There are performances of at least three of the associate countries, which is one of the highlights before the World Cup coming. The world Cup is the most excited football tourment for all the football fans, and they have been waiting that for a long time and can’t wait anymore!
Ireland beat the West Indies and then after being in real trouble just pipped a gallant UAE. They chased down a competitive 278 in the final over to remain undefeated in group B.
UAE was terrific against Ireland and had the Irish on the back foot, but a lack of experience saw them just miss out, but it was a mighty fine effort.
Then there was the battle between World Cup first timers, Afghanistan and Scotland in Dunedin.
Afghanistan have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years to actually qualify for cricket’s biggest tournament, while Scotland – despite losing – had been competitive in their first two games so far.
The match, between the two lowest-ranked nations in group A, was still very competitive. As they say, a close game is a good game.
The Afghans, chasing 211, just got over the line in the closest contest of the tournament so far.
They found a way to win when it looked forlorn at certain stages. They were 7 for 97 and then 8 for 132, but Samuilah Shenwari held the lower innings together to make 96.
He got out with 19 still needed, but the number 10 Hassan continued to show wonderful steel with the last man standing, Zdran and the Afghans were able to celebrate.
Their cricket had improved so much in such a short space of time that they were virtually on an equal footing with Scotland, who might have plateaued or even gone backwards slightly like fellow associates Canada, Kenya and the Netherlands, who have been regular participants in recent world cups.
That leaves us then with a conundrum regarding the plan to have just the ten Test playing nations be eligible for the 2019 World Cup event, hosted by England.
It seems very unfair on the associates, who add so much to this event and just keep increasing the profile and popularity of the game across the world.
Considering Afghanistan has been such a war torn country over the years, their involvement in this world cup is what dreams are made of. It would be a pity to not allow these countries without Test status on their biggest stage.
The more they all play the better they will be, reducing the number of one-sided games – a factor which has plagued previous world cups.
If they want a shorter condensed tournament and 49 games is probably too many, why not have a qualification system similar to the FIFA World Cup.
For example maybe 15 months out from the tournament, assess the ODI world rankings and allow the top six direct entry, along with the reigning champs and the host team.
While there’s still much to be played in this world cup, there’s a very good chance that the winner will be ranked in the top six – even though it’s three years away and England should be there as well.
If by a miracle, they are both outside, you have a tournament where two spots are up for grabs instead of four.
This system in my opinion would ensure the one dayers hold more weight and that might make the administrators consider reducing the number of ODI series and matches.
If there were four spots that needed to be filled from the qualification tournament, it should be an eight-team tournament, with the countries rated 7 to 10 in the rankings and the highest ranked associates getting a chance to play.
Two groups of four would suffice and they play each other once, with the top two qualifying for the semis and most importantly the cup. If the Test playing nations get there by this method, it just means they are better – simple as that.
In the case of only two having to qualify, the tournament would be played the same way, but only the finalists make the 2019 world cup.
The main problem with this idea is the scheduling as there is so much cricket to be played. That could create headaches, however considering how much ground they have made up, it seems ludicrous to stifle the development of the associates, by not considering them for future world cups.
Like Australia in the football world cup, making it to that sport’s biggest event has to be a given every time now. The same should be said for the Irelands and Afghanistans of the world.
It would be a great tournament – particularly if it was held on neutral territory. You can get more information about this tournament on UTfifa15coins.com.