A General Air of Predictability

From a distance the World Cup so far has seemed like a succession of fairly predictable non-contests, although, as far as the 'debate' about Associate Members' participation in future tournaments is concerned, I'm happy to come down on the side of what their players think. And the majority seem to prefer the experience of being there and getting beaten to not being there and hence not having the opportunity to win. The ICC, in their wisdom (of course, I use the word satirically), have clearly forgetten all about the past successes of Kenya and Ireland. For all that it may seem like the future, increased Associate participation in future World Twenty20s is a poor substitute, always assuming ODIs in their current format remain a central part of the game.

An exception to the general air of predictability was England's relatively shaky win over the Netherlands. While all the Dutch players deserve huge credit, it applies especially to Ryan ten Doeschate, because to be your side's best player and the focus of everyone's expectations and then deliver the goods in such coruscating fashion takes real strength of temperament. Jonathan Agnew, with a lack of awareness of the county game that is typical if understandable, described ten Doeschate as a 'journeyman'. As more than a few Essex fans will tell you, he's a good bit more than that.

As for England, well, they were shambolic at times, but, at the tail-end of a winter itinerary like they've had, where's the surprise in that? Most of them are probably either knackered or sick of cricket or both. Add some ring-rustiness, poor form, experimentation and subsconscious complacency, and you have a recipe for problems.

They'll need to be a bit better on Sunday.

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