Cricket World Cup: Clash of co-hosts and ODI record breakers
Coral cricket writers preview two crunch clashes coming up at the ICC World Cup, between South Africa and West Indies, who have recent record-breakers AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle to call upon, and then co-hosts New Zealand and Australia.
South Africa v West Indies
Both these nations go into this match having lost to arguably lesser opposition this competition already, and they will be going all out to ensure that they finish as high up in Pool B as possible to get a more favourable quarter-final.
South Africa are the 1/3 odds-on favourites for victory, given their strength in depth in both their batting and bowling departments, but will be hoping to avoid being bowled out again, as they were all out for just 177 against India.
Proteas captain De Villiers, who recently hit the quickest ever ODI century and is 10/3 to get the best score for his nation, said ahead of the game: “[The West Indies] are a dangerous team. I believe if you put enough pressure on them like any other cricket team they can crumble.
“We haven’t played well in the last game so we’ve got to make sure we look after our side. They do have weaknesses in the team and it’s important to push those buttons, especially in pressure situations.”
But one man who they will fear for sure is Windies wonder Gayle, who got his very own record last time out against Zimbabwe, as he hit the first ever World double hundred. He is also only the fourth person in history to manage that feat in an ODI match.
So back Jamaican-born Gayle at 5/2 to be best batsman for his nation, who are 9/4 for victory, once more.
New Zealand v Australia
The Black Caps top Pool A after three games, and will have a great chance to inflict defeat on their rivals and fellow co-hosts Australia, as they play them on home soil in Auckland. Meanwhile, umpiring the match will be New Zealand’s Billy Bowden and Englishman Michael Gough.
Australia are still the tournament favourites at 13/8, though, and are odds-on at 8/11 to win, following their disappointment of having their last fixture abandoned against Bangladesh due to heavy rain.
But the Aussies were impressive in their World Cup opener against England, thrashing them by 111 runs, with Yorkshire big hitter Aaron Finch smashing 135 from 128 deliveries. He is 10/3 to be top batsman for his team again.
Mitchell Marsh managed a five-for in that match, and he is 5/1 to get the best bowling figures once more, while Mitchell Johnson is priced at 11/4 in the same market.
New Zealand, though, were somehow even more impressive against the terrible English, with Tim Southee getting seven wickets on his side’s way to skittling them all out for just 123. He is 5/2 to be best Black Caps bowler in Auckland too.
With the bat, captain Brendan McCullum was most impressive that day, as his 77 from just 25 balls helped New Zealand to beat England’s total after just 12.2 overs. You can back him at 11/4 to get the highest score for his nation again.