The Cricket World Cup is underway and it’s fair to say it’s already thrown up some interesting results as sides battle it out in the Group Stage for those top four positions. In fact, such has been the unpredictability of both teams and pitches, it’s a bit of a gamble knowing which teams will even make the semi-finals, never mind win it.
Of course, it’s perhaps less of a roulette wheel, in which you’d say at least six teams have a real chance of winning, but rather more like playing a few hands of Casino 777 blackjack, with the subcontinent nations perhaps currently having the better hand.
That said, England have bounced back in style from defeat to beat one of those subcontinent sides in Bangladesh and Australia had a difficult first game in the hosts and will want to kick on from there.
So, who exactly is going to win it?
At present we’re going with the champions or the hosts. India had a difficult first game against Australia but handled the pressure brilliantly, particularly after going down to 2-3 in chase of 199.
Pre-tournament, Kohli’s brilliance as a chaser was discussed as a real key for India to go all the way, and he proved just that against the Aussies, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs in successful chases in the process. The contribution of Rahul will also be pleasing for home fans.
Perhaps it’s the bowling unit though that was most notable, restricting a good Australia side, and still second favourites with the bookies, to under 200, with brilliant spells from the likes of Bumrah, Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin.
Pundits began to question England after their first game loss to New Zealand, but they powered to victory against Bangladesh, focusing on what they do best – attack. Reece Topley put in an excellent spell with the ball in the powerplay to restrict Bangladesh and take wickets, while the top order all provided runs, with Dawid Malan knocking 140 off just 107 balls.
The World Cup is going to have plenty of twists and turns, but you’d say that has just turned it back in England’s favour on what looked a tricky pitch and outfield.
New Zealand enjoyed an exciting series with England prior to the tournament and got off to the perfect start with victory against them. They’ve been relatively high scorers in both games and have so far shared the runs out neatly, which could be crucial as the tournament goes on.
South Africa looked emphatic with the bat in their first game, while Pakistan are now two wins from two, having enjoyed a tight run chase against Sri Lanka last time out. They’ve chased and set a target successfully so far and, with key players picking up 100s, there’s something special about them. It’d be quite something for the Pakistanis to lift the trophy on Indian soil…
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