What should be the format of the World Cup?

What should be the format of the World Cup?


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Thread starter #1
For the first four editions of the Cricket World Cup, there was a fairly simple formula in place: eight teams split into two groups, top two from each play in the knockouts. At least one of the teams playing would have qualified via winning the ICC Trophy for associate members.

Come 1992, the eight-team format hit a bump in the form of South Africa. Their readmittance meant that there were now eight Test playing nations, but the ICC wanted the winner of the ICC Trophy to be in the World Cup. This meant a new format would be created, a round robin format where every team played the other, and the the top four would go through to the knockouts. But this would be the only World Cup this format would be viable for, because Zimbabwe were the most recent winners of the ICC Trophy, and would become a Test playing nation later in the year.

So, to make sure the ICC Trophy still had relevance, the World Cup was expanded to twelve teams, divided again into two groups, thereby including three associates. But the group stages were made almost totally irrelevant by the knockout stages, which the top four teams in each group would qualify for - and those eight nations were pretty obviously not going to include the associates or the new kids, Zimbabwe. This meant that Kenya's shock win over the West Indies had absolutely no meaning for either team, as Kenya didn't make it past the group stages, and the West Indies defeated South Africa, who had finished top of their group, to make it to the semi-finals.

Realising that that was a bit silly, the 1999 World Cup featured the same amount of teams and the same qualification method, but instead of eight-team quarter finals, the top three in each groups would instead a second round robin, playing the teams they hadn't played already. Then the bottom two would be eliminated, and the knockout stage would take place. It's hard to tell if it was the format or the teams, but there were a lot of close matches, and surprising results - including the hosts being knocked out in the group stage, and though the extra matches meant it took a little longer than previous events, this wasn't noticeably so.

However, politics reared its head as a result of the tournament. Bangladesh were given full membership because of their win over Pakistan (which was really so that the subcontinent, an important voter bloc at the time, would have four votes) despite being thrashed in their other matches, and Kenya were given 'permanent' ODI status despite not winning a match (it wasn't permanent). Because this meant that only one ICC Trophy team would have room at a twelve team tournament, the 2003 World Cup was expanded to fourteen teams, but otherwise kept the same. But the ICC hadn't counted on England and New Zealand abandoning their matches against Zimbabwe and Kenya respectively for political reasons. This resulted in Zimbabwe taking England's spot in the Super Sixes, and Kenya making the semi-finals instead of New Zealand. The extra games also meant this was the first tournament that noticeably dragged on.

Nevertheless, Kenya reaching the semi-final confirmed to the ICC that they needed to continue bringing smaller nations into the World Cup, and so in 2007 there were six associate nations, five through the ICC Trophy and one that was continuing to use its 'permanent' ODI status. Sixteen teams into two groups is a bit unwieldy, so instead they were divided into four groups of four, much like the early years - but with the additions of the Super Eights, because of the success of the Sixes. The expectation was, of course, that the top eight nations would make it through to the group stage ala 1996, but instead Bangladesh knocked out India and Ireland knocked out Pakistan, robbing the ICC of precious revenue that would've come from the six extra matches each team would play in the Eights. The Eights became a long, drawn-out damp squib, taking nearly a month on its own.

After that disaster, the format was changed for 2011, all the way back to the one used in 1996 - which, if you recall, was a bit silly - but with two extra teams. This meant two less associates than at the 2007 World Cup, and also guaranteed at least three more games for India and Pakistan, while also significantly lowering the chances that they would be eliminated in the group stages. It worked all the same - the top eight nations went through to the knockout stages, just like they did in 1996, despite England losing to both Bangladesh and Ireland. Once again, South Africa finished top of their group and then lost to the fourth-placed team in the other group, but India won at home and got to play Pakistan in the semi-final, so everyone was happy, except for those wishing it wasn't so long. Therefore the same format was used in 2015, and the hosts also won. Ireland missed out on the quarter-finals only by NRR, and for the third World Cup in a row had beaten a Test playing nation. Bangladesh beat England again and did make the quarter-finals, but lost. It was once again criticised for taking too long.

But despite neither 2011 or 2015 being particularly memorable, they also weren't absolute disasters, so surely the ICC would attempt to keep something like them in place? Think again! The 2019 World Cup will be a return to the format of 1992, which you'll recall was abandoned because there were too many full members and they wanted associates to be participating. There are even more full members now - twelve compared to nine - so surely there'll be something to compensate for that? Nope! At best, there will be two full members missing out on the tournament, and not one associate nation will be competing, for the first time in the history of the World Cup. It will be a ten-team round robin with semi-finals. The justification for this has been that there are more teams at the World T20, but no-one cares about that and it's only a half-truth, as those extra teams get put in 'stage one' of the tournament, which is really just another qualifier.

