By Samihan Dani
This year the 2015 Cricket World Cup will be taking place in Australia and New Zealand. Last world cup India won the trophy to a home crowd at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India. There are 14 teams divided into 2 pools, Pool A and Pool B. The top 4 teams from each pool will reach the quarterfinals.
There are some notable changes to this world cup. The biggest change is the fielding restrictions and powerplays. Now there is a maximum of 4 to 5 fielders allowed outside the 30 yard circle. And now there is only 2 powerplay overs instead of 3. There are new balls which challenges openers trying to adjust to fast bowlers, but the balls will prove to preserve the hardness throughout the whole inning which is better for run scoring later on. Due to the conditions fast bowlers will have a really hard time because of the wind. There are many new players in in world cup. Jacques Kallis, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Graeme Smith, Ricky Ponting, and Kevin Pietersen are not playing this time. Virat Kohli, Corey Anderson, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Starc, Rohit Sharma, and Moeen Ali will be likely to shine this tournament. There is new ball tracking technology to help with lbw decisions and the 2.5 meter rule has been moved to 3.0 meters. This time if there is a tie in the knockout stage there will not be a super over. the super over will only occur in the finals. Due to the new fielding restrictions, the run rate is going to be higher lasts world cup’s run rate which went over 5 per over.
Pool A is the more competitive out of the 2 groups. Australia, the favorites, are right now seeded number 1 in the world. They have a great batting lineup with Steven Smith, Shane Watson and David Warner. Their bowling is also good with mitchell johnson leading the way. New Zealand, the other host, is also doing relatively good with destuctive batsman Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson. Their bowling also is strong. with New Zealand playing at home until the finals they can reach at least the semis. The runner up in the 2011 cricket world cup, Sri Lanka has the strongest batting lineup in Pool A with Tillakratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, who remains the only man to score a century in a World Cup final and end up on the losing side. Also Lasith Malinga makes a comeback from his long term injury and will be a force to be reckoned with. England are not expected to go far this tournament, but with a all rounded batting lineup with James Anderson and Stuart Broad they could make a difference. Bangladesh is one of more dissapointing teams of the season. By now they were expected to compete with the biggies but they still havent produced anything. Shakib Al Hasan is very promising batsman in their favor. Afghanistan, the underdog in this tournament, has a strong bowling lineup. Scotland has a good batting lineup as well but lack on the bowling side. the predictions are Australia to top the group, then New Zealand, then Sri Lanka, then England taking 4th place.
India, the defending world champions, have not been in great form. They haven’t won a game since the Test Series in Australia and the Tri-Series. Although, as proven before, MS Dhoni’s sqaud has come up in the big moments before. South Africa has always been a team capable of winning a world cup, but have always choked when it mattered the most. This Sqaud lead by AB De Villiers will try to break that chain with their strong batsmen and the best fast bowling trio with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. Pakistan has had a string of injuries with premier spin bowler Saeed Ajmal, fast bowler Junaid Khan, and Mohammed Hafeez. Even with these cutbacks they our still very talented. Shahid Afridi will be one to look out for this tournament. West Inides has also had many injuries with No. 2 bowler in the world Sunil Narine out, and Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard out as well. The seniors Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy will have to step up. Zimbabwe has proven to keep up with the big teams troubling New Zealand and chasing a high total made by Sri Lanka but still we hav eto see if they will stand to the test in the actual world cup. The Irish have a history of upsetting teams such as in the 2007 and 2011 world cups. With many players from the 2011 sqaud they will be looking to get a 4 spot to get to the semis. United Arab Emirates is the worst team on paper. They have have to show some serious skills compared to their practice matches to be able to contend. The predictions are that either India or South Africa will get the top spot, Pakistan 3rd, and West Indies getting the 4th spot.