The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

 

JOHANNESBURG 12:00 30.03-2015

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ICC World Cup Update!

The 2015 World Cup has finished, and true to form after perfectly predicting the knockout stages of the tournament, my verdict on the final went horribly wrong. Australia was the stronger of the two teams, and not just by a small margin. The Aussies proved their excellence in high-pressure ‘everything-to-lose’ World Cup matches once again, while New Zealand looked as they were in deep water from the get-go.

New Zealand chose to bat off the toss, and Brendan McCullum looked set to continue his trait of punishing bowlers from the get-go. But Mitchell Starc, a bowler that is both as technical as he is pacey, had hoped for such a start by the Kiwi captain. Pitching two slower balls just off wicket Starc then bowled a heavier and faster ball that surprised McCullum and flicked the pegs. New Zealand was silenced, and Starc’s bowling was on the money, restricting the Kiwi run-rate.

Guptill was next to fall when he made the same mistake as his captain to the bowling of Glenn Maxwell. One over later and it was Kane Williamson gone with a terrible response to a Mitchell Johnson ball that Johnson caught. Ross Taylor and Grant Elliot were hoping to rekindle the New Zealand fight when they made a valuable partnership for the boys in black. Taylor eventually fell to an edged Faulkner delivery for 40 runs, and was seemingly followed off the pitch by his replacements Anderson, Ronchi and Vettori. The Kiwis were 167 for 7. Elliot fully realised New Zealand’s woes when he also eventually fell to Faulkner for 83. The dominant Australian bowling display was completed when the last Kiwi batsman was run-out, New Zealand only on a 183 total

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Australia may have been worried at the beginning of their innings when Aaron Finch fell for the slower ball by the brilliant Trent Boult, but they should not have been dismayed. David Warner and Steve Smith made decent headway into the Kiwi total. Warner was especially nimble to the Kiwi bowling, but being so hasty had him caught for 45. It was then Michael Clark who stepped up to the crease and showed the world why he is both captain and a revered Aussie cricket legend. If there was any fear for the fiery Kiwi bowling, those flames were duly drowned by Clarke who put their smaller neighbours score to the sword. Clarke made 74 off 72 balls, and went out to a Matt Henry ball, but Australia was already on 175, nine runs short of victory. Two overs later and Australia won their fifth Cricket World Cup Title.

The World Cup has been exciting, surprising and record-breaking, and it has given us a host of names that are on their way to becoming household, if they are not already. Australia’s all-round performance is now as well-known as the bowling of Boult and Southee, the sublime batting of De Villiers, Sangakkara, Steve Smith, McCullum, Guptill and Chris Gayle. But above and beyond all else, this World Cup just has us looking forward to the next one!

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AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 16:00 26.03-2015

ICC Cricket World Cup Update

Australia beat the powerful Indian contingent in order to forge their way into the finals of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. They will face the high-flying New Zealanders who have not lost a match in this tournament and who have trumped the likes of Sri Lanka, England, West Indies, South Africa and even Australia in the group stages.

Their game against South Africa can be marked as one of the most exciting in the World Cup. The South African innings was marred by an early exit for both opening batsmen Amla and De Kock. Du Plessis managed to rally the batting into order with composure at the crease which earned him 82 runs before being caught behind by Ronchi. Some excellent thrashing toward the end of the innings by AB De Villiers and David Millar helped keep South Africa’s unusually low run rate to climb, but it was all cut horribly short when the sky opened up and it began to rain. South Africa’s innings was cut short to 43 overs and managed to make 281 runs.

New Zealand started their innings on fire when Brendan McCullum made a quick 59 runs off 26 balls. Once he was caught by Dale Steyn New Zealand were 71 for 1. A few over later and New Zealand were in trouble at 149 for 4. It was at this stage that Tahir and Morkel made their presence felt, and the New Zealand run rate nosedived, giving the Proteas hope for a win. But it was not to be when Corey Anderson and Grant Elliot stepped up to the crease and made some work of the South African bowling. The game ended nail-bitingly close when New Zealand needed 6 off 3 balls, but a Elliot knock on the second last ball propelled the Kiwis into the final.

Australia had a terrific semi-final as they batted gloriously in front of their home crowd to earn them the place in the 2015 final. Warner fell quickly at the start, but Aaron Finch and Steve Smith had an excellent innings that propelled Australia to 197 runs before the fall of their second wicket. Then it was just a case of getting runs on the board and the remaining batsmen each made a decent input, helping Australia attain a 328 total. Yadav had a decent bowling innings and it was he that was responsible for ending the most threatening Aussie batsmen.

Where Australian batting did so well, Indian batting fell horrendously short. While Sharma and Dhawan seemed to relax with the Australian bowling they were out soon after, Dhawan only making 45 runs. Rahane and Dhoni helped with the Indian total a little but Kohli, Raina and Jadeja were all made to suffer the effects of excellent Aussie bowling. Starc, Johnson and Faulkner bowled with power, pace and precision, guiding Indian batsmen away from the wickets and then toppling them with accuracy. India was all out for only 233.

