Cricket World Cup Tips and Preview - 3 best bets and predictions

Cricket World Cup (PA Images)

The top 10 teams of world cricket will battle it out in a league-cum-knockout basis to decide the winner of this 12th edition of the World Cup, and we have you covered with our pre-tournament predictions.

Even with the advent of T20 cricket and the numerous leagues like the extremely popular IPL, ODI cricket hasn’t lost its charm. Bilateral series may have become a bit monotonous, but ICC tournaments are still ruling the roost. 

The cherry on the cake is the ICC World Cup, with the 2019 edition set to be played in England & Wales from 30th May to 14th July.

Spread over 45 matches, the league phase will see each team play every other nine teams once. The top-four sides then battle it out in the semis and final.

Afghanistan


One of the latest entrants on the world scene, Afghanistan qualified for this World Cup by winning the 2018 ICC qualifier. With a side that is full of exuberance and youth, not to talk about experience across T20 leagues, Afghanistan is a strong force to contend with. It might be wishful thinking to hope the Afghans to go all the way, or even make the top-four. However, with superstars like Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad in the ranks, back Afghanistan to spring a surprise or two. The conditions might not favour their spin-heavy attack, but their mystery spinners should enjoy the conditions. All in all, Afghanistan look set for a confident campaign where they might play a part in the fortunes of more than one side.
Odds: $101 (Ladbrokes)

Australia


The most successful side in World Cup history (five titles) and the defending Champions, Australia wouldn’t have been favourites for this edition two months ago. However, the turnaround witnessed on the Indian tour coupled with the form exhibited by David Warner in the IPL meant that the Kangaroos are back in business. Questions remain over their team composition, but any team that boasts of Warner, Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith will invoke fear. Led by Pat Cummins and the irresistible Mitchell Starc, Australia have a bowling unit that can bring the trophy back home. However, concerns still remain over their ability to live up to the modern scoring standards. Their middle-order brittleness could come back to haunt them. Still, ruling Australia out of the race comes at its own peril, as they look set for another run that should take them at least to the semis.
Odds: $5.50 (Ladbrokes)

Bangladesh


Home to some of the most fervent cricket fans, Bangladesh come into the World Cup with interesting form. They have defeated Ireland and West Indies in a tri-nation series to throw their hat in the ring. Gone are the days when Bangladesh used to be ‘just another fixture’. With the core of the side experienced with at least 150 ODIs, they look set to aim for a third-successive World Cup knockout appearance. It is their bowling, however, that poses concerns. Mostly spin-heavy, Bangladesh will have to rely on their experienced skipper Mashrafe Mortaza with his dodgy knees and Mustafizur Rahman with his dipping form. All eyes will be on talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, whose presence helps them win as many as they lose in his absence! Bangladesh aren’t tipped to surprise, but can be a tough nut for some of the sides.
Odds: $81 (Ladbrokes)

England


A complete dud in the last edition, England have given themselves a makeover after 2015 that they now start as hot favourites for 2019. Not just their own, England have changed the landscape of ODI cricket with their breathtaking aggressive displays. Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler – all the names in the England unit inspire awe. The arrival of Jofra Archer has changed the outlook of the bowling unit, which has looked to be their weak link. Adil Rashid’s wicket-taking usually comes at an expense, and Moeen Ali’s bad days are generally poor enough to frustrate. Barring these occasional concerns, England look a settled unit that is struggling to find out whom to leave out of their extended squad! It will be a surprise if England doesn’t make it to the final four. From there, it is a case of managing the expectations and cracking the code.
Odds: $2.75 (Ladbrokes)

India


Until their recent Australian series, India were on par with England as top favourites to win the World Cup. However, as the Aussies have shown, India are over-reliant on their top-three batsmen and their spinners can be taken to the cleaners by being aggressive. That said, a line-up that has arguably the best batsman in ODI cricket in Virat Kohli, should fancy their chances. In Jasprit Bumrah, India have one of the best death bowlers of this generation, not to belittle his skills up front. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s IPL form is a worry, and so is their wrist spin sensation Kuldeep Yadav’s form. The lack of a genuine all-rounder, although Hardik Pandya is an exciting presence, puts a spanner in their works. The batting strengths of India should keep them in the hunt for top-four. Anything beyond will depend on how they perform on that day. 
Odds: $4.00 (Ladbrokes)

