9 May 2007

May the best team win?

Possibly in a minority of one outside Australia, I was supporting Australia to win the World Cup final. It seems strange to me that anyone should have wanted otherwise unless they were Sri Lankan - after all Australia had proved comprehensively they were the best team in the tournament hadn't they?

But the problem with wanting the best team to win is that the audience, be they at the ground or watching on TV want a close match, and that doesn't always happen or, in the case of the 2007 World Cup, rarely happens. But that still doesn't mean that the game should be allowed to be shortened when it comes to the knockout stages - there is simply too much riding on the game to allow the chances of the lesser team winning to increase.

This contradicts what Michael Atherton was telling everyone in commentary during the World Cup final - and for one very good reason, I couldn't disagree more! He reckoned that as Australia had more big hitters this made them greater favourites in a shorter game, so let's take that to a hypothetical (and admittedly ludicrous conclusion). Australia were hot favourites to win the 50 over game before the final, but if they had played one ball each? The odds wouldn't have been much more than 50/50 as to who would win.

Let's hope that the best team is given the best chance of winning cricket World Cups, because the alternative is the situation in football where the best team certainly doesn't always win. Greece the best team in Euro 2004? I don't think so...

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