So, what format do you think the World Cup should have? Options include:

Eight to ten teams, two groups, semi-finals (WC 1975, 1979, 1983, 1987; CT 2006, 2009, 2013, 2017)
Eight to ten teams, one group, semi-finals (1992, 2019)
Twelve to fourteen teams, two groups, semi-finals (1996, 2011, 2015)
Twelve to fourteen teams, two groups, super sixes (1999, 2003)
Twelve to sixteen teams, four groups, semi-finals (CT 2002, 2004)
Fifteen to eighteen teams, three groups, super sixes
Sixteen teams, four groups, super sixes (2007)
Twenty to twenty-four teams, four groups, semi-finals

The latter is my favoured one, can you come up with something better?. In any case, the ICC needs to think long and hard about what the purpose of the World Cup is. As you can see, the Champions Trophy fills the role of the old World Cup - is it necessary to have two tournaments that are exactly the same?
 
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Grizzly86

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#6
I enjoy having the Associates involved, not too fussed with exact numbers, 16 seems a good fit. Just play 2 games a day, quickens the tournament. 2007 had far too many empty days.
 

Cochblocked

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#7
I like 16 i think 20 is too much for ODIs atleast ATM. To qualify i would have the top 8 from the new ODI league to qualify automatically and then have the bottom 5 plus the top 7 from the World Cricket League make up a qualifier making 12. 4 groups of 3 where the top team from each group then qualify to the WC making 12 then the bottom final 8 left from group play in a 2 groups of 4 top 2 of each group make it to World cup rounding out the 16 for example.

Qualify automatically
India
South Africa
Australia
England
NZ
Pakistan
Bangladesh
Sri Lanka

Have to go to the Qualifier
West Indies
Afghanistan
Zimbabwe
Ireland
Neatherlands

Get to the qualifier via World Cricket League top 7 placing
Scotland
Hong Kong
PNG
Kenya
UAE
Nepal
Namibia

Miss out on WC qualifier (the WCL is now 10 teams in this format)
Canada
Oman
Uganda


Qualifier would look like:
Group 1:
West Indies
Kenya
Namibia

Group 2:
Afghanistan
PNG
Nepal

Group 3
Zimbabwe
Hong Kong
UAE

Group 4
Ireland
Scotland
Netherlands

Qualify for World Cup from group round and go to finals of the Qualifier

Final chance stage
Group 1
Netherlands
Hong Kong
Kenya
Nepal

Group 2
Scotland
PNG
UAE
Namibia

Qualify for WC from final chance stage
Netherlands
Hong Kong
Scotland
PNG


World Cup
India
South Africa
Australia
England
NZ
Pakistan
Bangladesh
Sri Lanka
West Indies
Afghanistan
Zimbabwe
Ireland
Netherlands
Hong Kong
Scotland
PNG

World Cup group stage
group 1
India
Sri Lanka
Ireland
PNG

group 2
South Africa
Bangladesh
Zimbabwe
Scotland

group 3
Australia
Pakistan
West Indies
Hong Kong

group 4
England
NZ
Afghanistan
Netherlands

Quarter Final
South Africa vs Sri Lanka

India vs NZ

Australia vs Bangladesh

England vs Pakistan


Semi final
South Africa vs Australia

India v England

Final
South Africa vs India

That's how i would do it. The World Cricket League would be made up from Division 2 of the world cricket league and the top teams of the World Cricket league the season before. There's probably some problems with this but i think it's pretty even. Everyone gets a fair chance and it's exciting. Real chance for upsets and all games have context.
 
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Thread starter #9
16 teams, top 2 go through to quarters, then semis, then a final. Classic, simple.
While I don't disagree, I get that the ICC really can't afford a repeat of 2007 right now. I figure at least with groups of five, India can't claim that they missed the finals because of the format.

I like 16 i think 20 is too much for ODIs atleast ATM.
I don't think it is. Imagine a World Cup as follows:

Code:
Group A               Group B        Group C       Group D
India                 South Africa   England       New Zealand
Pakistan              Bangladesh     Sri Lanka     Australia
Ireland               Afghanistan    West Indies   Zimbabwe
Hong Kong             Netherlands    Scotland      Papua New Guinea
United Arab Emirates  Nepal          Canada        Namibia
This was drawn randomly by seeding the top 20 teams in groups of four. Now, would I expect the lowest ranked team to beat the top team? Not at all. But I could see the second team beating the first. And the third team beating the second and the first. And the fourth team beating the third and the second. And the fifth team beating the fourth and the third. It's no guarantee, but at least one of those groups would throw up something unexpected.

