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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Report

Super 8s : India vs Pakistan, April 15

March 05, 2007 19:20 IST
Last Updated: March 05, 2007 19:33 IST

Now this takes the definition of breaking news to the next dimension: India will play Pakistan in the Super Eights of the ICC World Cup 2007 on Sunday, April 15.

Book your tickets now: this is as official as it gets.

And if you are planning on catching all of India's Super Eights action, and were waiting for the end of the group phase before making your bookings, don't bother: India will play Australia on Saturday March 31; New Zealand on Monday April 2; South Africa on Saturday April 7; England on Wednesday April 11; and the West Indies on Thursday April 19.

How do I know? Because the ICC the global body that conducts the World Cup -- told me so, right here on its official site.

There you go, the entire Super Eight schedule, all nicely laid out for you -- so now, you don't have to bother going through 13 sleepless nights, and 24 pointless games, to figure out when the big boys play each other.

You do realize the irony, here? The ICC conducts this tournament; the ICC picked the teams and drew up the schedule; the ICC brought together 16 teams and, per its schedule, will spend the first 13 days of the Cup, and 24 matches, to decide who the eight teams in the Super Eight round-robin stage should be.

And the selfsame ICC, by publishing this schedule, effectively tells you it is all eyewash; that eight of the teams in the only global competition cricket has are there purely to make up the numbers; that they are so below par that even before the first ball is bowled in the World Cup, it has drawn up its schedule for phase two.

The ICC also runs a dedicated site for the World Cup, and on it there is a more orthodox schedule. As per this one, B2 plays D1 on Sunday April 15 -- only, we already know that B2 will be India and D1 will be Pakistan.

The ICC has in its time acted in bizarre ways -- but even by the high standards it has set in the past, this one is way out there.

Ask yourself this: what was the rush to draw up the Super Eight schedule?

One logical answer suggests itself: This way, the ICC can schedule marquee games for prime time television exposure. For instance, where India is concerned -- and India has the largest TV audience, and the highest revenues, of them all -- the marquee games in phase two would be the matchups against Australia, South Africa and Pakistan, right? Sure enough, two of those games are on Saturday, and the big one, versus Pakistan, is slated for a Sunday.

Happy viewing, folks, and never say the ICC doesn't keep your interests in mind.

If you aren't done laughing already, here is the clincher. You thought the purpose of the preliminary group was to figure out who tops which group, yes? The more fool you -- the group games do no such thing.

Here, according to the ICC, is how it works -- this part is clipped from the famous tell-tale schedule: "Team names for the Super Eight stage are indicative based on the top two teams from the Group Stage qualifying. If these two teams do qualify they will be seeded in position 1 or 2 as specified regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group. For example, if South Africa wins Group A and Australia comes second, for the purposes of the Super Eights, South Africa will still be A2 and Australia will be A1."

Neat. This way, no way will a surprise result upset the television applecart. Now if the ICC could only tell us who will win the final, we could all get on with our lives.

The Cup: The Complete Coverage

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