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Whatsapp message on 'fixed' World Cup matches goes viral, but are the predictions really possible?

Whatsapp message on World Cup predictons goes viral on Whatspp, but here is why it is flawed

The World Cup Trophy is seen during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Adelaide Oval on February 15, 2015 in Adelaide, Australia.
 

There is a viral message that is doing the rounds on Whatsapp regarding the ongoing Cricket World Cup, and our readers wanted us to verify if the predictions mentioned in it are practically possible. We heeded their request and decided to look into it.

The message is a list of predictions of all the World Cup matches till the final; if you go by the ‘fixed’ results, Australia, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka are the four teams that will make the semi-finals and South Africa will be crowned as the World Champions on March 29. 

What raised a lot of eyebrows is the fact that the message has predicted a couple of major upsets: India losing to Zimbabwe and Pakistan losing to United Arab Emirates. While India and Pakistan have been well below par of late, it is highly unlikely that they will lose to those oppositions. 

But when we looked deeper into it, we found that the knockout stage predictions are totally flawed. Here are all the predictions mentioned in the message:

Match-by-match predictions of the World Cup as per the viral Whatsapp text

Date  Match  Winner
February 14 New Zealand v Sri Lanka New Zealand 
February 14 Australia v England  Australia
February 15 South Africa v Zimbabwe South Africa 
February 15 India v Pakistan  India 
February 16 Ireland v West Indies  Ireland
February 17 New Zealand v Scotland  New Zealand
February 18 Afghanistan v Bangladesh  Bangladesh 
February 19 United Arab Emirates v Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
February 20 New Zealand v England New Zealand 
February 21 Pakistan v West Indies  Pakistan 
February 21 Australia v Bangladesh Australia
February 22 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
February 22 India v South Africa South Africa
February 23 England v Scotland England 
February 24 West Indies v Zimbabwe West Indies
February 25 Ireland v United Arab Emirates  Ireland
February 26 Afghanistan v Scotland Afghanistan
February 26 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
February 27 South Africa v West Indies  South Africa
February 28 New Zealand v Australia  New Zealand
February 28 India v United Arab Emirates India
March 1 England v Sri Lanka  England 
March 1 Pakistan v Zimbabwe Pakistan 
March 3 Ireland v South Africa South Africa
March 4 Pakistan v United Arab Emirates UAE
March 4 Australia v Afghanistan Australia
March 5 Bangladesh v Scotland  Bangladesh 
March 6 India v West Indies India
March 7 Pakistan v South Africa  South Africa
March 7 Ireland v Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
March 8 New Zealand v Afghanistan  New Zealand
March 8 Australia v Sri Lanka Australia
March 9 England v Bangladesh  England
March 10 India v Ireland  India
March 11 Scotland v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
March 12 South Africa v United Arab Emirates South Africa
March 13 New Zealand v Bangladesh  New Zealand
March 13 Afghanistan v England  England
March 14 India v Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
March 14 Australia v Scotland  Australia
March 15 United Arab Emirates v West Indies West Indies
March 15 Ireland v Pakistan  Pakistan 
QF1 New Zealand v India India
QF2 Australia v Zimbabwe Australia
QF3 England v South Africa South Africa
QF4 Sri Lanka v Pakistan Sri Lanka
SF1 Australia v India Australia
SF2 Sri Lanka v South Africa South Africa
Final Australia v South Africa South Africa

According to the predicted results, at the end of the group stages, this is how both the pools will stand: 

Teams Matches Wins  Losses
New Zealand (A1) 6 6 0
Australia (A2) 6 5 1
England (A3) 6 4 2
Sri Lanka (A4) 6 3 3
Bangladesh 6 2 4
Afghanistan 6 1 5
Scotland 6 0 6
Teams Matches Wins Losses
South Africa (B1) 6 6 0
India (B2) 6 4 2
Zimbabwe (B3) 6 3 3
Pakistan (B4) 6 3 3
West Indies 6 2 4
Ireland  6 2 4
United Arab Emirates 6 1 5

Now as per the World Cup format, the following is how the fixtures will be decided: 

Quarter-final 1 A1 v B4
Quarter-final 2 A2 v B3
Quarter-final 3 A3 v B2
Quarter-final 4 A4 v B1

If you go by the rules, none of the teams except Australia will face the opponents as given in the Whatsapp message. As per the actual standing, New Zealand will face Pakistan and not India; South Africa will face Sri Lanka and not Pakistan; India will face England and not New Zealand.

