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TOPIC: Who will win the Cricket World Cup?

Who will win the Cricket World Cup? 21 Mar 2011 13:57 #1

  • trooney
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Despite expectations, this World Cup has been outstanding.
The runs have flowed, wickets have tumbled and England have lurched around like
a boxer on his last legs, waiting for the knockout blow to be landed. The
competition moves beyond the group stages and now gets serious, one mistake and
your team are out. But who are most likely to hold their nerve in the face of adversity
and be crowned World Champions?



Australia



They just won’t give up will they? If there is one
characteristic that rises above all others in the Australian squad, then it is
their relentless determination to be the best. Their unbeaten record at the World
Cup stretched back to the 1999 tournament, a run of 34 games before Pakistan,
ironically the last team to beat them at the World Cup over a decade ago, beat
them by four wickets last week. Captain Ricky Ponting will have been furious.



Despite his side having already assured their passage
through to the quarter finals, the Australians have never been a side to ease
of the gas and let an opponent escape when there is morale to be crushed and
hope to be extinguished, even if there is nothing riding on the game.



Despite this the Australians remain clear favourites for the
tournament. A test side that looked frail and unsure over the winter has been replaced
in the shorter form of the game by a one with the single mindedness of
old.  Their balance looks excellent with
a strong pace attack and batsmen coming into form; Michael Clarke has found
form while Shane Watson continues to excel when opening the batting. Their spin
department looks bereft of the talent that is abundant in other areas,
something that will be a concern for Ponting, especially after coming undone in
Colombo, but of the remaining eight teams they look as close to a complete
package as there is.



India



If there was expectation around Sachin Tendulkar and his
pursuit of his 100th international century against the West Indies,
then the disappointment as he walked having scored just 2 runs was even more
obvious. India’s World Cup campaign is in danger of becoming derailed by the
great man’s side show, and with the toughest draw of all the quarter finals
against Australia, one of the favourites for the tournament beforehand are in
danger of flattering to deceive. Their bowling attack has come under most
scrutiny with its lack of pace, but MS Dhoni will also have to bear the brunt
of the criticism should they come undone against Australia. Tactically naïve at
times, his side have lost from winning positions against both South Africa and
England, which has put them in the path of Ricky Ponting’s side. Their batting
line up is as deep and strong as ever, and with home advantage they still pose
enough of a threat to worry most teams in the world, and should they overcome
Australia they will have a good chance of lifting the trophy on the 2nd
April.



South Africa



Their one-day series against India prior to the World Cup
was indication enough, but Graeme Smith’s side are a dangerous one-day outfit.
Their reputation as chokers on the big stage continues to haunt them but the
talent they have is undeniable. Duminy and AB De Villiers prove dynamism while
Smith and Kallis are ominous when at the crease. Steyn is the finest fast
bowler at the tournament, while Tahir is an outstanding young spinner. Their
history at the World Cup is appalling however and Smith will do well to
convince them they have what it takes to win the tournament. One of only three
teams who look capable of lifting the trophy, the draw has been kind to them
and they may find themselves in the final without having to move out of third
gear. De Villiers injury will also be a worry as his presence gives the South
African line up balance, but even without the classy batsman, their chances are
good.



 



England



Most punters have given up with Andrew Strauss’s side. If
there inconsistency was a source of numerous jokes before their game against
Bangladesh, then there wasn’t many people laughing after they fell apart in
Chittagong. Injuries and fatigue have played their part but there is an
underlying sense that England are lacking in all three departments. The talent
is there but the form isn’t as players who looked top of their game in
Australia like Ian Bell and the skipper himself struggles through. Jimmy
Anderson’s fall from grace has been nothing short of spectacular while
selectors continue to confound by opting for Matt Prior at opener. Their ability
to pull a performance out when desperately needed is admirable, but don’t
expect them to spend much more time on the sub-continent.



Pakistan



If there is a team that has been the surprise package then
it is Pakistan. Written off before the tournament after an abject warm up
performance against England, they have now ended Australia’s unbeaten run and
topped Group A in the face of some seriously difficult opposition. Shahid
Afridi has rolled back the years and bowled excellently, while their steady if
unspectacular pace attack backs him well. However their old inconsistencies
still rear their head from time to time as they wilted in the face of Ross
Taylor’s spectacular onslaught for New Zealand in the group stages.  The quarter finals against the West Indies
should be an intriguing affair with both teams prone to errors and excellent
cricket in equal measures, but Pakistan are proving themselves to be a real
threat at this tournament and could well be the dark horses.



Sri Lanka



On the pitches of the sub-continent, spin was always
expected to play a large part in the success of the teams who could utilise it
best, and not many teams have outdone Sri Lanka in that department. With the
evergreen Murali working in tandem with Ajantha Mendis Sri Lanka look to have
two of the most dangerous bowlers in the tournament. A hamstring injury may
keep Murali out of the quarter final against England which would be a massive
blow to their hopes, and despite their at times indifferent from their most
emphatic win came in their final group game against New Zealand, suggesting
they may be peaking at the right time. Runs haven’t been an issue for Kumar
Sangakkara’s side but a slightly soft middle order may mean they fail to land
the ultimate prize in world cricket.



West Indies



The West Indies continue to be the most troublesome side at
the World Cup. Not in terms of the threat they pose to the other teams, but in
figuring out what they might do next. They have the raw ingredients. Sulimenn
Benn and Keiron Pollard are a real threat, while Chris Gayle can take apart a
team with a single swipe of his blade. Bishoo, the young spinner who made his
debut against England looks to have raw talent in a department where it is
badly needed. The loss of Dwayne Bravo was a real blow to their already slim
chances, but for all their mental frailties they have a performance in them
somewhere.



New Zealand



If there is one man who embodies and carries all of New
Zealand’s hopes it is Daniel Vettori. The news he should be fit to play in the
quarter final against South Africa would have been music to the ears of New
Zealand fans as their side go in search of shaking off their tag as cricket’s
under-achievers. Ross Taylor is a dangerous batsman up the order but their lack
of depth and reliance on Vettori highlights their inadequacies. Few expect them
to get past the South Africans after group games that lurched steadily between
the sublime and the ridiculous.

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Re: Who will win the Cricket World Cup? 23 Mar 2011 14:11 #2

  • Bad Penny
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Good analysis.

Who will win the World Cup? England of course. Erm. No, I would guess it's going to be the winner of tomorrow's tie.... a crunch game but whoever pulls it off will have fantastic momentum approaching the semis.
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