Cricket World Cup 2015-The Contenders

With just three days to go for the biggest cricketing extravaganza to kick off, I couldn't have thought of a better time to return to my blogging ways.Just like the 2011 edition, the World Cup this year too promises to be fiercely competitive as the sides look to get the team combinations right in order to dominate world stage.Here, I analyse the top eight teams and examine their chances of winning cricket's most coveted event, scheduled to be played Down Under.

Australia: Inarguably the favourites to win the Cup, Australia, on paper, seems to be the team to beat this season. It proudly possesses some of the most dangerous hitters of the cricket ball, namely, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell. The bowling attack seems excellent too with Mitchell Johnson all set to lead the pace attack.Moreover, the aussies, being sharp fieldsmen, would most certainly make the opposition team work hard for their runs, thus bettering their chances.Being the home team, and having a talented bunch, they would be very hopeful of lifting the Cup for the fifth time.

South Africa: The proteas have a formidable bowling line-up, probably the best in the tournament. The awesome trio of Dale Steyn,Morne Morke and Vernon Philander are a big source of worry for any opposition. In batting, they have the likes of De Villiers,Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis who have repeatedly shown us what they are capable of. The young Quinton De Kock at the top of the order can be absolutely devastating if it's his day, as he showed in the ODI series against India which was played in the Rainbow nation, not very long ago. Often criticized for choking at crucial moments in ICC events, the proteas would fancy themselves to win the World Cup, which has for long eluded them.

New Zealand: Just like Australia, this team consists of stupendous strokemakers at the top of the order. Brendon Mccullum, Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor, known for their cross-batted shots, would be very effective on bouncy pitches. Kane Williamson adds stability to the middle order while Corey Anderson can be extremely lethal in the death overs. The team also has very fine fast bowlers in Trent Boult, Kyle Mills and Tim Southee who aren't only quick, but accurate as well. The Black caps play well at home, as is evident from previous results. They do have the right ingredients required to end up victorious.

England: Unlike most other teams, this side doesn't have match winners who can single-handedly win the match for the side.But, what's impressive about England is that all its team members contribute in some way or the other towards team success. For instance, if we look at the team composition, we find that Stuart Broad, a proper all-rounder, bats at number nine. Infact, James Anderson who comes in next is no mug with the bat either! England is a team of all-rounders, of skilful men who are determined to contribute.Pitches downunder don't spin much, which favours English batsmen. Don't be surprised if this team ends the tournament with the Cup in their hands.

India: The defending champions, under the leadership of Captain Cool M.S Dhoni, would dearly miss the match winners who contested in the 2011 World Cup. The team this year,apparently, isn't as strong as the former World Cup squad,but, its much younger,much more energetic and dynamic. The fact that this team depends heavily on the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma cannot be denied.The bowling line-up is weak and ineffective, especially on the bouncy pitches downunder. India has always relied on its batsmen to deliver the goods time and again. If the batsmen fire, there's no reason why India can't lift the prestigious trophy for the third time.

Sri Lanka: Like India, this team lacks good fast bowlers. The team would want its veteran players, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene to score big and at the same time, keep the other players cheered up on the field. A big positive for Sri Lanka is the skipper, Angelo Mathews who contributes massively both with the bat and the ball.A genuine all-rounder, he also lifts up the team's spirit with his brilliant fielding. Having finished second best in the 2011 World Cup, Sri Lanka would be hoping to go all the way this time around.

Pakistan: Pakistan have a very inexperienced side for this World Cup. They can be very unpredictable, as they have often showed before. The team consists of decent bowlers in Junaid Khan,Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz who would hit the deck hard and extract bounce.The spinners are phenomenal, although they wouldn't get much help from the wickets. The batsmen have under-performed consistently which is a cause of worry for them. Pakistan had won the World Cup downunder in 1992. They can do it again, but, they certainly need to sort out a few issues before the play-offs if they wish to repeat the feat.

West Indies: For the West Indies, Chris Gayle,Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels hold the key at the top of the order. Heavily reliant on these three players, the team needs to perform much better than what they have been performing to stand any chance of winning the Cup. The absence of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard in the squad would certainly limit their chances. They are capable of surprising the top teams if they play to their full potential. However,at the moment, lifting the Cup for them is a distant dream.

The World Cup 2015 promises to be bigger and better. What it does guarantee is exciting cricket and some nerve-wracking moments. So, turn on your TV sets and watch, keeping your fingers crossed.
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