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ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Preview - Group B

Short preview of Group B teams at the Cricket World Cup.

Can the Indian cricket team retain the World Cup?

Today's post presents a short preview of Group B teams. A group with the more likelihood of upsets with 7 teams in contention for the 4 knockout berths.

India

India are the defending champions and have a marketing campaign running on the line "Won't Give It Back". They have also been in Australia for nearly 3 months now in the course of which they have won a grand total of 1 game, a warm-up against Afghanistan.

Recent form shows an explosive, but misfiring, batting lineup combined with a pop-gun bowling attack and some not so good fielding. The schedule has the tougher games first and the easier (on paper) games later. Difficult to see them go far in the tournament.

World Cup Aim - Won't Give It Back. 

South Africa

A fantastic batting lineup backed up by a deadly bowling attack. On paper and form, they should be the favourites to win the World Cup. But then this is South Africa we are talking about. They should have won the World Cup at least twice and made it to the final at least 4 times. But in reality they have been finding new ways of losing out at the first opportunity.

Form suggests a first World Cup victory. History suggests they will be knocked out in the quarters. 

World Cup Aim - Get rid of the ‘chokers’ tag

Pakistan

They are the very definition of unpredictability. Also, they have been hit hard by the recent ICC crackdown on chucking. Yet, they have managed to unearth replacements in no time.

One thing which can be predicted about Pakistan with certainty is that the bowling talent pipeline never dries out. How much they progress will depend more on which Pakistan turns up to play.

World Cup Aim - Beat India for once and get that monkey off the back.

West Indies

Just a shadow of the once great team. Also riddled by too many player-board disputes and team selection issues. Yet, they can still pack a punch on their day, but they cannot take the quarter-final spot for granted. Both Ireland and Zimbabwe will be gunning for their head in the race to the knockouts.

World Cup Aim - Don't abandon the campaign midway like that India tour.

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe would have been a good cricketing nation if not for all the political troubles over the last decade and a half. They have been slowly rebuilding but are lacking the necessary resources. The warm-up performances have been heartening and given the West Indies's troubles they would certainly be in the running for a knockout spot.

World Cup Aim - Carry on rebuilding

Ireland

The Irish have been the success story of the last two World Cups. Yet they have been the victims of all the wrong-doings of the big boys of the cricketing world. They hardly get to play the big nations and the Irish national team is becoming a sort of a recruitment centre for England.

However, this time around, they have a good chance of making it to the knockouts but will they be able to ask the questions?

World Cup Aim - At least one if not more big boy scalps to their name (Pakistan/South Africa/India better watch out)

UAE

The UAE are back playing in the World Cup after a gap of 19 years and one should not expect much from them.

World Cup Aim - Avoid getting hammered in every game and try to beat the Irish.

Key Games 

  • India vs Pakistan
  • Zimbabwe vs West Indies
  • Zimbabwe vs Ireland
  • Ireland vs West Indes

South Africa, India, and Pakistan should make it to the quarterfinals from this group. The 4th place will be a tough fight between West Indies, Zimbabwe, and Ireland. This is certainly the more intriguing group.

Now, let the games begin.

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