BetXchange Prediction: New Zealand vs Australia
It was the Australian performance against India that has many pundits believing that this is now their World Cup to win. Their matches in the two knockout stages have highlighted the fact that not only do they rely on particular players for specific duties, but the capabilities of their all-rounders are second-to-none (Watson and Maxwell perform this splendid function). Strength in batting from Finch and Smith and excellent bowling from Starc and Johnson make Australia a force to be reckoned with.

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However, if there is one team that can turn passion into formative cricketing strength, it’s the Kiwis. New Zealand should not have made it to the finals on paper, but their belief and team spirit has always triumphed. Although not quite on par with AB De Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara and Shikhar Dhawan in technicality, McCullum and Guptill are more than their match in this World Cup. The bowling of Boult and Southee has been the most potent in the whole tournament, supplemented by Vettori’s spin, while Corey Anderson has been a surprise package and probably 2015’s best all-round cricketer.

Verdict: A close New Zealand victory… very close

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AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 16:00 17.03-2015

ICC Cricket World Cup Update

It’s the knockout stages in the ICC World Cup! We have been thrilled and delighted by the spectacle of the group stage, but now the cricketing become severe and serious as simple mistakes and errors can be game changing and a threat to World Cup triumph.

BetXchange Predictions: South Africa vs Sri Lanka
Every Proteas fan knows about South Africa’s ability to choke at the most important stages in the ICC World Cup, but ICC 2015 gives them the opportunity to prove to everyone their worth. Not only AB De Villiers and Hashim Amla, but the entire batting order must come together to put up a respectable score when they face Sri Lanka tomorrow. Alternatively the Proteas might have to chase down a score, and often it is the tail-end of the batting order that needs to have the composure. Bowling needs to be tight and disciplined against the Sri Lankan batsmen so Steyn, Morkel and Abbott will have to hold their nerve.

Sri Lanka, though, has some of the globe’s greatest all-rounders in the form of Angelo Matthews and Tillakaratne Dilshan, while Sangakkara is in a class of his own with regards to batting. South Africa needs to take advantage of the sometimes lacklustre Sri Lankan bowling, but tomorrow might be Lasith Malinga’s day as he is known to often tear through opposition batsmen.
BetXchange Verdict: A close South African win

BetXchange Predictions: Bangladesh vs India
Bangladesh will need to do something special in order to beat the Indians on Thursday. India’s well rounded team has earned the right to be title holders and their team could make it a double this year. Shami, Sharma and Ashwin are three of the most competent bowlers to grace Indian cricket, while the batting that Dhawan regularly displays is of the finest calibre. This may be the least thrilling quarter-final, but the Tigers have been known to surprise.
BetXchange Verdict: An Indian victory

BetXchange Predictions: Australia vs Pakistan
Australia is keen to progress to the semi-finals, and they should be strong enough to pip a late-blooming Pakistan. Australia will need to start playing like the modern game requires though. Apart from David Warner  the Aussie batsmen haven’t exactly shone at the crease, so players like Clarke, Finch and Haddin will be required to step-up. Bowling by Starc and Johnson must remain potent in order to tip batsmen like Misbah-Ul-Haq and Ahmed Shehzad.
BetXchange Verdict: An Australian Victory

BetXchange Predictions: New Zealand vs West Indies
New Zealand has shown that they can be the world’s greatest, but the knockout stages of the World Cup will require discipline and maturity. With this tournament’s greatest bowling force in the package of Boult, Southee and Vettori, they have the greatest chance of stemming the runs of players like Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels. It will require more than just Guptill and McCullum on the crease to bring New Zealand victory, but it may be the chance that Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson need to prove themselves. Or will Jerome Taylor and Co. topple the Kiwi batting?
BetXchange Verdict: A slim New Zealand victory

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 16.03-2015

ICC Update 13/03/2015

India vs Ireland
India remains unbeaten in the ICC World Cup after they downed a brave Irish squad on Tuesday. Ireland made a bright start in their batting innings as both Porterfield and O’Brien made half-centuries, but the middle and lower order subsequently collapsed to some good Indian fielding, Ireland making 259 runs. India managed the Irish total in only 37 overs, mainly due to the form of Dhawan who scored a century, and Sharma, who made 64 runs. India’s cricketing displays why they are the favourites to win the World Cup.

Sri Lanka also managed another victory thanks to the supreme batting talent of Sangakkara and Dilshan that allowed them to post a score of 363 against Scotland, who fell short of the mark by 148 runs.

South Africa vs UAE
South Africa have not been overly convincing so far this World Cup, but they managed to beat UAE comfortably on Thursday. Another excellent innings by AB De Villiers had him just short of another century when he was caught on 99 runs helping South Africa reach a total of 341. UAE were careful not to lose too many wickets to South Africa, but the Proteas bowlers limited the UAE run rate, and they were all-out after 47 overs for only 195.

New Zealand vs Bangladesh
A good batting innings by Mahmudullah (128) would have made New Zealand cautious after Bangladesh reached a decent total of 288 runs. New Zealand, who have been one of the most surprising packages this World Cup, struggled to make the total, but did so in the 49th over. They may have fell short had Guptill not made 105 runs as he opened for the Kiwis.
England performed well against Afghanistan (a little too late) as they bowled the Afghanis out for 111 before batsmen Hales and Bell made the required score in 19 overs.

