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BettingPro's Great Debate: The 2019 Cricket World Cup

Ben Darvill 14 May 2019
The England team celebrate (credit:Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is almost upon us, and with the biggest trophy in cricket on the line, BettingPro's cricket experts Gary Emmerson and Ben Darvill have been discussing the ODI competition. 

Read More: Get 2019 Cricket World Cup betting tips & predictions here. 

Who do you think will win the World Cup? 

Gary: I can't go past England. They are the best one-day team, so many options in their line-up, they have home advantage and this comes at the start of a big summer. If the World Cup was coming after the Ashes, I'd be tempted to take on England. But this is the here and now and there's no distraction or fatigue to consider.

Ben: I couldn’t agree more with you on this one Gary. England, on their own patch with Jos Buttler and the likely inclusion of a 90mph+ bowler in Jofra Archer makes them near-irresistible. Obviously, India and New Zealand both look very strong with the bat, while England’s conditions are very reminiscent to New Zealand’s so they won’t feel too far from home. However, as the number one ranked ODI side in the world and with the majority of their players currently firing, I think that England are the only side to back as the favourites here. 

Can Australia put their awful form behind them and win the competition? 

Gary: After a bit of a disastrous period in ODIs, Australia look to have turned the corner a little. In some ways, they come into the World Cup without the expectations of previous editions. It's eight ODI wins in a row to firstly come from 2-0 to defeat India 3-2 and then whitewash Pakistan 5-0. Throw in the fact David Warner and Steve Smith return to the squad for the World Cup and they could be dark horses.

Ben: The return of Steve Smith is important to Australia, but Warner’s return to the team is the big one for me. 692 runs in 12 innings at an average of 69.20 in the 2019 IPL was an outrageous tally, and it once again displayed that form is temporary while class is permanent. It will be interesting to see whether he can put his ridiculous actions with Australia that got him banned behind him, and if he can go about smashing the opposition bowlers to all corners of the field, then we think a lot will be forgiven, at least from the Australian stands that is. However, is Warner nailed on to start? We would like to think so, but Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch have both impressed massively as the opening partnership for the Aussies, with Khawaja in particularly good form with the bat, while Finch is the ODI captain. Could it be that one of the three is moved to number three, or could one of them even get dropped? While this is a decision that will have to be made by the Aussies soon, it is an enviable problem to have, and it is very different to the sort of problems they seemed to have even a few months ago. While I am not sure they will win it due to the power of England, India and New Zealand, we think they will have a damn good go and likely get knocked out a step before the final. 

Who will be the player of the tournament? 

Gary: There are plenty of candidates here and we're in for a cracking tournament. But the left field one might just be David Warner. He's got a point to prove, redemption to seek and if Australia do well, then I expect he will have been key to it. He was averaging over 69 in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad and could be the player of the tournament.

Ben: This is a difficult one as there are so many players to choose from. I think David Warner is a good choice as far as player of the tournament goes, but because I don’t think they will win the competition, I am not sure whether he will do enough to take the player of the tournament award from a man in the winning team, although if he continues his IPL form then it probably wont matter if the Aussies don’t win. Instead, we are looking to the likes of Buttler, Joe Root, Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor to star across the tournament. Buttler is our choice as he continues to smash the ball to all parts of the stadium, and we think that while Root, Kohli and Taylor are supremely talented and consistent batsmen, Buttler’s ability to slam the ball over the rope from nearly any kind of delivery means he is as dangerous in over one as he is in the 50th. If Buttler is given any kind of width or a lax ball then he will make the most out of it, and you better believe he will be responsible for sending the ball sailing over the rope. Of course, it is also worth looking at the likes of Jofra Archer, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah to star with the ball, but it is so often the box-office of the batsmen that gets top billing, which is why we think it will be a man with the willow in his hand that stars. 

What is England’s best starting XI?

Gary: There are very few changes to make to the England side with many of the names picking themselves. I'd opt for Tom Curran over Woakes in the bowling attack, but, as it stands, Jofra Archer would be in if he is included in the final squad. 

Gary’s England XI: Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler, Stokes, Ali, Curran, Willey, Plunkett, Rashid

Ben: In all honesty, I would not change very much in the above team, with the batting lineup pretty much picking itself. Alex Hales may have been someone that could force his way into the side, but with Jonny Bairstow in such good form, we would not have been surprised to see Bairstow used instead of Hales even if the opener was available for selection. Jofra Archer would feature in my best XI (as long as he makes it into the final squad), but the question around who he would replace is a tough one. It will take a brave man to drop anyone from the team, but Archer’s talent is something that could win a World Cup for England. We would likely look to drop Liam Plunkett in favour of Archer’s pace, especially after David Willey starred with the ball in the closing stages of the second ODI against Pakistan, while Plunkett has not been overly impressive with regard to wicket taking this year, taking eight wickets in eight ODI’s. 

Ben’s England XI: Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan, Buttler, Stokes, Ali, Curran, Willey, Rashid, Archer. 

Follow the 2019 Cricket World Cup with our expert cricket writers at BettingPro.

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BettingPro's Great Debate: The 2019 Cricket World Cup

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is almost upon us, and with the tournament likely to bring some incredible fireworks, BettingPro's cricket experts have been discussing the pressing questions prior to the competition

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