Ratings - 24th February 2010
Russell Degnan

Recently completed matches

2nd TestIndiavSouth Africa
Expected MarginIndia by 62 runs
Actual MarginIndia by an innings and 57 runs

South Africa seem to have developed a penchant for failing to close out games. This time losing heavily when another 10 minutes of batting would have secured a draw. If they'd succeeded in two of their three recent failures they'd be currently ranked number one, but it is results that matter. While much was made of Amla's dual centuries and mountain of runs, the two key figures in this game were Steyn - whose 1/115 left the other South African bowlers to suffer the Indian onslaught - and Sehwag - whose 165 at almost a run-a-ball was the deciding factor in India being able to close out the game on a good batting deck. South Africa will rue their ineffective middle order and collapses, because a series win was there for the taking. Even their batting in the second innings, while admirable in its stoicism, was let down by a lack of intent to make India bat again, and earn themselves valuable time.

Only TestNew ZealandvBangladesh
Expected MarginNew Zealand by 218 runs
Actual MarginNew Zealand by 121 runs

Bangladesh were thoroughly beaten here, taking only twelve New Zealand wickets, for 121 fewer runs. Yet, this was still an admirable performance. Their lower order continues to show fight, and in Shakib, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamin Iqbal, have the makings of a reasonable batting lineup. Their recent ratings climb reflects this, regaining heights not seen since they entered test cricket (and promptly plummeted under an avalanche of innings defeats). Their greatest liability is their tendency to get out to daft shots, particularly when things are going well, and a general weakness in their bowling, which won't easily be fixed. They should, however, be aiming to draw more games.

I-Cup MatchAfghanistanvCanada
Expected MarginAfghanistan by 74 runs
Actual MarginAfghanistan by 6 wickets

Long may Afghanistan illuminate international cricket with their ability and spirit. Canada, by all rights, should have won this match with ease. Has any team lost from a 302 run first innings lead? What about a declaration 494 runs in front that, at the time, I considered conservative, if not negative. Yet they were beaten easily in the end, with the Afghans chasing throughout the final session at a run-a-ball to win by 6 wickets. Their lack of bowling depth in the absence of key members is a worry, but with the batsmen so capable of regular big scores, they are hard team to beat. With Zimbabwe lurking, but the other contenders well behind, the game against Scotland in August will probably determine if Afghanistan can make the final.

I-Cup MatchKenyavNetherlands
Expected MarginKenya by 110 runs
Actual MarginKenya by 5 wickets

For the first two days it was the Ryan ten Doeschate show, scoring a double ton and taking five wickets. Yet, Kenya prevailed in the first innings and the second, after the Dutch declared generously in the hope of forcing a result. It is a great pity that we aren't able to compare the quality of the batting and bowling in these associate games to the test teams. The size of the scores being made indicates that several teams have capable batsmen capable of consistent scores, but no side is showing any great ability with the ball, and that, ultimately, is where a competition like this will be won or lost.

Forthcoming series

2 TestsBangladeshvEngland
Expected MarginEngland by 206 runs

A slight lull while we wait for this game, as it won't start until the 12th March. As always with games against Bangladesh, the home side will be happy to avoid an innings defeat (and in this context, improve their rating). Bangladesh's gradual improvement points towards a breakthrough victory against creditable opposition, but you'd never predict it, even against an English side missing its captain and opening bowler. Expect at least one day of Bangladeshi brilliance and accompanying articles of gnashing teeth amongst the English press-corp, even if their side ultimately prevails.

Rankings at 24th February 2010
3.South Africa1187.88
5.Sri Lanka1103.96
7.New Zealand937.62
8.West Indies926.27

23.Hong Kong147.15
24.Cayman Is134.24

Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.

Cricket - Ratings - Test 24th February, 2010 13:57:37   [#]