BetXchange Predictions: India vs Zimbabwe
India should have no trouble beating Zimbabwe on Saturday and every one of their matches this World Cup has proven that. The ability of bowlers like Ashwin and Shami is only eclipsed by the batting excellence of Dhawan and Kohli. Zimbabwe might be able to make a brave stand with batsmen like Williams and Taylor that will allow them to go back home with pride.
Verdict: A comfortable victory for India.

BetXchange Predictions: Australia vs Scotland
Australia has shown a weakness to a side that has good bowling, but Scotland shouldn’t threaten the Aussies. Good batting by opener Warner and middle-order Maxwell is well supplemented by the bowling of Mitchell Starc and Johnson. Scotland will be hoping for an upset inspired by the batting of Coetzer and the bowling of Berrington and Davey.
Verdict: A comfortable win for Australia

The last two games of the group stages of the World Cup are played on Sunday. West Indies goes up against UAE, and they will be hoping to leapfrog Ireland in the standings. Ireland has a part to play though, because if they beat Pakistan then they book their place for the knockout stages. Our verdict is for both a West Indies and Pakistan win, but Ireland has surprised us before.

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AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 10.03-2015

ICC Update 09.03.2015

Another great weekend of ICC Cricket World Cup action was on display this weekend as Friday was witness to a quick game between India and West Indies. Our update on Friday was published just before the match reached its conclusion, and the West Indies batting innings was marred by wickets aplenty as Shami and Co. made their mark for India. West Indies made a weak total of 182, which India reached in a comfortable 40 overs, but not without almost making a meal of their effort. At one stage India was looking the weaker team at 134 for 6. But a victory for India leaves the strongest team in the tournament unbeaten.

South Africa vs Pakistan
 South Africa needed to beat Pakistan in order to carry their good form forward into the knockout stage (assuming they beat the UAE underdogs) but now they have an even greater challenge ahead after they lost by 29 runs to the Asian team. Pakistan batted first, and a good start by Sarfraz Ahmed put them in good form to make a high score. But excellent South African bowling limited Pakistan’s options and, despite a Misbah-Ul-Haq defiant stand at the crease, Pakistan was bowled for 222. Dale Steyn fronted the South African bowling charge. South Africa, who must have thought they could meet the Pakistan score comfortably, was stunned by the accurate Pakistani bowling. It was again Sarfraz Ahmed who was on form as the batsmen edged the ball into his gloves behind the wickets. De Kock, Amla, Du Plessis and De Villiers all fell for the laid out Pakistan plan as South Africa was eventually bowled out for 202.

African cricket fans would have been mourning on Saturday the 7th after the South African loss was coupled with a Zimbabwean defeat to the hands of the Irish who posted a huge 331 runs. The Irish, thanks to an Ed Joyce and Andrew Balbirnie partnership, had a comfortable total to defend, but Zimbabwe almost made a valiant comeback with a Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams at the crease. Ireland only just bowled them out for 326

New Zealand vs Afghanistan
It almost would have ended a quick game had Shenwari and Zadran not batted well as Daniel Vettori took four Afghanistan wickets and limited the Afghanis to 186 all out. A quick 42 runs off 19 balls by Brendan McCullum set New Zealand off to meet the score in the 37th over. Promising batting performances by Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson will round out New Zealand’s form as they soon play Bangladesh.

Australia vs Sri Lanka
It was a batting spectacle in Sydney as Australia beat Sri Lanka in front of their home fans. The game was thrilling, and great batting by Steve Smith, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson coupled with the amazing century by Glenn Maxwell coaxed Australia to a lofty 376 run total. Sloppy bowling by Perera, Prasanna and Mathews encouraged the Aussies to smack the ball about, but Sri Lanka answered in kind. Sangakkara again looks the tournament’s best batsman as he helped Sri Lanka reach the 300 mark. A good innings by Dinesh Chandimal was the last point at which Sri Lanka looked a threat as they were eventually all out for 312.

England vs Bangladesh
England was taught a cricketing lesson by Bangladesh on Monday as firstly the Tigers’ batsmen made the stale English bowling work against them, and then the Bangladesh bowlers coaxed the English batsmen into committing to the ball and losing wickets. A brilliant century by Mahmudullah and a cool 89 runs by Rahim was what made the Bangladesh total of 275 off uninspiring by bowling from the likes of Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad. Brilliant bowling by Hossain and Mortaza during the English batting innings meant that English wickets were regularly falling. Although Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes made a decent stand in England’s lower order, the English were eventually all out for 260 leaving Bangladesh to take a well-deserved victory of 15 runs, and leaving England behind in the group-stages of the World Cup.

BetXchange Predictions: India Vs Ireland (10 March)
It has been said before that Ireland is an impressive side in the World Cup, but to beat a team as strong as India takes more than good form and strength. Ireland’s claim to fame seems to be their batting quality, especially in the form of Balbirnie and Joyce. However they will need to be in extremely impressive shape to beat back the onslaught of intelligent bowlers like Ashwin and Shami. Additionally, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli with willow-in-hand are two of the most dangerous batsmen in modern cricket.
Verdict: a simple Indian victory

Wednesday’s match between Sri Lanka and Scotland will no doubt make it five out of five losses for the Scottish side as they will have a hard time trying to bowl out the likes of Sangakkara, Thirimanne and Jayawardene.

