Ratings - 4th March 2012
Russell Degnan

I-Cup MatchU.A.E.vScotland
Expected MarginScotland by 59 runs
Actual MarginScotland by 7 wickets

An unexpectedly good win for Scotland. The first day of the match seemed to be repeating a pattern of team's scoring a hundred or less in the first innings before coming back to win. While Goudie and Sharif rolled the U.A.E. for an even ton, the Safires ended at 5/121 in response. Berrington continues to impress though, anchoring the innings with his first first-class ton, to set up a 205 run lead. The second innings from the U.A.E. was much better however, and t 4/280 nearing the end of day 3 a tight finish looked likely. Three quick wickets from Goudie turned the match right on stumps, and Haq and Berrington took the tourists home on the final day.

The result puts Scotland second on the table, although Afghanistan lurks with a game in hand. They have difficult games to follow, that they'll need to win, but they ought to be satisfied that they return from Sharjah with a victory over an in-form side. The U.A.E. move back to third, but with easier games to follow, they remain a threat to play the final at the end of the year.

Forthcoming Series

3 TestsNew ZealandvSouth Africa
Expected MarginSouth Africa by 98 runs

A potentially interesting series. The ratings suggest New Zealand have a 29% probability of victory, suggesting a 2-1 victory for the superior South African side. What happens on and off the field will have a big part to play in that result however. The Autumn start means rain and bad light are significant issues; the strength of the South African bowling and New Zealand conditions ought to ensure results, but at least one game will probably be drawn. South Africa have dominated New Zealand in most recent contests; while the New Zealand batting is improved on its nadir, and their bowling at home is capable of unseating a South African lineup with its own fragilities, they are rightly favoured.

If New Zealand does win it is likely to be a low-scoring affair. The batting of Smith and Boucher hs been poor for some time. If New Zealand can restrict Amla, de Villiers and Kallis then they are capable of winning the series. They are a young squad though, while the South African team is in its peak years. Having reached the pinnacle three years ago, they have struggled to keep improving, and been passed by England, and caught by Australia. They have the opportunity this year to prove themselves as a better than merely good side; with a tour to England. Their next few seasons are highly favourable to taking the official top ranking, but they'll need to win convincingly than they hve been, and in these conditions to be accepted as such.

Rankings at 4th March 2012
2.South Africa1181.00
5.Sri Lanka1036.56
7.West Indies923.80
8.New Zealand885.37

22.Hong Kong148.65
23.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 4th March, 2012 11:25:18   [#]