WC 2003 - Bacher defends Super 6s, says its fairer than knockout

Published: Friday, February 14, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: World Cup supremo Ali Bacher has defended the format of the Super Sixes, the tournament's second phase, saying it is fairer than a straight knockout.During the 1996 World Cup in Asia, South Africa won all its group matches only to lose its quarter-final against the West Indies - the first and, so far, only occasion in which a last eight stage has been included in the tournament.And Bacher said that experience had prompted South Africa to press for a change in the rules."In 1996 our South African team won all its initial matches, it was the outstanding team, but, come the quarter-final, one bad game, out. We said, and I was a party to that proposal, there must be something in the pool stages that if you do well, you can carry it forward.""It was all to make sure that every pool game had meaning. That was the basis of how it started." Reigning champions Australia go into the Super Sixes carrying forward 12 points after it was unbeaten in Group A. Teams received four points for a win over fellow qualifiers and a point for a win over non-qualifiers.But such has been Australia's dominance so far that, theoretically, it could qualify for the semi-finals without winning any of its three Super Six matches. In the Super Six, instead of playing all five of their fellow qualifiers, teams merely take on those sides which have made it through from outside their own group.And the situation has been complicated further by the fact that Kenya has received four points for a 'win' over fellow qualifiers following the Kiwis boycott of their match in Nairobi on security grounds.Kenya, ahead of Friday's first Super Six matches, is second in the table on 10 points.Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, has criticised the award of points by forfeit saying it has devalued the efforts of on-the-field wins."Should teams be allocated points as freely as this in such a prestigious and financially rewarding tournament?," asked Holding a member of the World Cup's technical committee. "The simple answer is no." Holding added that cricket chiefs should consider following the example of FIFA where teams who forfeit matches for reasons unacceptable to soccer's world governing body are thrown out and all results against them are declared null and void.But International Cricket Council (ICC) general manager David Richardson said such a hard line stance would not work in cricket. "From a purely cricketing perspective it would be nice if teams played all their matches," Richardson admitted."Obviously it (boycotts) is not the ideal situation. We have a small membership in world cricket so it is not as easy to do what could be done in soccer," the former South Africa wicket-keeper added."In an ideal world you'd be able to do that but cricket has got more far reaching and more complicated problems," Richardson said.Copyright AFP 2001

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