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    February 23, 2007

    The top World Cup teams of all-time

    When I read S Dinakar's write-up on the World Cup ("The two giants of the one-day game"), I got the feeling that it should be possible to assign weightages to achievements in World Cups and come up with an index of the top World Cup teams (from 1975 to 2003).

    Since this is my analysis, I opted to give a weightage of 1 for winning the tournament, 0.5 for being a runner-up and 0.25 for being a losing semi-finalist. I then get a total score for each team across the tournaments and then average it out over the number of tournaments they played in. I also don't factor in quarter-final/Super Six placings.

    This is how the rankings are:
    TeamTotalAverage
    Australia4.000.50
    West Indies2.750.34
    Pakistan2.250.28
    England2.000.25
    India2.000.25
    Sri Lanka1.500.19
    New Zealand1.000.13
    South Africa0.500.13
    Kenya0.250.08
    Bangladesh0.000.00
    Zimbabwe0.000.00
    So the runaway winner is Australia with West Indies second, by a distance. Numbers 3 to 5 are interesting. England's there because it did quite well in the first 5 tournaments (1975 to 1992), reaching the final thrice and the semi-final twice. India only woke up after 1983 while Pakistan has been quite consistent throughout (one win, 1 runner-up and three semi-final appearances).

    I'd rank India ahead of England (although the above table reflects England at #4, in alphabetical order) because of the tournament win, which England hasn't had. A similar toss-up between South Africa and Sri Lanka (both averaging 0.13) would rank Sri Lanka ahead, because of the tournament win. But Sri Lanka have done nothing aside from the 1996 win. At least South Africa've reached a couple of semi-finals. As for the wooden spoon, Bangladesh would have to be rated higher than Zimbabwe purely on the basis of collecting 0 points from lesser number of tournaments.

    Update: I just realized that Sri Lanka were a losing semi-finalist in 2003 when I'd assumed New Zealand was the semi-finalist beaten by Australia. So I've changed the rankings now. Sri Lanka move ahead of New Zealand and South Africa into 6th spot. This also means the comments I made trashing Sri Lanka's World Cup record may need to be revisited!

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:56 PM |
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    5 sledge(s):

    By win percentage, South Africa are third. That's some severe underachivement (or choking).

    By Blogger Geoff (21-Feb-2007, 9:31:00 PM)  

    Interesting to see SL so far down. I think once again, SL are real powerhouses to get to the semi's atleast.

    Ind should def. be above Eng for sure

    By Blogger omar (22-Feb-2007, 4:43:00 AM)  

    Well, I like your approach. I think SA is a good side, but they have really sucked at World Cups. So it is probably fair.

    The win percentage has SA third, which is really an interesting stat. Especially combined with yours, which puts SA 7th...

    By Blogger Reenen (22-Feb-2007, 2:40:00 PM)  

    geoff & reenen - South Africa's high winning %age but inability to turn up for knockout games (2 out of 4 isn't bad, actually, but they haven't got to a final) tells me that they win more meaningless/league games than others - blowing away a few minnows etc. before faltering when it counts - 1996 v WI, 2003 v SL

    omar - Honestly, SL have been crap at World Cups - except in 1979 (beating India) and 1996 (obviously). That out of the 7 other occasions, they've not even got to a semi does tell me they've either underachieved, or just not turned up.

    By Blogger Jagadish (22-Feb-2007, 10:55:00 PM)  

    Here's a quiz question - Don't click on the link that Geoff gave (winning %age in World Cups). Which was the _other_ tied game that South Africa played in at a World Cup?

    By Blogger Jagadish (22-Feb-2007, 10:55:00 PM)  


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