The great thing about actual, proper tournaments is the way that narratives develop. Every remaining team already has a good story in place if they eventually go on to become World Champions.
Pakistan – Would defy what was a catastrophic build-up to the tournament even by their standards. Being as Pakistan cricket has a higher staff turnover than the active squad in Cannon Fodder, that’s quite some preparation.
India – Would see Sachin Tendulkar claim the trophy in his home city.
Australia – Like an old codger urinating in a rich man’s swimming pool, they would have found a way to rage against the dying of the light.
England – Would have shrugged off a triviality like seeming to be really, really bad at cricket to register a first World Cup win which would also complete their best year ever.
Sri Lanka – Could wave goodbye to Muralitharan having repaid about 0.01 per cent of the debt they owe the man.
South Africa – Would have demonstrated a newfound ability to ensure the flow of air from the environment into the lungs.
New Zealand – Would have won the World Cup. They haven’t done that before.