BetXchange Predictions: South Africa vs UAE (12 March)
South Africa should beat UAE, but doing so conclusively will help them with regards to momentum in the knockout stages. A change-around of the squad may give Phangiso a chance to take some wickets, and may even help bring a needed spark to forms of both Parnell and De Kock.
Verdict: A comfortable South African victory

BetXchange Predictions: New Zealand vs Bangladesh (13 March)
Bangladesh may give New Zealand something to think about when they travel to Hamilton for their game on Friday. Hossain and Mortaza look like a bowling force which matches the batting of Mahmudullah, Rahim and Al Hasan well. But New Zealand have easily the best bowlers in Southee and Boult for this World Cup, and if they can remove the Bangladeshi trio in their innings then New Zealand should have another easy victory.
Verdict: a Victory for New Zealand

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 06.03-2015

ICC Update 06.03.2015

A huge week in terms of ICC cricket action. Our last update ended with an English victory over Scotland on Monday. Since then we have witnessed more upsets, and continual displays of enthusiastic and talented cricketing. Last Tuesday West Indies broke a substantial amount of ICC records as Chris Gayle posted a record high 215 runs off some Zimbabwean bowling, taking full advantage of the powerplay. Him and Marlon Samuels (133 not out) recorded the biggest partnership of 372, while Gayle hit 16 sixes, putting him in line with AB De Villiers’ record.

Zimbabwe attempted to answer the West Indies score when Sean Williams looked comfortable at the crease with Craig Ervine, but once they were respectively bowled for 76 and 52, the rest of the Zimbabwean order toppled to Jerome Taylor’s bowling. Jason Holder and Chris Gayle also bowled well.

UAE must have been anticipating their first World Cup victory when Shaiman Anwar was eventually caught behind by the Irish wicket-keeper for a total of 106. His century put UAE in a good position when they walked off the field after 50 overs with 278 runs. Good bowling by Paul Sterling at the beginning of UAE’s innings is what stymied a stronger UAE run-rate. It took all of Ireland’s innings to make the required runs. They did well after they were sitting on 4 for 97 runs in the 25th over, and Gary Wilson and Kevin O’Brien managed somewhat of a revival to help get Ireland over the finishing line with only four balls left in hand.

Scotland only managed to make a measly 210 runs against Afghanistan last week Wednesday in Dunedin. No Scottish batsman took the initiative at the crease and bowlers Shapoor and Dawlat Zadran took the game by the horns and pulled the Scottish batting apart. But it wasn’t plain sailing for Afghanistan either, and although Shenwari put the team ahead by scoring 96 runs, other batsmen fell around him as bowlers Richie Berrington and Josh Davey laid siege. Intelligent batting at the end by S. Zadran and Hassan helped bring Afghanistan victory with only 3 balls to spare.

Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh conclusively last week Thursday, and the Sri Lankan innings was a first class batting display as Dilshan and Sangakkara both made their centuries while Thirimanne opened the batting with a half-century. The three posted a score of 332 that could not be matched by Bangladesh who felt the sting of fast-bowler Lasith Malinga as they were bowled all-out for 240, Sri Lanka winning by 92 runs.

South Africa vs West Indies
South Africa ruthlessly beat West Indies last Friday as Amla, Du Plessis and Rossouw held their own at the crease before AB De Villiers smashed 162 runs off only 66 balls. He helped South Africa attain 408 runs after 50 overs, and promising Windies bowler Jerome Taylor looked powerless to halt the South Africans. West Indies, however, were made to suffer the trickery of the Proteas’ Imran Tahir whom, with the help of Morkel and Abbott, decimated the Windies batting as they were bowled all-out for 151, 257 runs short of their required total.

Australia vs New Zealand
Australia was the next team asked to survive the brilliant New Zealand bowling, and they were no luckier than previous opposition as Trent Boult (5 for 27) crushed the lower order, while Vettori and Southee cleaned up at the beginning of the Australian innings, limiting Australia to a poor 151. But the bowling of both teams was in top form, which was evident when Mitchell Starc picked up 6 wickets for only 28 runs. New Zealand were only just the better team, probably because of the fact that they were playing at home, and New Zealand had Kane Williamson to thank for staying at the crease and guiding New Zealand to a close victory as they beat their neighbouring rivals by 1 wicket.
Saturday’s other game saw India bowl out UAE for only 102 runs whereby Ashwin took 4 wickets. All it took was a quick innings by Sharma and Kohli to make the UAE score in only 19 overs.

England vs Sri Lanka
England was made to suffer yet again at the 2015 World Cup when Sri Lanka answered the good English batting innings with some even better batting. England were happy to post a total of 309 runs, where Joe Root made a comfortable 121, but yet again it seems to be the English bowling that lacks any form of variation. Bowlers Anderson, Broad, Woakes, and even the slightly better Finn were made to look silly in front of skilled and experienced batsmen like Thirimanne and Sangakkara who both found their way to centuries, and Dilshan, who made 44 runs. Sri Lanka won by 9 wickets.
The other Sunday match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan was a close affair as Pakistan survived until the 5oth over, but decent Zimbabwean bowling restricted the Pakistan run rate and limited the men in green to a mediocre total of 235. Zimbabwe looked comfortable with Taylor and Williams at the crease, but was made to suffer when Wahab Riaz crippled Zimbabwe’s lower order, leaving them 20 runs short of their required total.