So there you have it: the viral Whatsapp message that has ‘predicted’ all the ‘fixed’ results of this World Cup is actually not practically possible!

But as we neared the end of this exercise, we wondered what it would look like if we changed a few unlikely results given in the previous list and then tried to arrive at the possible World Cup winner. This is what we ended up with:

Sportskeeda’s match-by-match predictions

Date  Match  Winner
February 14 New Zealand v Sri Lanka New Zealand 
February 14 Australia v England  Australia
February 15 South Africa v Zimbabwe South Africa 
February 15 India v Pakistan  India 
February 16 Ireland v West Indies  Ireland
February 17 New Zealand v Scotland  New Zealand
February 18 Afghanistan v Bangladesh  Bangladesh 
February 19 United Arab Emirates v Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
February 20 New Zealand v England New Zealand 
February 21 Pakistan v West Indies  Pakistan 
February 21 Australia v Bangladesh Australia
February 22 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
February 22 India v South Africa South Africa
February 23 England v Scotland England 
February 24 West Indies v Zimbabwe West Indies
February 25 Ireland v United Arab Emirates  Ireland
February 26 Afghanistan v Scotland Scotland
February 26 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
February 27 South Africa v West Indies  South Africa
February 28 New Zealand v Australia  Australia
February 28 India v United Arab Emirates India
March 1 England v Sri Lanka  England 
March 1 Pakistan v Zimbabwe Pakistan 
March 3 Ireland v South Africa South Africa
March 4 Pakistan v United Arab Emirates Pakistan
March 4 Australia v Afghanistan Australia
March 5 Bangladesh v Scotland  Bangladesh 
March 6 India v West Indies India
March 7 Pakistan v South Africa  South Africa
March 7 Ireland v Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
March 8 New Zealand v Afghanistan  New Zealand
March 8 Australia v Sri Lanka Australia
March 9 England v Bangladesh  England
March 10 India v Ireland  India
March 11 Scotland v Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
March 12 South Africa v United Arab Emirates South Africa
March 13 New Zealand v Bangladesh  New Zealand
March 13 Afghanistan v England  England
March 14 India v Zimbabwe India
March 14 Australia v Scotland  Australia
March 15 United Arab Emirates v West Indies West Indies
March 15 Ireland v Pakistan  Pakistan 
QF1 Australia v West Indies Australia
QF2 New Zealand v Pakistan New Zealand 
QF3 England v India England
QF4 Sri Lanka v South Africa South Africa
SF1 Australia v England Australia
SF2 New Zealand v South Africa South Africa
Finals Australia v South Africa AUSTRALIA

After the modifications (marked in bold), the tables look as shown below. Since the winner of QF1 will face the winner of QF3, Australia will face England and New Zealand will face South Africa in the two semifinals respectively. 

Teams  Matches Wins Losses
Australia (A1) 6 6 0
New Zealand (A2) 6 5 1
England (A3) 6 4 2
Sri Lanka (A4) 6 3 3
Bangladesh  6 2 4
Scotland 6 1 5
Afghanistan 6 0 6
Teams Matches Wins Losses
South Africa (B1) 6 0
India (B2) 6 5 1
Pakistan (B3) 6 4 2
West Indies (B4 - better RR) 6 2 4
Zimbabwe 6 2 4
Ireland  6 2 4
United Arab Emirates 6 0 6
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