The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.
The Cricket World Cup 2015 is almost upon us. Fourteen teams from across the globe will be competing for crickets top prize. With cricket’s biggest event under a month away, the team here at Asian Sunday we thought that we would get you into the cricket world cup spirit.
We take a look at England’s preparation for the tournament as well as the Asian nations as well. Sri Lanka kick the tournament off against in form co hosts New Zealand on 14th February.
This years tournament, just like previous tournaments will see two groups of seven which will also include qualifiers of the round robin event to qualify for the tournament. Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE and Scotland were the teams to qualify through the round robin event.
Pool A consists of: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan , Scotland.
Pool B consists of: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland , UAE .
Pool A Review:
Group A sees England in a very difficult group. The three Lions will be joined by Australia the team with the most world cup trophies (four) , in form New Zealand, Bangladesh, T2O winners Sri Lanka, Scotland and the very dangerous to underestimate Afghanistan.
With the first four teams from each group going through to the super eight phase, on paper you would expect England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to all progress to the next round. The gulf of class between the more experienced teams shall we say and the so called smaller sides is still big – but surprises do happen such as Ireland beating Pakistan in the 2007 tournament. It will have to take a surprise of extreme proportions for one of the qualifiers to qualify, which we don’t see happening .
England who have been marred by controversy off the field such as Kevin Pieterson’s criticism of the England set up, in the media and in his auto biography, hasn’t helped their preparation. On the pitch however England’s form has been poor which lead to Alistair Cook been replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan.
The Dubliner who replaced Cook due to the test captains poor form in one day internationals, hasn’t faired much better himself with the bat – but the 28 year old does have a good scoring average as captain and did hit a 100 in a losing cause in the match against Australia last week . A brilliant nine wicket win against India, should given Morgan confidence in his ability as a one day leader for England.
The Three Lions have taken a good squad with them with a mixture of ‘big hitters’ and ‘sensible batters’. Some may argue the exclusion of Ben Stokes is a mistake – but the Durham man’s bowling looks to have counted against him.
The ‘smaller nations ‘ if you can call them that I am afraid haven’t closed the gap yet – but countries such as Afghanistan, UAE and Ireland for example can only beat the best if they compete against the best.
The Afghan’s in particular have impressed in World Cups, Asghar Stanikzai is a player that caught our eye in the last tournament, Mohammed Shazhad is another who has impressed for the Afghans. The Achilles heel for the Afghans has been their fielding – and the Asian side will have to improve on that if they are to compete in matches in this World Cup.
Sri Lanka the T20 winners have struggled in the build up to the World Cup. The current series against New Zealand has been a difficult one – but the Sri Lankan’s have a lot of talent at their disposal – and not to forget the legendary Mahela Jayawardena and his partner in crime Kumar Sangakarra. I don’t think they need to worry to much, ideally though the Asian side would love to carry a winning momentum into the tournament.
Bangladesh the other Asian side in the group, unfortunately I think will not get past the first round. Off the field issues in The Tigers build up to the tournament hasn’t been ideal build up.
Teams we predict To Qualify From Group A:
New Zealand (Runners Up)
Pool B Review:
Defending champions India, start their defence against arch rivals Pakistan on 15th February in a mouth watering game. The defending champions since their title 2011 win have gone onto to dominate recent tournaments. An ICC Champions Trophy and a runners up spot in the T20 World final emphasise the dominance the South Asians have had in recent years.
India’s preparation for the tournament hasn’t been the best however. The defending world champions have lost their last two games, which is never ideal. With superstars such as Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and not to forget to mention Suresh Raina it can be argued that the Indian’s have an embarrassment of riches.
Their opening game against Pakistan won’t be easy due to the way these matches have always been well contested – but the Indian’s haven’t lost to their fierce rivals in World Cup games.
Pakistan who will be facing arch rivals in the first match of their world cup campaign, come into this tournament with not as much cricket as their rivals. Matches against England and Bangladesh, just before the tournament starts could help the 1992 champions get into the right mindset.
The Pakistani’s forever known to be unpredictable, were rocked at the start of the tournament with the news that star spinner Saed Ajmal will miss the tournament as the 34 year looks to correct his illegal bowling action. The inclusion of all rounder Mohammed Hafeez who has also been reported for his action is a plus – but the 34 year old is expected to be just a batsmen for the tournament.
With the other teams including South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland; UAE and that the first four qualify, you would expect a safe passage through to the super eights for both Asian sides .
The Teams We Predict To Qualify From Group B
India ( Group Winners)
South Africa (Runners Up)
Our Verdict :
The 2015 tournament promises to be a good one. Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan will no doubt feel they could go all the way and win the tournament. Australia the most successful side in the history of the tournament might have their work cut out in this tournament as they look to add to their four world cup wins.
India will feel they have something to say about, the defending world champions who have won the title twice and will be seen as favourites for this tournament by many , ourselves included. The beauty of sport and in particular sports tournaments – they’re never won on paper – but rather on the sports field.
New Zealand who will look to bring their good form to the world cup will be a potential dark horse. A team with Brendan McCullum in it, definitely has a chance of being successful, the Black Caps have never got past the semi-final – but maybe this team can?
England and Sri Lanka will be seen as outsiders by many – but both have good enough good squads to cause some surprises in the latter stages. Sri Lanka will be looking to give the legendary pair of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena a fitting send off, who most definitely will be playing in their last world cups.
The World cup starts on the 14th of February and finishes on the 29th of March.