Midweek games saw giants tackle underdogs as South Africa downed Ireland in a batting spectacle as South Africa made 411 runs, before bowling out Ireland for only 210. Amla was made man-of-the-match after making 159 runs. Australia won in similar fashion when they made 417 runs against Afghanistan on Thursday, and bowled out the weaker team for 142. David Warner made 178 runs for Australia in that fine Aussie display. Pakistan also trumped UAE when they made 339 runs, before bowling the Arabians for 210.

Yesterday’s game saw Scotland make a comfortable 318 runs against Bangladesh, with Kyle Coetzer posting a total of 156. It took some good all-round batting by the Bangladeshis Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Rahim and Hasan to make the required 319 as Bangladesh won by 6 wickets. Today’s action between India and West Indies is still being played by the time of writing, and although West Indies has posted a weak 182 runs, Jerome Taylor again looks on form as India look equally weak at the crease. Who can predict the final outcome?

BetXchange Predictions: South Africa vs Pakistan
South Africa will need to win the next game against Pakistan if they are to solidly convince their critics that they are strong Champion contenders. More emphasis must be put on bowling variation and threat as it seems that the Proteas batters have settled in. De Villiers, Amla and Du Plessis have found their feet, and Miller knows how to whack, but Steyn and Abbott need to find more wickets in order for South Africa to look like a real world cup winning team. Pakistan, meanwhile, look weak at times, but they have also found recent World Cup form, and their threat lies in their two bowlers Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz. Proteas, given positivity, are the most likely team to win though.
Verdict: A South African victory

The other Saturday match is between Zimbabwe and Ireland, and Zimbabwe must win if they want to go through to the knockout stages.

BetXchange Predictions: New Zealand vs Afghanistan
Although Afghanistan look like a strong team that will no doubt make a fine addition to any future cricket world cups, to think that they stand a chance of beating the solidly in-form side that is New Zealand is asking a lot from them. New Zealand bowlers Southee, Boult and Vettori should tear through the Afghanistan batsmen.
Verdict: A strong New Zealand victory

BetXchange Predictions: Australia vs Sri Lanka
The hardest prediction this weekend is that of the match between Australia and the in-form Sri Lanka. Whether trailing or starting, the Sri Lankan opening batsmen have proven themselves to be some of the best in the world this World Cup. One feels that if Dilshan, Thirimanne and Sangakkara are made comfortable at the crease, then they should win. Australia will need to play better than they have so far in order to beat the Sri Lankans. Marsh will need to keep up with Johnson and Starc on the bowling front in order to end the Sri Lankan dominance.
Verdict: A very close Australian win

BetXchange Predictions: England vs Bangladesh
England still looks one of the weaker teams in the tournament, and while most will believe that this is generally a weak English side, there are those few that believe they have not found their form. Bangladesh provides the perfect opportunity for late group stage resurgence, but the English bowling has to be much better. Anderson, Broad, Finn and Woakes need to find the variation that ensures wickets, and the responsibility to remain consistent. Bangladesh batsmen like Iqbal, Al Hasan and Rahim will make the most of shoddy bowling.
Verdict: A close English victory

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 23.02-2015

ICC Weekend Update

Another brilliant weekend of cricket went on display at the ICC World Cup. Although the match between Australia and Bangladesh was rained out due to the ominous cyclones battering Australia’s east coast, two cricket giants were downed with relative ease elsewhere.
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New Zealand vs England
Wellington was dressed in black on Friday as New Zealand played England at the Regional Stadium. But it was the Kiwis that were the brighter players as Tim Southee almost put the entire English batting order to his sword as he claimed 7 wickets for only 33 runs, a New Zealand record. He hit the off stump four times and took another three batsmen to some good catching by the rest of the team. The English batting, hoping that Bell and Ali would provide the much needed opening embattlements, failed absolutely. Only Joe Root attempted to rally England, but was also felled by an Adam Milne ball. England was soon all out for 123 in the 34th over. New Zealand hoped to answer England’s score in as little time as possible. New Zealand was triumphant, winning by 8 wickets. Most betting predictions were correct for this match, seeing quite a few punters walk away with big bucks this past weekend.
http://youtu.be/p3FhkqB8Nvw

Pakistan vs West Indies
Again Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle failed to perform for West Indies as they were hastily bowled for 28 runs at Hagley Oval by composed-looking Pakistan bowlers. The Windies learned from their mistakes after the Ireland game, though, and the rest of the batting order was solid. Darren Bravo was looking like an anchor for the Windies before being taken off due to hamstring troubles, but good innings by Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell put West Indies in a good position at 310 after 50 overs.
If there was any intention of a fight back by Pakistan, it was quickly replaced by dread as Jerome Taylor took three of the match’s most important wickets in Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan and Haris Sohail. Jason Holder’s other wicket made it 4 wickets for 1 run. Misbah-Ul-Haq also fell quickly, and Pakistan’s fate was sealed. Some good batting by Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal took Pakistan past the 100 mark to avoid embarrassment, but the excellent Windies bowling had Pakistan at 160 all out; a Windies win by 150 runs.

