Cricket World Cup Handbook

Who will claim this year's Cricket WOrld Cup?

Like many major sporting competitions, the ICC Cricket World Cup comes around every four years. If you’re a cricket fanatic, those four years would have felt like an eternity! Believe it or not, the tournament is ranked as one of the leading competitions in sport, with media coverage streaming to more than 2.2 billion people in over 200 countries. Those statistics make it the third largest tournament, with only the FIFA World Cup and Summer Olympics pulling a bigger audience. The 2015 edition of the tournament is shaping to be the biggest and most anticipated yet, and it’s taking place right here in Australia. So, who are the leading chances?




 




 

Australia

 

ODI Ranking: 1

2011 Result: QF

Group: A

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: gettyimages.com


As 2014 ended with heartbreak for the Australian cricket team, 2015 couldn’t have started much better. The Baggy Green’s summer included a dominant test series win over India and an equally impressive triumph in the Tri-Series. They enter the tournament as the in-form team and after a quarter-final exit from the 2011 World Cup, the three-time world champions will be looking to make home ground advantage count. Captain courageous Michael Clarke remains in doubt as he continues to fight a combination of back and hamstring injuries, however with incoming skipper Steve Smith firing on all cylinders, Clarke’s absence wouldn’t hinder Australia’s chances too much.       

 

Danger Men








Mitchell Johnson


Steve Smith


 


 




 

South Africa

 

ODI Ranking: 3

2011 Result: QF

Group: B

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: cricketcountry.com


Ranked the best test team in the world and third in the ODI rankings, there’s a high level of expectation surrounding South Africa this year. Currently on the second line of betting in the outright market, the Proteas are pooled with the likes of India, Pakistan and the West Indies in Group B. While the taste of World Cup victory is something they’re yet to experience, the South Africans have a knack of falling victim to hard luck and shock results on the world stage. They do, however, boast a talented squad that is capable of going all the way, led by experienced fast bowler Dale Steyn and the evergreen AB de Villiers.

 

Danger Men








Dale Steyn


AB de Villers


 


 




 

New Zealand

 

ODI Ranking: 6

2011 Result: SF

Group: A

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: sports.ndtv.com


Co-hosts New Zealand have got a lot of people talking in the last couple of months leading up to the tournament, and they loom as genuine contenders to win a maiden World Cup. No country has been knocked out in the semi-finals as many times as the Black Caps, stumbling at the second last hurdle on six separate occasions. Making the final would be seen as a successful campaign for the Kiwis in 2015, and they’re capable of achieving that feat with the aptitude they possess. The in-form Brendan McCullum has proved he can get his side out of sticky situations with the bat, while Tim Southee and Trent Boult are expected to continue their successful partnership in the bowling department.   

 

Danger Men








Tim Southee


Brendan McCullum


 


 




 

India

 

ODI Ranking: 2

2011 Result: Winners

Group: B

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: cricketdawn.com


Winning the 2011 World Cup didn’t just break an 18-year-long drought for India, it sent the cricket-crazy nation into a frenzy. The Indians have since dropped off the pace in test cricket, but they remain the second ranked nation in ODI. Virat Kohli was clinical against Australia in the test series over the summer, however his struggles throughout the Tri-Series saw him drop to third in the batting order. Despite his dip in form, the 26-year-old remains India’s deadliest weapon with the bat, while Ishant Sharma is expected to deliver the killer blows with the ball – if he plays. The lanky bowler has struggled with a knee injury in recent weeks and his withdrawal from the squad would be a big blow for the reigning champions.

 

Danger Men








Ishant Sharma


Virat Kohli


 


 



England Flag

 

England

 

ODI Ranking: 5

2011 Result: QF

Group: A

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: ecb.co.uk


For Aussie cricket fans, there’s nothing better than watching England fail, especially on home soil. The 2011 quarter-finalists loom as an outside chance to clinch their first World Cup, and they won’t mind being tagged as one of the tournament’s underdogs. The Poms haven’t been in the best form of late, and have made it to three finals without victory. After struggling with the bat throughout 2014, batsman Alistair Cook was replaced by Eoin Morgan as England ODI Captain. Both of those men will have a point to prove down under, as will Stuart Board, who we can expect to cop it left, right and centre.

 

Danger Men








Stuart Broad


Eoin Morgan


 


 




 

Sri Lanka

 

ODI Ranking: 4

2011 Result: Runner-up

Group: A

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: haveeru.com.mv


In the 2011 World Cup, Sri Lanka demonstrated just how strong they are in the shorter form of the game. In the end, they couldn’t quite manage to upstage India in the final, but they’ll hope to go one better this time. Ranked the best T20 team in the world, Sri Lanka have the ability to score runs and take wickets fast. Comprising some of the sport’s biggest names such as Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, they are one of the tournament’s dark horses. Experience is the secret ingredient to success on the world stage, and that may be what gets the Lions over the line.

 

Danger Men








Lasith Malinga


Kumar Sangakkara


 


 




 

Pakistan

 

ODI Ranking: 7

2011 Result: SF

Group: B

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: theguardian.com


With Pakistan suffering a bowling crisis leading up to the World Cup, the 'Men in Green' will have some work to do just to progress past the quarter-finals. Promising young paceman Junaid Khan was recently withdrawn after failing a fitness test, joining veteran Umar Gul and spinner Saeed Ajmal on the absentee list. The latter will miss the tournament as he serves a suspension for chucking, while Gul is also injured. All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez is in a race against time to get his bowling action cleared by the ICC, and coach Waqar Younis will be sweating over that decision. Seventh in the ODI rankings, Pakistan are certainly capable of causing an upset on their day, as they showed Australia late last year in a 2-0 series win.     

 

Danger Men








Mohammad Irfan


Shahid Afridi


 


 




 

West Indies

 

ODI Ranking: 8

2011 Result: QF

Group: B

Price To Win:



Image courtesy of: cricketcountry.com


After selectors chose to omit Keiron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo from the West Indies’ squad, it didn’t take long for former-captain Chris Gayle to voice his frustration. The pair have been instrumental for the Windies in recent years and were at the forefront in their 2011 campaign. With the duo gone, captain Darren Sammy leads the side with the ball, while the notorious hard-hitting Gayle will take command with the bat. This is likely to be the last time we see the Jamaican in a World Cup, and possibly on our shores. Gayle has enjoyed a stellar career that spans over 16 years, and the 35-year-old will go down as one of the most decorated batters in history.   

 

Danger Men








Darren Sammy


Chris Gayle


 



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