Giga Bites 3 – Director’s Cut

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 19th February, 2011.

by Andrew Gigacz


With cricket’s one-day World Cup kicking off tonight, advice might be in order for the captain who ends up winning the toss in the final on April 2. In seven of the nine previous World Cup finals, the winning team has been the one which has batted first. The two exceptions to the rule were Sri Lanka in 1996, who chased down Australia’s total of 7/241 and Australia in 1999, when the Australians lost just two wickets in overhauling Pakistan’s meagre total of 132.


The first three World Cup finals were lost by sides (1975 – Australia, 1979 – England, 1983 – West Indies) that won the toss and chose to field first. In 1987 and 1992 the cups were won by Australia and Pakistan respectively, who both won the toss and chose to bat first. In 1996 Sri Lanka became the only team to win a World Cup final after winning the toss and sending the opposition in to bat. In the last three finals, all won by Australia, the tosses have been won by Pakistan (who batted first), India (fielded first) and Australia (batted first).


Tournament-winning sporting sides are often claimed to have achieved success through the agency of a player who has certain undefinable qualities. These players are usually referred to as having the “X” factor. But if past World Cup finals are anything to go by, that is NOT the case when it comes to cricket.

In the nine ICC World Cups staged to date, none of the winning sides has contained a player whose surname has included the letter X. Every other letter of the alphabet has tasted success, including Q (Inzamam-ul-Haq of Pakistan) and Z (India’s Kirti Azad).


Back in the days when St Kilda Football Club’s home ground was at Moorabbin, there was a prevailing theory that those in charge of the playing surface at Linton St would give it an extra watering before every Saints home game. The implication was that visiting clubs’ skill level would be brought down to that of St Kilda’s, particularly during the Saints’ dark days of the ‘80s.

But a look at recent Melbourne weather records suggests that these accusations might have been baseless. A comparison of rainfall totals in Melbourne’s CBD and Moorabbin Airport (on the official Bureau of Meteorology website) suggests that when it rains in the city, a significantly higher amount almost always falls in Moorabbin. Recent examples include the 24 hours to 9am last Thursday, when 28.4 mm fell in Moorabbin while just 4.6 mm was recorded in the CBD over the same period and February 5, when 82.4 mm was dumped in the city, while Moorabbin recorded an incredible 140.8 mm.

Past curators at Moorabbin can now feel suitably exonerated!


There are those who believe that the clock is ticking on the career of Carlton coach Brett Ratten. Perhaps the Blues players themselves had that in thought in mind last Saturday night. In their first half against Collingwood, the Blues managed a mere 1.4 (10). And 1410 just happens to be the year the famous Prague Astronomical Clock was built.


Congratulations are in order for Geelong’s dual-premiership player David Wojcinksi. He almost certainly won’t be aware of it but David turns 11,111 days old today. His team-mates will be tomorrow hoping to hand him the gift of a place in the NAB Cup quarter-finals.


Gary Ablett’s Gold Coast Suns make their AFL debut in tonight’s pre-season round-robin fixture alongside Sydney and the GWS Giants. The Suns’ chances of success in this competition appear minimal, with some betting agencies offering as much as $75.00 on them to take out the pre-season title. But is it worth having a few spare dollars on the upstarts from Surfer’s Paradise? Here’s a possible clue: THE NAB CUP is an anagram of BEACH PUNT.

For more of Andrew Gigacz’s weird facts and figures from the world of sport and beyond, visit

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

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