Sri Lanka vs Afghanistan
Sri Lanka was expecting a swift victory when they played Afghanistan on Sunday, but they were surprised by some good Afghan batting, a partnership between Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari being particularly effective. Sri Lanka suffered a scare in their innings, though, as openers Thirimanne and Dilshan both went for ducks. It took the tenacious Mahela Jayawardene to secure a decent run rate as he went out for a century and his partnership with Angelo Mathews to help Sri Lanka to a victory of 4 wickets. Afghanistan can be proud with their efforts, and the in-form Hamid Hassan will be consolation for any team.

South Africa vs India
Not even a neutral cricket fan would have expected the eventual outcome of the Proteas-India game on Sunday in Melbourne. India went to the crease looking forward to making an impact, and after the initial slip-up by Sharma, India went to extremes to punish shoddy South African bowling, particularly by Wayne Parnell. Shikhar Dhawan made 137 off 146 balls, putting India solidly on the front foot. Good partnerships between Dhawan and Virat Kohli, as well as Ajinkya Rahane, put India through to make a 307 total.
South Africa couldn’t keep up with the Indians in their innings when they showed some of their worst batting in recent years. Amla and De Kock were both caught after pulling their shots, while De Villiers and Miller were run out. Only Du Plessis could make a mark, but after some terrific bowling by Ashwin on the lower order batsmen South Africa were resigned to being bowled all out for 177, India winning by 130 runs.
http://youtu.be/BnCX7LyahwM

England vs Scotland
England needed a strong performance after their initial losses at the beginning of the tournament. Scotland had to chase a decent English total of 303 runs, but some decent bowling and neat fielding all round meant that Scotland were severely restricted. While Kyle Coetzer was largely resistant to England’s bowling, his compatriots on the other side of the crease could never form a decent partnership with him. Before long Scotland fell for 184 runs in the 43rd over, England victorious by 119 runs.
This week’s matches before the weekend sees the in-form Ireland take on the tournament’s underdog UAE. Betting will probably favour an Ireland win. Pundits will also be behind a Scottish win on Wednesday as they take on Afghanistan. Sri Lanka plays Bangladesh in Melbourne, and is most likely the closest of all the week’s matches. Make sure to place your bets with SA’s Leading Bookmaker BetXchange.

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 19.02-2015

Midweek ICC World Cup action has given us plenty of entertainment in the warm-up for the weekend’s matches. Although there were no major shockers like that of the West Indies-Ireland match, there were, however, good performances by some of the tournament’s underdogs.

New Zealand vs Scotland
New Zealand played their second game of the tournament when they faced Scotland on a sunny Tuesday in Dunedin. The match against one of the tournament’s underdogs, Scotland, looked to end very early as they went out to bat first. Wickets were felled as New Zealand bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee managed to restrict Scotland to 12 for 4. The Scottish run rate only picked up once Matt Machan and Richie Berrington made their way to the crease to make a partnership of 97 runs. It was the prolific Corey Anderson that managed to spoil the Scottish insurgency by claiming both Machan and Berrington’s wickets. Before long the rest of the Scottish order fell to some clever Vettori bowling, limiting Scotland to 142 all out.

New Zealand clearly wanted to chase the runs from very early in their innings. The New Zealand batsmen showed that intent as they looked often for the boundary. Their efforts, though, meant that they opened themselves up to some good bowling by Scotland. Not a single New Zealand batsman made a considerable mark on the scoreboard, and bowlers Iain Wardlaw and Josh Davey kept picking up wickets. This meant that while New Zealand’s run rate was up, they also had fewer batsmen to chase Scotland’s runs. In the end, though, Scotland’s score of 142 was too low to stop the Kiwi advance as New Zealand eventually won by 3 wickets.

Bangladesh vs Afghanistan
Bangladesh played Afghanistan on Wednesday evening in Canberra where some good Afghani bowling limited the Bangladeshis to 119 for 4 into the 30th over. The Bangladeshis, who batted first, only came into their stride when the partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan pushed the Tigers’ total past the 200 mark. The Afghanis made a decent effort of staying at the crease, but their inability to make runs meant that their run rate was averaged around 3.78 an over. They were bowled out for 162, well short of Bangladesh’s 267 total.

Zimbabwe vs UAE
UAE put up a valiant effort against an experienced Zimbabwean side as they batted first and managed a 285 total. This was due to two successful partnerships first between Chandran and Khan, and then Patil and Anwar, both of 82 runs. Zimbabwe’s inability to capitalise on some UAE batting errors meant that they put a decent amount of runs on the board to which Zimbabwe had to answer. Answer they did as they managed to creep up on UAE’s total. A batting romp by Sean Williams meant that Zimbabwe managed UAE’s score by the 48th over, winning by 4 wickets.

