By Naila Inayat –
The 2015 Cricket World Cup will be the 11th Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015. All 14 teams are geared up for the biggest event in cricket. Teams are grouped with 7 teams each in Pool A and Pool B. And the question everyone is asking is who really will win this World Cup in 2015.
While every cricket enthusiast is making his own list of favourite teams, cricket commentators and analysts have given their word too. The top 3 favourite teams:
South Africa goes into the World Cup with their status as one of the favourites to lift the trophy. And one of the reasons to be getting that attention is their current form and the dedication with which they have worked towards the mega event.
According to the media reports, the bookmakers have installed South Africa as the favourite to win the tournament and finally rid itself of the tag of perennial ‘chokers’.
According to ESPN, while making predictions for an upcoming World Cup 2015, Martin Crowe (former New Zealand player) said, “South Africa have the best collection of players and only need a run of luck and unrelenting belief and they should go far. New Zealand have a wonderful spirit and respect for the game, and home advantage will benefit their well-balanced squad”.
“Australia will have their gander up and will aggressively fight tooth and nail for fresh winds, but if they lose Clarke, they lose a mainsail. England is not to be underestimated, they have capable cricketers and there is always a silver lining, though their stitching hangs by a thread,” he added.
Only time will tell can South Africa with talented players like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla finally break its jinx of choking at the world cup.
Australia are used to being favourites at the World Cup. The four-time champions are the most successful side and rank No 1 ODI team in the world. Watching Australia cruise to victory in the ODI tri-series against India and England showed why they are again the front-runners. It is no surprise every bookmarker has them has favourites. The reasons for believing they will claim victory in the final in Melbourne on 29 March are many.
There is home advantage. Australia hasn’t lost an ODI series on home soil since 2009. This summer they have beaten South Africa 4-1 and easily dismantled England and India. They only time they didn’t win a game in the tri-Series was when it rained all day in Adelaide. Australia will play all of their matches – barring the game against New Zealand — at home, and, depending on results, could play all their knockout matches at home too.
Australia’s batting line-up thrives in familiar conditions. David Warner is the best opener in the world right now, and on Australian pitches he is brutal. All three of his ODI hundreds have come at home, including one against England just three innings ago. Aaron Finch is the perfect attacking foil. While he does not have the class of Warner, he has an excellent ODI record.
If Australia’s fearless stroke-makers David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell fire, then 300 will be standard fare. There’s no other team in the competition with that amount of firepower and Australia shouldn’t have to worry about pitches that are spin-friendly during a home World Cup.
Semi-finalists in six out of the 10 World Cups, New Zealand have generally punched above their weight and are expected to do so again with home comforts and a possible semi-final in Auckland. New Zealand are the other team who have the potential to topple Australia. They also have home advantage, possibly all the way to the final, and are a team on the rise. Their seam bowling is perfect for conditions in New Zealand.
Indeed, it is the best chance for the New Zealand to lift the World Cup. Brendon McCullum is an outstanding captain and a brilliant opener. Kane Williamson is on the fast track to greatness. New Zealand also tends to exceed expectations in World Cups.
While the head says South Africa, Australia or New Zealand the heart is with Pakistan. And with plenty of talent at their disposal, Pakistan were consistent semi-finalists between 1979 and 1987, before winning the tournament in 1992. Their record since then has been inconsistent. Isolated from hosting major international cricket after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.
A lot has happened in the 23 years since Pakistan lifted their first and only World Cup trophy, also in Australia. The Pakistan board has had 15 chairmen in last three decades and, for the last year, has been tangled in court cases over its president. The board’s constitution has been rewritten several times. Yet Pakistan cricket continues to breathe, survive, and endure. Every awful incident is followed by a comeback that resonates with the rest of the cricket world. Pakistan’s only hopes like in its senior campaigners: Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan and Misbahul Haq.