If you’re a cricket fan, this is probably your favorite part of the summer. In fact, it might be your favorite part of the past four summers, because the Cricket World Cup has arrived in England and Wales, and the trophy is in our pocket! With the football season out of the way – with the exception of a few international games – attention can now turn to the sound of leather on willow.
This year’s tournament showcased the one-day variety at its best and most exciting, and shocks along the way, too. Pakistan was out of form coming into the tournament, and with the home advantage, England was considered among the favorites to win the whole thing.
If you’re the betting type, and you’d like to know our best bets for you to put your money on for events like this, we’re happy to give them to you. Even if you’re not, and you’d just like a little knowledge on the prime candidates so you can join in the conversation in the bar, we’ve got the information you need right here!
In truth, as the Pakistan vs. England result demonstrated, picking the winner in a one-day match can be something of a lottery. Form goes out of the window. It’s more like betting on a slot game at an online casino or its sister sites than it is predicting a regular sporting event, where your knowledge of the teams might give you an edge. You have no control over how a bet performs on a casino game; you’re just putting money in, hoping things fall your way, and counting your lucky stars if they do. If you’re lucky and it’s a great game, you might get some entertainment on the way. We have the same hopes for the cricket; even if we’re wrong with our predictions, we hope we enjoy the ride!
The Outright Favorites: England
England has always been considered to be the outright favorite to win the entire tournament by almost every major news source, which was proved in the end. Even papers that don’t usually dabble in sports were happy to back England’s chances. If they didn’t win it, there would have been serious questions asked as to what went wrong. They came into the tournament – for once – ranked number one in the world, and their recent form has been good.
Winning this tournament was precisely what coach Trevor Bayliss was hired for four years ago, and he only gets one shot at it. Whatever happens, we already know he’d be leaving after the tournament ends. He won’t want to go out a failure. So long as Jos Buttler continues to work miracles with the bat, he won’t need to. Butler can be the best in the world on his day, and almost propped the side up against Pakistan. He couldn’t do it all on his own, though, and will be looking to Joe Root in particular for support. Our only hesitancy is that this is England we’re talking about, and aside from the Rugby World Cup in 2003, they seldom win any global tournaments at all.
The Dark Horses: West Indies
With apologies to New Zealand, who also nearly won the tournament last time around, we’ve gone with the West Indies as our dark horses to win it all. On the surface this might have looked like a strange decision; they haven’t won a one day international series of any description for five years, but bear with us on this. We were making the call based on our expectation that England would be in the final whatever happens. Over the course of the past year, the West Indies have beaten England comprehensively in test cricket twice.
We appreciate that test cricket and one day cricket are different animals, but the squads are largely the same, and those matches will stick in the heads of both sets of players. If it comes down to it, the West Indies have a psychological advantage. Not only that, we seem to be watching a new star rising in the shape of Shimron Hetmyer, who couldn’t have a better role model than Jason Holder to help to shape his development. Shai Hope remains armed and dangerous every time he has a bat, too and there’s still life in Chris Gayle.
The Rank Outsiders: Australia
In the same way that everybody fancies England to win this tournament, absolutely nobody fancies Australia. That might just make them more dangerous than ever. Regardless of the difficult time they’ve had both on and off the field during the past couple of years, they’re still Australia, and they still believe they have a God-given right to success when it comes to cricket. The fact that nobody’s giving them any chance might just be enough to provoke them into winning it out of spite. It’s not as if they haven’t shown flashes of their true nature recently either. They’re coming off the back of their first one-day series victory in India for ten years, and they’ve also torn Pakistan to shreds in a way that England singularly failed to manage.
Justin Langer was the man in charge, and is his demeanor was the same as it was during his playing career, then he won’t be likely to accept failure very well – or, in fact, at all. Steve Smith and David Warner, after spending twelve months flagellating themselves in penance for the sandpaper-ball fiasco, are also back in the team. Regardless of whether or not you think they were punished sufficiently, they’re both there, and they’re both quality players. Don’t count them, or their country, out.
The fact we’re highlighting these three teams in particular doesn’t mean we were not aware of the qualities of the rest. We’ve already mentioned New Zealand, and very nearly went with them as our chosen outsiders. Everybody was well aware of the qualities of South Africa, and they could have something to say about the final reckoning, however, that did not really work out well. It has been a long six weeks of action, and by the end of it, we English players has bagged the trophy and won the prize!