ICC Cricket World Cup Update

| June 14, 2019 | Reply

(The pre-tournament article with recommended bets can be found here.)

Following Monday’s washed-out fixture between West Indies and South Africa, the ICC Cricket World Cup reached a third of the way through the group stage.

All teams have played 3 matches each, except South Africa (4) and India (2). Two teams remain unbeaten – New Zealand and India – and only Afghanistan and South Africa are yet to record a victory, although the latter picked up a share of the points on Monday courtesy of the English weather.

Although there is a very long way to go in the tournament, at this stage it may be useful to split the ten teams into two groups; the five most likely to be competing for the four semi-final spots – India, Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies (Group A for the purposes of this article) – and the five who will probably finish in the bottom half of the table – Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and South Africa (Group B).

Here are the standings after Tuesday 11th June:

TEAM M W L T N/R PT NRR
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 0 6 2.163
England 3 2 1 0 0 4 1.307
India 2 2 0 0 0 4 0.539
Australia 3 2 1 0 0 4 0.483
Sri Lanka 4 1 1 0 2 4 -1.517
West Indies 3 1 1 0 1 3 2.054
Bangladesh 4 1 2 0 1 3 -0.714
Pakistan 3 1 1 0 1 3 -2.412
South Africa 4 0 3 0 1 1 -0.952
Afghanistan 3 0 3 0 0 0 -1.493

 

Although New Zealand couldn’t do any more than pick up three wins from three so far, they have had the easiest start to the tournament with each game so far being ones they would have expected to win (all in Group B)…

It looks as if their game against India on Thursday is also in danger of succumbing to the elements and it’s not hard to imagine they’d be secretly pleased about that. Should that be the case, they would be in a very strong position, especially with the likelihood of rivals having to split the spoils against lesser sides with June having turned into October.

This would leave our bet on New Zealand to win the tournament in good shape, with progression likely. With 7 points on the board and five matches remaining, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, along with England, Australia and West Indies, their chances of reaching the semi-final would be high.

There have only been two matches between ‘Group A’ teams, resulting in India defeating Australia and the latter beating West Indies. Of the nine completed contests between a Group A team and a Group B team, eight have gone as expected and only Pakistan’s victory against an unusually under-par England the exception. As West Indies have also had a ‘no result’ as well as their loss to Australia, Friday’s scheduled game against England looks to hold significance because it will be a second loss for one of them.

In Group B, Pakistan’s success against England certainly didn’t help our cause in backing them to finish bottom. However, they have Australia and India in their next two fixtures while Afghanistan and South Africa meet each other in between. Realistically, we need Pakistan to lose all remaining games and for Afghanistan to pick up a point or two from one or more of their other remaining matches.

Our 100/1 bet on Matt Henry to be the tournament’s leading wicket taker was looking very promising after the second round of matches as he led the way. However, the previously injured Tim Southee is set to return and the timing couldn’t be worse for us or Henry…

Had Southee been fit to play against Afghanistan in New Zealand’s third game then Henry would have been safe from the axe, but a poor performance then, coupled with James Neeson taking a 5-wicket haul for the first time in his international career in his 79th game in all formats (he’d been hit out of the attack in only two overs in the previous match against Bangladesh), has probably changed the pecking order.

The other bowler we backed, Adil Rashid, hasn’t been at his best yet and has ground to make up. Wetter conditions may favour seam over spin and if England opt to play one rather than two spinners, Rashid will have a battle with Moeen Ali for that spot.

The tournament leading batsman is wide open. Three out of four of our selections have lost a game and a chance to the weather (and that may be four out of four on Thursday) and all could do with a big score to move up the table…

Tamim Iqbal has looked good before playing poor shots to get out and is now running out of time. In contrast, Shai Hope struggled against the short ball but played through it on his way to 68 against Australia and will undoubtedly be facing plenty of short stuff in the coming weeks. However, if he can cash in against sides without such pace as the Australian opening attack then he’s not without a chance.

Babar Azam has looked in typically good touch with scores of 22 and 63, but now needs to add a couple of big innings to that. Similarly, Martin Guptill blasted 73 not out in New Zealand’s opener, continued with 25 off 14 balls before getting himself out against Bangladesh but missed an opportunity to be up with the leaders by recording a duck against Afghanistan.

Jason Roy to be England’s top batsmen in on track after he scored the only 150 in the tournament so far and has a narrow lead currently.

Finally, the longer term bets for either Jos Buttller or Joe Root to win Sports Personality of the Year will be played out over the coming months but both have scored a century, continued to look in good touch and if either play a crucial part in an England triumph then we could be in business.

In summary, a mixed start and we’ll know a lot more about our chances in a around a fortnight. For now, all bets are still open and the New Zealand and Jason Roy bets look our best hope (but then again that’s not a surprise as they had the shortest odds), but we should have a better idea of where we stand in the next update.

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