2015 World Cup Cricket preview

ICC World Cup 2015

The Chances:

There are three main chances in this world cup. Australia ($3), South Africa ($4) and New Zealand ($6).

I start with the obvious, Australia it’s hard not to be biased towards this team at the moment. They are playing fantastic cricket and have so many class players in form. They have home ground advantage and have the most devastating bowler of the last 15 months in the squad. With that being said they have had an easy lead up to the WC and I am quite worried about Australia’s batting, Aus lack one more genuine Anchor in the side. Smith is the only batsman that fills this role for these Aussies as the rest of the batsman are flamboyant and have not shown much ability to grind out an anchor role, although warner has shown promising signs by showing temperament in the test series this summer.

Apart from Smith the middle or of Australia consists of Maxwell, Bailey and M Marsh… Bailey’s record since the start of 2014 has not been good in ODI’s with 21 innings at an average of 21 its worrying that he goes in as Australia’s captain. Although Glenn Maxwell had a good finish to the ODI Tri Series against England and India this is a man who averages slightly over 30 with the bat put simply Glenn does not play good risk vs reward cricket. Mitch is a great cricketer in waiting but if we need someone to step up under pressure I think we could find ourselves in trouble, with just 14 matches to his name and an average of less than 40 he lacks the experience to play a match winning innings. With all this being said if Clarke and Watson are passed fit and they get through play without injury the middle order is suddenly a whole lot better and oozing with class having Smith in at 4 and Clarke coming in at 5.

Australia comes into its own when you talk about their bowling ability. Johnson, Starc, Cummings and Hazelwood are the main pace bowlers, all of which are match winners. Add to this that Maxwell and Marsh can both bowl 10 overs easily this is a serious bowling unit…. That’s not including Watson and Faulkner that are hovering under an injury cloud. If a batting attack does start to pick this attack apart Australia sill have Smith (who is highly underrated in regards to his wicket taking ability), Warner and also Clarke. The only weak side of Aus’s bowling is the fact that they won’t have a specialty spinner for the majority of the tournament. Although Doherty is named I can’t see him played in the big games as another batsman in the side is more valuable. I think Aus missed a trick by leaving out there premier spinner Lyon, although not as economical as the alternatives Lyon has the underrated ability to take wickets in a ODI which is needed. Faulkner being injured for the first half of the tournament is an interesting case as well. Although reports state he should be fine for the business end how would you slot him into a winning line up that has gelled together? Who gets dropped? It’s not a bad problem to have but it could unsettle the team.

Australia are deserved Favourites for the 2015 world cup and I can’t see them not being in the Final.

Betting strategy for the Aussies would be to back them in the Quarters and roll up the winnings into the semi and decide what to do at the grand final as you will easily get effective odds that are greater than the futures bet available at this time.

South Africa
This world cup has to be South Africa’s best chance to win in a long time. With the likes of Amla, AB, Faf, Steyn, Morkel & Philander in the side you would be silly to write these guys off. Any Cricket enthusiast would tell you than a Final with Aus v SA would be “a dream come true” for WC spectators. However I’m not sure they will make the Final… although the proteas have so much class in their line-up they have a history of “choking” in big games and the one day series against Australia early this summer has all but reinforced that fact.

If South Africa faces New Zealand in a final I think they will find themselves undone.

Betting Strat: Amla most runs for SA at $3.50 is value considering his form coming into the WC and his batting position/role in the side will make sure he faces a high amount of overs in this WC giving him the best chance to capitalise against the bottom ranked sides.

New Zealand
NZ are in terrific form and have showcased this against Sri Lanka and Pakistan this summer. They have almost the best balance of batsman in this entire WC in regards to power hitters and anchors. McCullum in current form is the most damaging batsman in the world in ODI cricket at the moment, his hitting ability teamed with temperament and they fact he opens is a combination that will be feared in the months to come. Taylor acts as a sledgehammer if set with 10 overs to go, Williamson is the best number 3 in world cricket at the moment in my eyes, his youth provides great energy and he has raw talent you only see a couple times in an era.

With this great batting line up I can’t see any total shy of 400 be “safe” to defend, only one of McCullam, Williamson, Taylor, Elliott or Ronchi need to get going for NZ to coast to victory. I haven’t mentioned NZ’s other opener as he is the dark horse for NZ, Guptil has great talent but is out of touch at the moment. With a solid 76 last start I hope he has found form again as he can anchor for the kiwis while the rest pick world class attacks apart, with 99 matches and an average of 37 he has a modest record and NZ will ensure he gets as much time in the middle by not resting him for the games against the lowly ranked sides.

NZ’s bowling attack is by far the best it has been in a long time. Boult, Southee and Vettori form a great bowling unit that can rival all sides this tournament bar Australia and maybe South Africa.

Betting Strat: Same as Aus back them in each final and roll up winnings until they play Australia. Guptil top tournament run scorer at 41 and to top score for NZ at 7’s is overs as well as he will play every game as he needs to find great touch and can see a couple hundred’s against Scotland and Afghanistan.

The Outsiders

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka comes into the tournament off of some average cricket. But to completely dismiss this team is a mistake, they seem to find a way into the finals and this year I can see it again. Malinga provides a massive bowling boost at the death with Sanga in batting if these two fire together they can go ALL the way. However I can’t see them getting past the quarters unless both of those players are firing on all cylinders.

England is an interesting case this WC, they have enough talent to contend but they can’t seem to put it on the park at once like the class sides Aus and SA. I think England missed a trick with not picking Stokes he would add the power hitting needed to win tight games. Morgan is hit and miss England will rely on Bell ALOT this WC and quarters is the best I can see these guys getting to.

India was very poor this summer. Since getting to Aus in November they are yet to win an international game which is very poor. Everyone knows India can chase but the thing India really lacks is a bowling attack. It’s not a massive issue in T20’s as wickets present themselves naturally. However in ODI’s a team needs to take at least 7 wickets throughout the innings to help restrict the total, I don’t think India can do this and that is why I think they will struggle to even make the quarters.

I feel Pakistan have the same issue as India here in the fact that they don’t have the bowling attack to take enough wickets. So the same applies to Pakistan.

Other Value bets:

West Indies to get knocked out at the group stage at $4.50 is great value. Without Narine WI rely heavily on match winning performances from Gayle, Ireland and Zimbabwe are capable of beating the WI. I actually think Pakistan is also value for the same market at $6 this is because they simply lack the bowling attack to defend any total.

Highest Tournament Individual score: Over 170.5 This is great value and was set at 167 earlier in betting. With Sangakara, McCullam, AB, Smith and Amla in arguably the best form of their career I think you will see this line get topped more than once this WC.

Andrew Malone @malonecricpicks