This is the format that the Rugby World Cup uses, and I think the cricket teams could put up a better show than the rugby teams.
 
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Kram

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#11
12 teams in 2 groups.

1st goes straight through to semi. 2 v 3 playoff for other semi spot.
 

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PhatBoy

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#12
Quarter finals seem a bit pointless to me. Ie. beat the teams you’re 90 per cent likely to beat, and you make it.

16 teams, two pools of 8. Round robin in each pool - 28 matches per pool, one per day in each pool - and top 2 go through to semis, or at the very least, 2/3 play off for the right to progress.
 

cricketnut14

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#14
quarter finals are rubbish (especially when there is a "big 8" and daylight between the rest - however that has now changed with the progress of Bangladesh).
so I'm not sure about cut throat games at the final 8.

I'd rather a round robin (if there's 10-12 teams) or a second stage round robin in more teams and then down to a cut throat final 4.

-in hindsight using the quarters we could've completed the 75,79,83,87 world cups in a week.
-92 format was good
-96 and 11 world cups the expected 8 got through to the quarters
-15 only west indies of the big 8 missed the quarters for Bangladesh (and it could be argued that Bang have replaced WI in the big 8 or Bang have now made it a "big 9")
* these tournaments produced expected quarter finalists which took weeks to play.

-07 don't mind that format although ICC didn't expect Bangladesh and Ireland to progress at India and Pakistan's expense. ICC banked on the "big 8" making it.
-99 super six drawn out as Zimbabwe surprised (England, Sri Lanka, West Indies missed out)
-03 super six drawn out as Zimbabwe & Kenya progressed with some win of forfeits (England, South Africa, West Indies , Pakistan missed out)
*note : Kenya didn't play a quarter final as such to make the semi.
Kenya's path to the semi was crazy: win-loss was 5-4 before the semi.
L South Africa
W Canada
W New Zealand - forfeit
W Sri Lanka
W Bangladesh
L West Indies
L India
W Zimbabwe
L Australia
L India (Semi)
 

Cochblocked

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#15
quarter finals are rubbish (especially when there is a "big 8" and daylight between the rest - however that has now changed with the progress of Bangladesh).
so I'm not sure about cut throat games at the final 8.

I'd rather a round robin (if there's 10-12 teams) or a second stage round robin in more teams and then down to a cut throat final 4.

-in hindsight using the quarters we could've completed the 75,79,83,87 world cups in a week.
-92 format was good
-96 and 11 world cups the expected 8 got through to the quarters
-15 only west indies of the big 8 missed the quarters for Bangladesh (and it could be argued that Bang have replaced WI in the big 8 or Bang have now made it a "big 9")
* these tournaments produced expected quarter finalists which took weeks to play.

-07 don't mind that format although ICC didn't expect Bangladesh and Ireland to progress at India and Pakistan's expense. ICC banked on the "big 8" making it.
-99 super six drawn out as Zimbabwe surprised (England, Sri Lanka, West Indies missed out)
-03 super six drawn out as Zimbabwe & Kenya progressed with some win of forfeits (England, South Africa, West Indies , Pakistan missed out)
*note : Kenya didn't play a quarter final as such to make the semi.
Kenya's path to the semi was crazy: win-loss was 5-4 before the semi.
L South Africa
W Canada
W New Zealand - forfeit
W Sri Lanka
W Bangladesh
L West Indies
L India
W Zimbabwe
L Australia
L India (Semi)
I think you mean England missed in 2015 instead of West Indies. They just clipped Ireland on run rate.
 

Gough

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Part of the problem I always think happens in World Cups is players get too many days off between games. They could easily cut a week off the tournament by playing the preliminary round games a bit quicker.
 

Aussie_boy

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#19
16 teams, 4 pools. Means that teams are under more pressure during the pool games rather than the format of the last World Cup where every team had 6 pool matches.
 
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Thread starter #20
Part of the problem I always think happens in World Cups is players get too many days off between games. They could easily cut a week off the tournament by playing the preliminary round games a bit quicker.
Playing one match a day is silly. The chances of both matches being great contests is very small, so there may as well be two going on at the same time.

This, incidentally, is part of the reason why more teams is a good thing. Two of the best matches at CWC 15 were Afghanistan vs Scotland and Ireland vs UAE.
 

