Cricket World Cup 2015: The Contenders – Part 2

Part 1 of this article on Cricket World Cup 2015 had pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of the two leading contenders of the Cup. In this article, we take a look at some of the other formidable teams who are likely to have a serious impact on proceedings of the next two months.

New Zealand in Cricket World Cup 2015

Surely, there is no need to highlight the magnificent run of form which the Kiwis have enjoyed in the last one year. Brendon McCullum’s inspiring captaincy and an experience side have been the deciding factor in pulling New Zealand out of a prolonged stretch of demoralizing losses. Equally important has been the role played by the band of rising youngsters in Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson and Tom Latham.

New Zealand - One of the top contenders in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The Kiwis are expected to make it big at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

This is perhaps the first time in many years that we have seen a fine balance struck by the Kiwi selectors, between experience and youth. An otherwise inexperienced but energetic bowling line up led by Mitchell McClenaghan and Trent Boult has been tempered by the experience of seasoned campaigners like Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills. Luke Ronchi’s rise to prominence in the last 6 months means that the Kiwis no longer have to worry about the batting capabilities of their backup wicket keeper. The recent series victories against Pakistan and Sri Lanka will act as a morale booster for the Kiwis during the Cricket World Cup 2015.

England in Cricket World Cup 2015

It appears hard to believe, but a series of weak performances by asian teams do make England a strong contender for the Cricket World Cup 2015. While doubts over Eoin Morgan’s ability to led the side have surfaced after the losses to Australia in the recently concluded tri-series, England still have much to look forward too. Ian Bell and Joe Root at the top of the order have been in good form. Moeen Ali has complemented them well in most cases. The problem with England, however, lies in the bowling department which is desperately in need of some variety.

Stuart Broad has been disappointing for quite some time now, and this has made the task of leading the bowling unit doubly difficult for the aging Anderson. Experts believe that Anderson, even with his good command over swing bowling, may slowly be moving past his prime now. Steven Finn’s abilities are undoubtedly world class, but his consistency has been questionable on a few occasions in the recent past. Moeen Ali, much like his batting prowess, has also improved his bowling skills beyond all expectations. He would hope to play an important role in England’s chances in the Cricket World Cup 2015.

India in Cricket World Cup 2015

Even with a highly ineffective bowling department, India definitely looks in a better position to make an impact on the World Cup than Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies. A recent stretch of poor form and unending losses on foreign soil have made life difficult for the Men in Blue. But surely, one can bank on the abilities of Kohli, Dhoni and Raina to see the team through the bad patch. And, a change in fortune may definitely be on the cards!

Defending champions India in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

Defending champions India expected to be a contender for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The young Indian team is expected to have gained in confidence and experience, after spending more than two months in Australia, inspite of the crippling losses in Tests and ODIs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fit again and the prospects of Ravindra Jadeja’s full recovery have brightened too. However, there are lingering doubts on the form of opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan.

And for India to truly make an attempt at defending the World Cup title, the numerous problems with the opening combination have to be sorted out. Due to India’s stellar run in ICC tournaments under MS Dhoni’s leadership, there is hope that the Men in Blue will turn the corner.

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