The Statscrunch Suggestion for a Cricket World Cup

The ICC has tried out many different formats for a cricket World Cup.

Four of them have been good (1975/79, 1992, 1996, and 2011/15).

One of them was alright, but just an excuse to make more money (1983/87).

Two of them weren’t very good (1999 and 2003).

And one of them was awful (2007).

They’re now going back to awful in 2019.

The format for the 2019 World Cup is two groups of five, playing a round robin. The top two teams in each will go forward to the semi-finals. That’s what we think, they haven’t confirmed it yet.

But the problem is this: just 10 teams.

To qualify, teams have to make their way through a complicated hodgepodge of division, relegation, subtournaments, and a lot of other stuff.

Unfortunately, we can’t do much better than that.

We can, however, come up with our own World Cup format.

50 words or less

The fifteen teams that qualify will be placed in three groups of five. The top two, plus the two best third placed teams (based on number of points and net run rate), go to the quarter-finals. From then on, it’s a knockout series.

Qualification

Currently, the top one-day teams are split into two sections: the ICC ODI Championship (the 10 Test nations, Ireland, and Afghanistan) for the top teams, and the ICC World Cricket League (World Cup teams Scotland and the UAE, ODI sides Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, as well as Nepal, the Netherlands, Kenya, and Namibia) for the second division.

What I’m suggesting is that we merge these.

Well, we knock off the bottom two teams in the WCL (which, purely for ease, will be Namibia and Nepal, as the sides that have never made a World Cup). We’ll then end up with an 18-team system. This will operate on a ranking system similar to the current one, but, over the cycle, every team will have to play each other once.

We’ll assume that the end results look like this (just the overall current rankings):

Ranking Team Result
1 Australia Qualify for the World Cup
2 India
3 New Zealand
4 South Africa
5 Sri Lanka
6 England*
7 Bangladesh
8 Pakistan
9 West Indies
10 Ireland Enter qualifying tournament
11 Zimbabwe
12 Afghanistan
13 Netherlands
14 Scotland
15 Hong Kong
16 Kenya
17 UAE
18 PNG

The top 9 teams are parceled into our pre-made format, so the World Cup will be like this:

GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C
Australia India New Zealand
Sri Lanka England South Africa
West Indies Bangladesh Pakistan
1st in a qualifying group
2nd in a qualifying group

Qualifying tournament

The qualifying tournament will look like this:

GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C
Ireland Zimbabwe Afghanistan
Scotland Hong Kong Netherlands
PNG Kenya UAE

In it, each group will be a double round-robin. The top two in each group will go through to the World Cup.

Using an online coin-tossing simulator, I came up with this leaderboard (teams in capital letters qualify):

GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C
IRELAND 6 KENYA 6 AFGHANISTAN 6
PNG 4 HONG KONG 4 UAE 4
Scotland 2 Zimbabwe 2 Netherlands 2

And this leads to the end result of:

GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C
Australia India New Zealand
Sri Lanka England South Africa
West Indies Bangladesh Pakistan
Ireland Kenya Afghanistan
PNG Hong Kong UAE

The tournament in itself

Using the same coin flipping feature, I went through the teams in the World Cup. The results were:

GROUP A GROUP B GROUP C
Ireland 6 Hong Kong 8 Afghanistan 6
Australia 4 England 6 New Zealand 4
Sri Lanka 4 India 4 South Africa 4
PNG 4 Kenya 2 Pakistan 4
West Indies 2 Bangladesh 0 UAE 2

Interesting how an associate team topped each group. Since all three third-placed teams have 4 points, we need to pick a team to say goodbye to – South Africa.

The knockout stage would be just like the one we had in 2015. Using the same simulation feature, this is what I got:

QUARTER-FINALS SEMI-FINALS FINAL
Sri Lanka d Hong Kong
India d Afghanistan India d Sri Lanka IRELAND
Ireland d England Ireland d Australia d India
Australia d New Zealand

Congratulations to Ireland, winners of the virtual Cricket World Cup! Of course, this did nothing to factor in the relative skills of countries, but it was interesting.

Let me know what you think of the format. I might do an updated version later.

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2 comments

  1. Format seems pretty interesting. But I am sure the ICC will move to the of 10+ nations sooner rather than later. Though they have realized it is a loss when it comes to ticket purchases and other stadium sales, I believe sometimes the minnows can throw a punch just to shake the opposition a bit.
    If ICC need to stop this problem, they first need to get the minnows in a triangular or quadrangular series with the big guns just to shake things up a bit. Then focus on the results and try to move on from there.

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    • In regards to the ticket sales problem, that could be fixed by playing games in smaller stadiums, i.e. Afghanistan v Scotland in Cardiff would be a better idea than the same fixture at Lord’s. I agree with the triangular tournament idea, making Scotland, Ireland, and England play a round-robin would be pretty awesome.

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