TassieEagle

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#21
I like 15 teams. 12 test teams automatically qualify + 3 qualifiers.

Split those into 3 groups. 4 test + 1 qualifier in each group.

Round robin group stage (30 matches over ~18 days)
Super Six stage (12 matches over ~9 days)
2nd v 3rd in Super sixes (Semi Final)
1st v SF Winner

44 matches and all over in a month. Lots of double headers in the early stages, a week between games for teams is too long.
 

cricketnut14

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#22
I like 15 teams. 12 test teams automatically qualify + 3 qualifiers.

Split those into 3 groups. 4 test + 1 qualifier in each group.

Round robin group stage (30 matches over ~18 days)
Super Six stage (12 matches over ~9 days)
2nd v 3rd in Super sixes (Semi Final)
1st v SF Winner

44 matches and all over in a month. Lots of double headers in the early stages, a week between games for teams is too long.
that format has some merit.

4 group games
4 super six games
prelim final
final
maximum of 10 games if you make the final the hard way.

-you don't play a team a second time (at least until the prelim)
-group stage would have to have more than 1 game per day
-qualifiers involved in 12 of the 30 group stage games - could be a snooze fest or on the other hand make the super 6 a snooze fest if they get past the group stage.

give me anything other than quarterfinals.
 
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I like the soccer world cup where the 'World Cup' has two distinct stages with qualifiers and finals.

The big event with the 32 teams is the 'world cup finals.' All the other nations have had their opportunity to qualify and, as we've seen, those qualifiers can be massive events themselves.

I'd love to see the cricket 'world cup finals' as 8 teams with you playing everyone once. Then semi final, grand final.

The qualifiers would be open and include all nations - test nations, affiliates, association members or whatever the rest are called. They take place 6-18 months out and are part of the build up. Maybe four large groups with the top two from each going through. Have to play each team in your group once home and away.

Don't know if those four large groups would be based on rankings or geographical.

The wrinkle cricket has is that financially they cannot afford India to miss out on qualifying.
 
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Thread starter #24
I like the soccer world cup where the 'World Cup' has two distinct stages with qualifiers and finals.

The big event with the 32 teams is the 'world cup finals.' All the other nations have had their opportunity to qualify and, as we've seen, those qualifiers can be massive events themselves.

I'd love to see the cricket 'world cup finals' as 8 teams with you playing everyone once. Then semi final, grand final.

The qualifiers would be open and include all nations - test nations, affiliates, association members or whatever the rest are called. They take place 6-18 months out and are part of the build up. Maybe four large groups with the top two from each going through. Have to play each team in your group once home and away.

Don't know if those four large groups would be based on rankings or geographical.

The wrinkle cricket has is that financially they cannot afford India to miss out on qualifying.
There's a problem with that, namely that the distinct tiers of world cricket are both smaller and stronger than they are in soccer. This makes qualifying mostly pointless. There are 103 member nations of the ICC, but beyond the eight teams already guaranteed a spot in 2019 and the ten teams in the qualifiers, there really aren't many teams that would be likely to make a run at it. Indeed, that's the point of the World Cricket League. Oman made a charge up the divisions, but got to Division Two and came fifth out of six.

The WCL did a good job of this, and would've been great viewing if the ICC had bothered to even stream it. But if they can't even show most of the Qualifier itself, then there's no chance they'll show the event that leads into it.

But in the top sixteen-to-twenty right now, I'd say there is enough closeness to deliver good matches across the board. It's just once you get beyond that that the idea stops working.
 
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There's a problem with that, namely that the distinct tiers of world cricket are both smaller and stronger than they are in soccer. This makes qualifying mostly pointless. There are 103 member nations of the ICC, but beyond the eight teams already guaranteed a spot in 2019 and the ten teams in the qualifiers, there really aren't many teams that would be likely to make a run at it. Indeed, that's the point of the World Cricket League. Oman made a charge up the divisions, but got to Division Two and came fifth out of six.

The WCL did a good job of this, and would've been great viewing if the ICC had bothered to even stream it. But if they can't even show most of the Qualifier itself, then there's no chance they'll show the event that leads into it.

But in the top sixteen-to-twenty right now, I'd say there is enough closeness to deliver good matches across the board. It's just once you get beyond that that the idea stops working.
The reason they don't show the qualifiers is because the good teams don't play in them.

They don't show tennis players qualifying for the last few spots in a major either.

You've said top 20 teams there. That's perfect and all it needs to be.

Four groups of five teams. Play everyone in your group once home and away. Top two from each group qualify.
 
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