#CWC15 PREVIEW: Who will win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015?

Australia have deservedly risen back to the top of the ODI rankings and playing on home soil they will be hard to beat. They will never recover from the death of Phillip Hughes, but can the country use it as motivation?

The odds to win the competition with William Hill on 30 November 2014

The entire cricket world has been stunned by the death of the talented 25-year-old, but one only needed to watch their skipper Michael Clarke’s media conference, and his struggle to complete it, to gauge how the Aussies have been annihilated emotionally. Although the ICC Cricket World Cup does not start until February, the grieving process will take time.

Can Clarke galvanise his men to win it for Philipl?

If they are able to fight back the tears until the presentation ceremony, then no one with a heart will begrudge them. It is however a big if, and for that reason for punters they have to be viewed as a work-in-progress over the next couple of months. If they are successful the Aussies will claim an unprecedented fifth World Cup after missing out in 2011.

The Aussies are early favourites for the competition and with Mitchell Johnson opening the bowling in conditions made for him, and Aaron Finch and David Warner at the top of the order, they will take some stopping.


Open a William Hill account and put your money where your mouth is…

Glenn Maxwell was simply stunning in the ICC World Twenty20 and subsequent Indian Premier League season, but has shown since that he can literally be hit or miss. The 25-year-old should be one of the powerhouses in 2015 and is our fancy to hit the most sixes in the competition, possibly breaking Matthew Hayden’s record of 18 in 2007.

Australia and New Zealand are hosting the tournament for the first time since 1992. The Kiwis are a long shot to lift the trophy, but are a team on the rise and a semi-final berth is within their compass. With Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan in their team they are capable of beating anyone.

Fresh from toppling Australia in the recent triangular series in Zimbabwe, South Africa look well-placed to break their duck at the World Cup and should be suited by the conditions down under.

Faf du Plessis

Since moving up permanently from the middle order to No. 3 in the one-day arena, Faf du Plessis has been outstanding for South Africa. Across 11 innings in his new position, the right-hander has blasted 729 runs at an average of 66.27 and a strike rate of 88.36. Included in that tally are three hundreds and four half-centuries, only failing to pass 40 on two of the 11 occasions. Such relentless run scoring is likely to continue in Australia and New Zealand—two countries that typically present conditions very much suited to Du Plessis.

In AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, the Proteas have four of the finest 50-over batsmen in the game, backed up by a superb fast-bowling battery led by Dale Steyn. Without the same weight of expectation carried by teams such as Australia and India, South Africa should thrive on a continent they’ve relished visiting in recent years.

Also arriving with high hopes will be the powerful subcontinental sides, most notably India and Sri Lanka. MS Dhoni’s men showed just how suited they are to the 50-over format by cruising past England, while Angelo Mathews has led Sri Lanka to a remarkable run of form in 2014.

Virat Kohli

India won the tournament as joint hosts in favourable conditions in 2011, but may struggle on Australasia’s faster and bouncier tracks. In 1992 Wasim Akram’s Pakistan won in Australia and remain the last sub-continent team to win the tournament outside of Asia. If India are to achieve success they will be heavily reliant on their captain Virat Kohli. The 25-year-old has 19 ODI hundreds to his name and has replaced Sachin Tendulkar as the Indian talisman. With Rohit Sharma fresh from scorching 264 to claim the highest individual score in an ODI confidence is running high.

Sri Lanka have enjoyed a sparkling year in international cricket in 2014, capturing the Asia Cup and ICC World Twenty20 titles to complement series victories over England, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Led superbly by the soaring Angelo Mathews, and given the nation’s rich history in ICC tournaments, it’s reasonable to assume that form will continue at the 2015 World Cup.

Having made six finals since 1996 (three at the World Cup and three at the World Twenty20), Sri Lanka have proved time and time again that they are a brilliant tournament side. They are packed with experience - Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will be leading from the front again.

The most fierce rivalry in world cricket, India and Pakistan have a rich history of thrilling one-day internationals and their encounter in Pool B is one to be looked forward to. The fourth match of the 2015 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on February 15 sees the volatile Pakistanis taking on the in-form Indians - it should be a thriller.

Pressure is mounting on Alastair Cook’s England, both as an opener in the ODI format and as a leader. Kevin Pietersen and Ian Botham have called for him to step aside, but the ECB have invested in his credentials for four years and are unlikely to change horses now. It’s a big tournament for Cook and nothing less than a semi-final berth will be acceptable. England’s one-day international approach has appeared outdated as they have not be able to combat the more dynamic and explosive sides in recent times.

And we’ve got this far without mentioning West Indies! A team with Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine in the ranks should excel at this World Cup. To do that they need to recover from the mess that saw them withdraw from a series with India amid player squabbles with the board. They are too disjointed a force to be considered a serious contender at the moment.


Pool A - England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Scotland.

Pool B - South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, UAE


We see England, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand progressing from Pool A and South Africa, India, Pakistan and West Indies moving forward from Pool B.

We have a Sri Lanka vs South Africa final and the Proteas to win the competition at 4/1.

An each way stake on New Zealand at 9/1 should keep you interested until the final stages.

World Cricket Badger will be covering every inch of the ICC Cricket World Cup and digging out the betting value as we go - stay tuned!


James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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