England disrespect their title
The batters to avoid
Are Aussies about to flop?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
It's a toss-up as to what is more irritating; England's preening arrogance or, for the second-successive tournament, their exposure of the supposed pinnacle of the sport as a tournament which lacks jeopardy.
Let's deal with the first one. It turns out that being half-arsed in 50-over cricket for four years wasn't a great idea. Likewise destroying your domestic competition. Given that the World Cup was such a coveted prize to England, it is bizarre the lack of respect they have shown to their title.
It is almost certainly hubris. How else can you explain that Bangladesh tour - rememeber that? - when they couldn't be bothered to take enough batters? Decisions like that are coming home to roost. Likewise Ben Stokes retiring, then not retiring and being unfit. Or Mark Wood playing twice in four years.
It's the epitome of failing to prepare. And there's no justification for it.
Their strategy in this competition was based on Bazball, which is in danger of becoming a cult. They'd been smashing teams in Test cricket so why couldn't they just roll up and do the same?
This was reiterated after defeat by New Zealand and Afghanistan when, according to them and their cheerleaders, they just needed to "go harder". Nonsense. Those losses came because they were hopeless with the ball, leaking runs like a stuffed gutter.
The hard yards, the preparation, the real graft in 50-over cricket is done in the field. Working out plans, learning (or reminding) how to bowl dry, how to get out players or be expert at the death. England couldn't be bothered to do that. It was beneath them. "We'll just score more than you." That's why Jos Buttler bowled first in Mumbai against South Africa.
And yet, they're still alive in the tournament. Sure they need to win an unlikely five in a row to make the semi-finals but humiliations against New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa should guarantee the end of a team.
They're now no better than 5.49/2 to finish bottom, which would be justice.
A rogues gallery
Last week we posted the five most reliable top-bat bets yet to win in the tournament. Four subsequently copped.
A different tack this time. Who are the batters to avoid? Swerving a loser, after all, is just as good as finding a winner. There are some surprisingly big-name players among the list below. And they provide another indicator to England's disastrous performance.
What the key thing to bear in mind, though, is the prices some of these players would go off at. Bairstow at 11/43.75 for example? They're all dreadful, stomach-churning value.
Worst top-bat win-rates from top 5 batters*
*Minimum 10 games
Are Aussies to be trusted?
Is anyone else underwhelmed by Australia, who have been the yo-yo team of the tournament on the outright?
They had arrested the slide after defeat in their first two by beating Sri Lanka and then Pakistan. They've collapsed to 1.351/3 to lay for the semi-finals as a result.
But they were not as dominant as the margin of victories suggested. Against Pakistan they should have busted 400 but their years-long failure to launch into the stratosphere from a solid platform continues. Their bowlers came under significant pressure.
As they did against Sri Lanka, who were bossing them with the bat with the Aussies panic-stricken. Winning four from Netherlands, New Zealand, England, Afghanistan and Bangladesh may not be a given.