World Cup 2015 – May the best team win

Published: February 7, 2015
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Whoever makes it, this World Cup is expected to be one of the best, fast-paced and most exciting World Cups ever to be staged. PHOTO: AFP

The 2015 World Cup in Australia will be nothing short of exhilarating, as the stadiums in Australia are the finest and would produce thrilling cricket. This will be the 11th edition of the World Cup.

After the round matches, the real test will begin as the quarter-finals and elimination rounds start.

Let’s have a look at the eight probable teams for the quarter final:

Australia (host)

It is by far the most successful team in World Cup history, having won four World Cup trophies and reached the finals in two. Playing at home will bring a lot of pressure to the team but still they have a tremendous attacking batting line-up in the form of Glenn MaxwellSteve SmithDavid WarnerShane WatsonGeorge Bailey, and Michael Clarke (captain) and a quality pace attack to match it with Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson. Australians are expected to make it through the semi-finals at least, and perhaps even beyond.

England 

The three time finalists have made a very late change to their captain, but an excellent one. They have a good bowling side with tall, fast bowlers like James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Steven Finn, whom we expect to exploit the bouncy wickets and a respectable batting line up with Joe Root, Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan (captain), who could be their key to reaching the semi-final.

New Zealand 

They have been playing magnificent cricket lately, are one of the favourites for the title and they have quite a few very aggressive, match winning, ODI batsmen like Brendon McCullum (captain), Ross Taylor, and Kane Williamson. They have formed a formidable bowling line with Tim Southee leading the attack and the two new fast bowlers, Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne, have also added a lot of pace and fire in the kiwis’ bowling line up. Likewise, home-based conditions will favour them too and if they play to their potential, they can win their first ever World Cup final.

Pakistan 

It doesn’t have a very good squad, and the non-availability of Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan will be a big miss for team Pakistan, which already lacks fire power in bowling and batting. They are expected to make it to the quarter finals but progressing further would indeed be difficult. Their key players are Ahmed Shehzad, Muhammad Irfan, and Sohaib Maqsood.

The opening match with India will not only be significant as far as our rivalry with them is concerned, but it will also be a chance to break the jinx of never beating India in a World Cup match. Furthermore, the winner of this match could go a long way in deciding who will face who in the quarter finals.

South Africa

They have been tagged as the favourites for the World Cup. Similarly, they have an incredible team packed with talent and a previously World Cup-winning coach, Gary Kirsten, which provides them a fabulous chance to remove their tag of chokers and revive their image. Their very talented batting line-up includes Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicket keeper), AB de Villiers (captain and wicket keeper), JP Duminy, and Faf du Plessis, while they have a very strong attacking bowling line-up with Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, and Imran Tahir. It won’t be surprising if South Africa goes all the way and end up winning this World Cup.

Sri Lanka

They have been finalists in the last two World Cups but unfortunately lost both. While this World Cup would mark the end of the careers of Sri Lanka’s brilliant batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene andKumar Sangakkar, the Australian conditions won’t suit the Lankans. And, so far, it seems that it would be difficult for them to qualify beyond the quarterfinals.

West Indies

It looks like West Indies will be one of the first teams to go home early. While it’s very heart breaking to see that the two-time champions have fallen apart so much, they lack a good batting and bowling attack. Apart from the brilliance of one odd batsman, they have a very mediocre team and they won’t go beyond the quarter finals round.

India

The defending champions have witnessed their golden era in the last six years, winning almost everything under the brilliant captaincy of MS Dhoni. However, World Cup Australia is going to be a huge test for them as Indians have performed poorly on their last two tours to Australia. But despite that, the team has a very strong batting line which consists of stars like Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (captain and wicket keeper), Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Their bowling is their weakest link but still has few fine bowlers like Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. India is expected to reach the quarter finals but the bouncy conditions might make their progress difficult.

Photo: Reuters

Whoever makes it, this World Cup is expected to be one of the best, fast-paced and most exciting World Cups ever to be staged. It will get fans from all over the world off their feet and provide them with plenty of memories to cherish.

May the best team win!

ALL PHOTOs: AFP

Bilal Muzaffar

Bilal Muzaffar

A freelance sports writer who would like to work as a professional sports analyst in the future and is currently doing his MS. A big football fan who also enjoys watching F1, tennis and cricket. He tweets @bilal__mu (twitter.com/bilal__mu)

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