BetXchange Preview: New Zealand vs England
England will have to make good after their opening loss to Australia when they take on New Zealand in Wellington on Friday, being no easy task since New Zealand has already played two games, winning both. England will have to make sure that their batsmen, like Ali and Root, have the staying power while they tighten up their act while fielding, creating more dot balls and putting pressure on the New Zealand batsmen. But New Zealand will feel that they can put up a fight on the batting front with the likes of McCullum, Williamson, Anderson and Elliot all showing considerable form. Coupled with excellent bowling by Boult, Southee and Vittori, New Zealand are the team to beat. Remember to place your bets on BetXchange’s Keen Cricketer Promotion to predict the winner of the game!
Verdict: A win for New Zealand

BetXchange Preview: Australia vs Bangladesh
Bangladesh will have to be on top form to beat the tournament’s favourites, Australia, in Brisbane on Saturday. Australia will be looking for their second win, relying on the batting of Aaron Finch and company to make the runs, while the three Mitchells (Stark, Johnson and Marsh) will be prowling for wickets. Make sure to place your bets on the outcome of the game by joining in on BetXchange’s Keen Cricketer promotion.
Verdict: A win for Australia

BetXchange Preview: South Africa vs India
South Africa must neaten up their game when they play India on Sunday. The opening order of batsmen must learn not to rely so much on the middle order, as was the case when De Kock and Amla were dismissed early when playing Zimbabwe. The same can be said for Dale Steyn’s performance as he will be looking for a few wickets, making sure those proficient batsmen such as Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina are not able to find form. India will be looking for a performance similar to Sunday, where the pacey Mohammed Shami took four wickets against Pakistan. Place bets on the outcome of the match with BetXchange’s Keen Cricketer Promotion.
Verdict: A very close win for South Africa

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 16.02-2015

Australia and New Zealand have played host to the first smatterings of World Cup cricket matches. The weekend did not disappoint as cricket fans have already been thrilled by close encounters and controversial upsets.

New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
The Pool 1 opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was played in the host’s Hagley Oval, Christchurch. Sri Lanka decided to field first, expecting rain later in the day, but it proved hazardous as terrible bowling by Lasith Malinga helped New Zealand’s opening partnership rake in crucial runs. Captain Brendon McCullum, who made an impressive 65 off 49, was a victim to the Triple-Nelson as he was caught off a Rangara Herath ball when New Zealand were 111 runs up. New Zealand then suffered a minor speed-wobble with regards to run rate before Corey Anderson made his way to the crease. The twenty-four year old all-rounder showed his potential when he blasted 75 off 46 balls, helping New Zealand reach 331 runs after their 50 over innings. Sri Lanka’s only bright moment was the two overs bowled by Jeevan Mendis, the leg-break bowler who scavenged two wickets mid-way through New Zealand’s innings.

Sri Lanka was hard-pressed to find runs when their innings commenced. The entire order was out by the 47th over, 98 runs short of the New Zealand total. While opening batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, and later Sangakkara and Matthews made decent headway into the total set by New Zealand, no other batsman looked like stepping up to the crease with the intention to reach target. Ultimately it was the responsible and effective New Zealand bowling that caught the Sri Lankans as Daniel Vettori and Trent Boult dismissed the important Sri Lankan hitmen, while yet again Corey Anderson impressed by sending off a fewer lower order batsmen, marking a win for New Zealand and the end to the first match of the tournament.

Australia vs England
The second match was also a Pool 1 highlight as it was played between the pool’s most likely qualifiers, hosts Australia and England. England disappointed, however, as Australia crushed through its batting order by the 42nd over without having reached Australia’s lofty total of 342 runs. The second host’s impressive performance was largely due to the Australian batting where an inexperienced Aaron Finch made 135 off 128 balls, swatting three sixes and allowing a number of other batsmen to form a partnership with. Two such batsmen, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell helped Australia attain 342. England could only answer Australia’s ferocious batting with timely wickets from Stuart Broad and a very impressive five wicket taking Steven Finn.

By the time England’s innings was underway they were under severe pressure by the Australians. Where Aaron Finch was the hero of Australian batting, Mitchell Marsh was that for the bowling line-up. Having bowled 9 overs with an economy of under 4 runs an over, Marsh not only forced a limit on England’s run-rate, but claimed 5 of the match’s most important wickets felling Gary Balance, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and most importantly Ian Bell. Although England’s middle-order muster managed to tick over the runs with the likes of James Taylor and Chris Woakes achieving a reasonable strike rate, the batting was otherwise flat. By the time James Anderson was run out by the 42nd over England had only managed a disappointing 231 runs, leaving the Australians victorious.

South Africa vs Zimbabwe
Match 3 on Sunday in Hamilton, New Zealand between the Proteas and Zimbabwe ended with an expected South African victory. However, the match which was also expected to be plain-sailing for the Proteas, wasn’t quite so easy. Proteas started the match batting but were quickly shocked by the pacey Zimbabweans who sent the Proteas’ most important batters packing. Quinton De Kock and Hashim Amla fell most unexpectedly while Faf Du Plessis and AB De Villiers were also picked off without setting up a promising strike rate for South Africa. The batting worries ended, however, when David Miller and JP Duminy stepped up to the crease. Most impressive was David Millar’s 138 not out off 92 balls, who smacked 9 sixes in his impressive World Cup start, helping South Africa make a 339 run total.

Zimbabwe’s batting was equally impressive, and had the Proteas camp worried when batsmen Chamu Chibhabha and Hamilton Ma Sakadza made a 105 run partnership early on in the game. Quickly closing in on the South African total, it required the entire Proteas’ bowling force to cripple the Zimbabwean offense. Imran Tahir, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel made some impressive overs and finally ended what could have been a Zimbabwean upset. Zimbabwe was all out for 277, 62 runs short of South Africa’s 339. The game leaves South Africa pleased with a win in the tournament, but Zimbabwe equally pleased with their good performance.