New Zealand


One side that loves going under the radar and doing things consistently, New Zealand must be every fan’s second favourite team. The Kiwis do not boast of super stars in their ranks – barring Kane Williamson – but pride themselves on being a ‘team unit’. Players like Martin Guptill and Colin Munro can be great at the top, although a lot will depend on how Williamson will play. The bowling conditions should suit the swing of Tim Southee and Trent Boult. Although Ish Sodhi and Mitch Santner do a fair job, they seem to lack a genuine spin option. With a number of bits and pieces players in their ranks, New Zealand can be one side that none of the top contenders like to face at critical moments in the tournament. Don’t be surprised if they make it to the semis, but nothing beyond.
Odds: $10 (Ladbrokes)

Pakistan


Predicting what Pakistan can do in a tournament is as fickle as predicting the English weather. Home to some of the most exciting, yet supremely inconsistent individual stars, Pakistan have the history of having won the 2017 Champions Trophy right here. In Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, they have two of the most exciting and destructive openers, although it is the presence of the serene Babar Azam that takes the cake. Bowling, unusually for a Pakistani side, lacks the presence of a match-winner. Although Mohammad Amir could still make the squad and try to add his experience, Pakistan are light on their bowling as shown in the 4-0 series loss to England. Thankfully, they are in UK for a bit now and the conditions shouldn’t be alien any more. Hard to predict their progress, but if they make it to the semis, they will be a strong title contender.
Odds: $11 (Ladbrokes)

South Africa


Rains, Duckworth Lewis methods, poor calculations and teams peaking at the right time – South Africa have had numerous hurdles in their quest for World Cup glory so far. Their unwanted ability to choke at wrong moments in an ICC tournament is legendary now. With superman AB de Villiers not around, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis will be tasked with lifting their fortunes. However, it is with the ball that South Africa have two of the most exciting names of the tournament. Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir will look to make their mark and lead their side all the way. The Proteas have a good sprinkling of individual match winners, but the absence of a genuine all-rounder and the lack of experience in the batting could be a hindrance. Overall, they might struggle to wade their way to the final four.
Odds: $10 (Ladbrokes)

Sri Lanka


Not long ago, Sri Lanka were regular contenders in any ICC tournaments. Not anymore, or at least not this time. Consistent lack of form, constant chopping of team personnel and lack of team cohesion has meant that Sri Lanka have dropped off the pecking order. Dimuth Karunaratne has been called from ODI wilderness to be given captaincy, but he has a tall order ahead of him. Former captains Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga will be pillars of strength, while the exciting Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera will be looking to spring a surprise. It is no exaggeration to say that Sri Lanka are starting with zero hopes. Don’t be surprised if they end up bottom of the table, with no wins at all!
Odds: $81 (Ladbrokes)

West Indies


The two-time former World Champions still remain an enigma, complete with their consistent struggles. They have some of the exciting names in white ball cricket like Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell and Shai Hope. Led by a young and hungry captain in Jason Holder, there are hopes that the Windies will reclaim lost glory. However, they look massively short of confidence, form and personnel to make a real dash at this tournament. In fact, the way they have been losing to Afghanistan and Bangladesh regularly, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Windies might end up at the bottom of the table. 
Odds: $17 (Ladbrokes)

Verdict


England start as heavy favourites, while Australia and India look good enough to make the semis. With the form that they are in and the kind of team that they boast, England look good enough to top the group stage. Among other picks, backing the Indian captain Kohli to end up as his side’s best batsman looks a good choice. 

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Cricket World Cup Tips and Preview - 3 best bets and predictions

The top 10 teams of world cricket will battle it out in the 12th edition of the World Cup, and we have you covered with our pre-tournament predictions.

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