Well thank heavens for that. The Sado-Masochists in the ICC World Cup Planning Committee devised a format to guarantee the top eight teams would contest the quarter-finals and, despite a few scary moments almost entirely generated by England's exhausted, frequently inept and fractious squad, they have been rewarded.
Whether it was strictly necessary to spend 29 days confirming what we already knew would happen is another matter. And indeed next time the ICC are dispensing with the tiresome lesser nations altogether, but in spite of the ridiculously attenuated format and regular diet of one sided matches, this World Cup has been by far the most enjoyable since 1996.
Paradoxically the fascination has been caused by a succession of unpredictable games between the top sides. Of the eight quarter-finalists only England remain undefeated in matches between the survivors. Australia's irksome unbeaten record has now been consigned to history leading Ian Chappell to fume about ShahidRead More »from Dumping Trumper for Sehwag and 9 other moments