India vs Pakistan
Match 4 was another highly anticipated match between two of cricket’s oldest rivals. It all went down in Adelaide’s Oval on Sunday as India started on the crease first. Although losing Rohit Sharma early, the powerful Virat Kohli stepped up to make 107 runs, sometimes comfortably with Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina. The three batsmen caused nightmares for Pakistan, and their headache was only alleviated when the intelligent-bowling Sohail Khan managed to topple a few Indian wickets. Sohail also helped rejuvenate the fielding Pakistani’s who stopped India short by capping them at 300 runs.

With the wealth of experience in the Pakistan team, 300 seemed an attainable target. If India’s batting seemed to disappoint when facing the Sohail threat, Pakistan was equally disappointing. Veteran Younis Khan and middle-order stalwarts Sohaib Maqsood and Umar Akmal fell without much resistance, the latter two not even getting on the scorecard. Yet again the Pakistan batting had to rely on captain Misbah-Ul-Haq to put up a fight, and with the help of Boom Boom Afridi may have offered an upset were it not for some good bowling by Mohammed Shami whom helped bowl Pakistan all out for only 224. The result left India looking like favourites in the tournament.

Ireland vs West Indies
Ireland made World Cup 2015’s first shocker by trumping West Indies’ score of 304 runs in their 46th over. What seemed a score that they could defend, the West Indies was disappointing when bowling to some strong Irish batting. When the West Indies went out to bat they did so without the usual flair, but managed to put runs on the scoreboard, especially when considering the partnership between Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy in the middle order. Ireland, with the help of bowler George Dockrell, managed to contain the West Indies advance, but otherwise 304 was a score that could be defended by the Windies.

The West Indies bowling disappointed though. Jason Holder and Kemar Roach struggled to get wickets and keep down the Irish strike rate. Only Jerome Taylor could dent the Irish batting that saw them leap toward their target. Batsmen Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce and Niall O’Brien all made it over their half centuries, and a six by John Mooney in the 46th over saw the Irish beating the West Indies and causing a great upset at the beginning of the tournament.

BetXchange Preview: New Zealand vs Scotland
Match 6 of the ICC World Cup will be played between New Zealand and Scotland at the University Oval in Dunedin, New Zealand. Hosts will be looking to claim their second victory in as many matches, and will be favourites after they beat Sri Lanka on Saturday. New Zealand will be hoping to keep things similar to their first match, and fans will be hoping that players like Boult, Vettori and Anderson perform as well. Scotland will be hoping to cause an upset on Tuesday though. Players to look out for are bowlers Alasdair Evans and John Davey, while opening batsman Kyle Coetzer and the big-hitting Matt Machan will hopefully drive forward the Scottish run rate. This might not be enough to stop the in-form New Zealand though.
Verdict: A win for New Zealand

AUTHOR: Rhyse A Crompton    

JOHANNESBURG 15:00 15.01-2015

The last ICC Cricket World Cup took place in 2011 and was the 10th Cricket World Cup. It was co-hosted by Sri Lanka, India and, for the first time, Bangladesh. In addition Pakistan was supposed to co-host but the ICC cancelled this. In the end India was victorious and defeated Sri Lanka in the final on the 2nd of April 2011. On their road to victory they defeated Pakistan in the Semi-Finals and Australia in the Quarter-Finals.

The Cricket World Cup 2015 will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand with 14 matches to be played across Australia and 23 matches to be played across New Zealand. This year the Opening Ceremony will take place on the 13th of February and the first 2 matches are set to be played on the 14th of February. All ICC Cricket World Cup matches are One Day Internationals and are played over 50 overs.

The teams have been split into Pool A and Pool B. The teams and their Current World Rankings are as follows:

Pool A

England (1)
Australia (4)
Sri Lanka (5)
Bangladesh (8)
New Zealand (9)
Afghanistan
Scotland

Pool B

South Africa (2)
India (3)
Pakistan (6)
West Indies (7)
Zimbabwe (10)
Ireland
United Arab Emirates

Even through England are currently ranked first in the international standings they
are yet to win an ICC Cricket World. They almost tasted victory when they finished Runners-up in 1979, 1987 and 1992. Similarly South Africa, currently world number 2, have also never tasted victory at the Cricket World Cup, the closest they came to victory ware the Semi-Finals in 1992, 1999 and 2007.

Australia however have fought their way to the top 4 times already. They won their first Cricket World Cup in 1987 but had to wait a long 12 years before they would raise the cup again. In 1999 however they began a winning streak and dominated the ICC Cricket World Cup having come out as the Champions 3 times in a row (1999, 2003 and 2007).

Who do you think will come out on top this year? Will England or South Africa finally have the victory they have been fighting for? Will Australia, world number 4, win their 5th World Cup? Or will India, Sri Lanka or Pakistan swoop in and carry the Cup home? Whatever your prediction and whomever you choose to back don’t forget to place your bets with SA’s Leading Bookmaker at: https://www.betxchange.co.za/

AUTHOR: Petra Pavlovic   
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