Everyone is curious about those other cricket-playing countries once every four years. Look how cute the Bermuda team looks in their bright blues. Is Obuya a common name in Kenya? Has Mugabe ruined Zimbabwe yet? They play cricket in Canada? And so forth.
Here’s a handy guide to the best of the rest, based on what happened at the warm-up games this week:
Everything clear now?
You will notice, I left Bangladesh out. I think they are a cut above the rest, but they regularly prove me wrong.
- Canada beat Netherlands. Afghanistan beat Canada. Kenya beat Afghanistan. Netherlands beat Kenya. Ireland beat Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe beat Ireland. The associates are a most exciting bunch, but only when they play among themselves.
- Ireland came close to chasing 300 against New Zealand. Canada came close to beating England. Upsets in the World Cup seem inevitable.
- India Proved they could win a match with the bat as well as the ball.
- New Zealand’s bowlers enter the World Cup with even less confidence than they had before. Giving up 360 to India is one thing, but 279 to Ireland is criminal. At this point, I wouldn’t mind trading New Zealand and West Indies for a couple of promising associate countries on the international calendar.
- Australia is in trouble. Plain and simple. They couldn’t take a wicket against South Africa in 46 overs. They couldn’t get past 217 in two attempts. Of course, I’ve said it before, I wouldn’t bet against them. The format of the World Cup allows them to be mediocre for the first four weeks, and surge towards the end. And the Australians can surge.