Africa: 2019 ICC World Cup Is a True Battle of Élites

analysis

Minnow nations were disappointed to be left out of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup party, but the quality of competition at the streamlined tournament justifies their exclusion.

Remember when Australia bravely defended a score of 142 at the 2003 World Cup? Or how about the time New Zealand raced to 145 in just 80 minutes in 1995? Those, of course, were Rugby World Cup results (coming against minnows Namibia and Japan respectively), but both games involved what could rightly be called cricket scores.

That's the problem with sports like rugby and cricket, where eight or nine countries are very, very good at the game, while the rest simply aren't.

That imbalance in quality has seen the ICC Cricket World Cup produce some horribly one-sided results over the years. For every 2007 vintage Australia (imperious, impervious), there's been a 1996 vintage United Arab Emirates (hopeless, helmetless). Nobodies Namibia, infamously, were bowled out for 45 against Australia in 2003, while Canada's XI could only muster 36 runs between them against Sri Lanka in the same tournament. When India cruised to what was then a barely imaginable total of 413 for five against part-timers Bermuda in 2007, you had to wonder where...

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