The score for the World Cup warm-up matches between Test countries and Associates may be 0-8, but there were nevertheless some positive elements amongst the disappointments.

The obvious heroes of the week were the Irish, who produced a terrific performance in the field against South Africa - currently the best ODI in the world, according to the ICC's rankings - before falling short with the bat, and who then disposed of Canada efficiently enough in their second game.

But how much better were their efforts than those of their fellow-Associates, and do these results give us any new information about the possible outcome of such clashes in the World Cup proper?

The following table attempts an assessment of the Associates' performances with bat and ball in their games last week. It is, of course, somewhat subjective, but it takes some account of the current standings of the opposition, and I believe that it is, in general terms, a fair assessment of what the six sides achieved.

In each case, the score represents marks out of ten, so that the maximum score over two games is 40. Ireland, in other words, achieve a score of just over 75% in total, while Bermuda come out at just under 40%.

Associate Opponents Ranking Batting Bowling Total
Ireland South Africa 1 6 9 15
Canada [15] 8 8 16
Kenya West Indies 8 6 6 12
Netherlands [14] 7 7 14
Netherlands India 5 3 5 8
Kenya 11 6 6 12
Scotland Sri Lanka 6 4 6 10
Bangladesh 9 4 5 9
Canada Pakistan 4 5 6 11
Ireland [13] 3 3 6
Bermuda England 7 1 5 6
Zimbabwe 10 3 5 8

At first glance, especially for anyone who watched the recent World Cricket League tournament in Nairobi, it's surprising that the bowlers seem to have come through of the preliminaries rather better than the batsmen. But it's a fair reflection of the fact that in the six games where the Associate bowled first, the highest total was only 300.

Further experience of these wickets may well show that totals between 250 and 300 are worth a bit more than you might think, but even so, given the upward trend in ODI scoring, the bowlers can be reasonably satisfied with their efforts.

The batsmen, on the other hand, generally struggled against Test-quality bowling, and Kenya's 247 for seven against the West Indies was the only occasion on which an Associates side got past 200. There were only two half-centuries against Test sides (Collins Obuya's 54 not out against the West Indies and Janeiro Tucker's 56 for Bermuda against Zimbabwe) and - more disturbingly, perhaps - only three fifty partnerships.

It was, on the whole, a pretty miserable week for the hosts, despite their four-wicket victory over the Kenyans, and their dismissal for 85 by India on Friday helps put The Netherlands' total of 118 against the same opponents in a slightly less negative light.

The Dutch put up more of a fight against Kenya, and a comparison of their results with Scotland's confirms the suspicion that the Group A encounter between the two Associates on 22 March could be - for anyone with the wit to take it seriously - one of the most closely-fought of the tournament.

But Ireland's games against Zimbabwe on 15 March and West Indies on 23 March will also be full of interest, as will Kenya's clashes with New Zealand (20 March) and England (24 March).

It's in the nature of surprises, of course, that you don't know where they're coming from, but the events of the past week support Andrew Nixon's suggestion that these are the most likely scenes for the upset that all passionately dispassionate lovers of the game will be hoping for.

For that to happen, however, there will have to be a quantum leap in the batting.