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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's down to NRR

The cricket world cup has truly come alive. And certainly earlier than expected. Hardly anybody had expected the leagues to throw any surprises and we all were conditioned to believe that the ‘real’ world cup starts only on March 27th.

But last week has turned the things on its head. If India losing to Bangladesh was a shock, Pakistan’s loss to Ireland was a disaster.

India now finds itself in a familiar territory. The territory that’s ruled by NRR - Net Run Rate. On so many occasions, especially in triangular formats, has India found itself with its back to the wall and remarkably escaped as well. This is one of those occasions, when Indians are badly praying for a stellar performance to find the team’s way to Super 8.

These are the times when mathematicians in cricketers come alive. The game is now in the realm of permutations & combinations – about margin of victory, about result of matches when India has no active role to play. But one thing’s for sure – that mammoth score of 413 is certainly going to come handy. Why? Read on…

The NRR is calculated based on cumulative of runs scored and runs conceded. Thus larger the absolute margin of victory, it carries more weight when accumulation is done. Hence, assuming the group will not throw any more surprises – read, SL beating BD and BD beating Bermuda – Indian are praying for a repeat of Taunton – a la ’99 – when Dravid & Ganguly went on a rampage. It’s just that with the above results, BD, SL & India would be tied at 4 points and a larger margin for India against SL could actually mean SL being edged out of the t0urnament. And believe me, that’s not a good news for India because entering into Super 8, BD would carry forward 2 points with India carrying forward nil.

Hence, it’s necessary that in today’s match SL scores ~275 runs and beats BD by a good margin, say upwards of 50 runs. India beats SL by ~25 runs or 2 overs. Icing on the cake would be Bermuda batting first in their match against BD and getting some 150 odd runs. That’s all we are expecting for India’s safe passage into the Super 8 with SL being the other team :-)

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