the tournament, it seemed like it and Sri Lanka would not make it to out of the group stage, with Pakistan possibly joining them for an early trip home. Australia, India, and South Africa seemed the likely contenders for the trophy, with England and New Zealand close behind.

After an exciting opening game in which Bangladesh pushed England to the limit before losing, the tournament went into a dreary phase in which the English weather caused two games to be abandoned as no-decisions and two games shortened because of rain. It seemed like the early expectations would pan out. But then the tournament suddenly came alive with Pakistan upsetting South Africa and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh getting shock wins over India and New Zealand respectively.

Now the tournament is wide open with the remaining three group games all being crucial and only New Zealand eliminated so far. New Zealand can consider themselves unlucky. They seemed to be on the way to beating Australia before rain intervened and the game had to be abandoned. Saturday’s game between Australia and England is now key for Australia to win to remain in the tournament, because if England beats Australia, then Bangladesh will join England in the semi-final round, and Australia will be out. Although I normally would have no team to root for between England and Australia, I am hoping this time England wins so that the deep underdog Bangladesh makes it to the next round. It would give a real boost to that country’s cricket morale.

In the other group of four, the games between India and South Africa on Sunday and between Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Monday become effectively quarter-final games with the winners going to the semi-final round.

One hopes that the rains do not spoil what could be some very exciting games in the next few days.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Well I don’t know Mano, Cricket and Exciting in the same sentence? It’s a bit like “exciting baseball”.
    I will admit that I am Canadian and have no idea who won the Stanley Cup this year. Err, is the hockey season over?

    Still, cricket is one of the very few sports I can watch and enjoy. I don’t understand anything but still…˙

    I remember the Indian fielder in the Pakistan--Indian international played in Toronto who, in mid-flight, caught the ball, dropped it, spun 180 degrees in the air and caught the ball again. Absolutely amazing!

    I did not see the Australia--Canada game where Canada won but it was fun to hear about. Total incredulity from the press Nothing like getting the Aussies drunk and then fielding a Canadian team hailing in large part from the West Indies or the Indian sub-continent who actually knew one end of a bat from another.

    Sri Lanka and Bangladesh getting shock wins over India and New Zealand

    I never realized that New Zealand was a cricket powerhouse. I would have thought that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would be favoured over New Zealand. Well that shows my knowledge of the game.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    jrkrideau @1: NZ punches way above its weight in traditional English sports other than soccer: cricket, rugby union, rugby league. They’ve also done well in track sports, triathlon and such like.

  3. polishsalami says

    Aussie quicks smashed through the top order, but now Morgan & Stokes are going berserk. England should win this.

  4. Mano Singham says


    In my never-ending efforts to get people hooked on this immense time-wasting pastime, I once wrote a blog post that will enable you to understand it. Enjoy!

    And to follow up to Rob’s comment, NZ fields good teams that seem to never quite pull it together at the right time to win the big tournaments. But they are huge fan favorites around the world because of the quality of their players and because they are very sportsmanlike.

  5. blf says

    It’s apparently bucketing down rain now and there will probably be no more play. As I understand it, one consequence is Bangladesh will therefore very very probably go through to the semi-finals.

  6. jrkrideau says

    @ Mano and Rob Grigjanis
    I thought that New Zealand played rugby (union of course) They actually play other sports? Amazing.

    @ Mano
    That post helped a bit. I still don’t really grasp the strategy but it helps. I did not realize the time limitation.

    I think I have some idea of the tactical moves even if I am amazed. I swear I saw a club put all their fielders behind the left shoulder of the batter once. And I think it worked.

    What does “XX runs not out” mean?

  7. Mano Singham says

    jkrideau @6,

    In first class and international games, there are limitations on the distribution of fielders. But in all forms of cricket, you are only allowed two fielders in the quarter of the field ranging from 12 o’clock (i.e., the line that goes straight down the field between the two wickets and behind the batter to the boundary) to 3 o’clock (the line at right angles to the first line and going from the batter’s behind to the boundary) so the arrangement you describe would be against the rules.

    In cricket, each side has 11 players who get to bat in an innings but ten outs end the innings, so there is always one person at the end of the innings who is still surviving and is said to be ‘not out’. Sometimes, in order to give more time for the bowlers to get the opponents out, a team captain may choose to end the innings before ten outs have occurred. In that case, you would have two batters who are not out. Also a team that chases an opponent’s total and succeeds will also have two outs since then innings ends at that point.

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