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ICC World Cup 2015 preview: Awesome Aussies aiming to deliver

England (10/1 tournament joint-fourth favourites) have been drawn in the toughest pool for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2015, in Australia and New Zealand, as they have been handed both co-hosts as well as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group A. Afghanistan and Scotland make up the rest of the seven.

Luckily for them, though, the top four teams from both groups qualify for the quarters (there is no super six or eight) and Peter Moores’ men are 4/1 to finish top.

Players such as Ian Bell and youngsters Joe Root, James Taylor and Steven Finn are all in form, while England also have a potential match-winner in Jos Buttler. You can back the three-time runner-ups at 4/1 to exit the tournament at the semi-final stage.

Tournament favourites Australia (2/1), meanwhile, are also odds-on a 5/6 to win the pool, and it is hard to see past them claiming their fifth ODI World Cup, given their devastating form leading up to the tournament. Their football counterparts, the Socceroos, just lifted the Asian Cup on home soil too.

The Aussies gained victories in all four of their Tri Series matches with England and India in early 2015, and have the likes of explosive in-form batsmen David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell at their disposal.

In the bowling department, they are less well stocked, but can rely on world class seamer Mitchell Johnson and rising star Mitchell Starc.

Fellow Down Under nation and co-hosts New Zealand are also tempting chances to win their first World Cup at 5/1, and 10/3 to top Group A. They will be hoping star trio Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Brendan McCullum can deliver with the bat when needed.

World Twenty20 champions Sri Lanka shouldn’t be discounted either, and are tempting 12/1 tournament shouts. You can back Bangladesh, meanwhile, at 4/1 to shock one of the bigger nations by qualifying from the group and exiting the competition in the quarters.

In Group B, South Africa are the clear favourites to finish top, odds-on at 4/6. Surprisingly, they have never gone further than the semis at the ICC World Cup, but are 3/1 chances to go all the way, or 4/1 to be runners-up.

South Africa currently have the likes of world record century maker AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla to bat, as well as deadly bowler Dale Steyn amongst their ranks.

India will be their closest challengers in the group, according to Coral’s odds of 11/4, but the defending champions are in a poor run of form. They are of course expected to qualify, along with Pakistan and the West Indies, but the likes of Ireland and Zimbabwe will be ready to pounce on any slip up those trio make to reach the knockout rounds. The UAE make up Group B.

Ireland have caused a couple of shocks in World Cup competitions in recent years, including beating England in 2011, are 6/1 shouts to exit in the quarters.

Group A matches kick off the tournament, with New Zealand (odds-on at 1/2) up first against Sri Lanka (6/4), while England (21/10) face Australia (4/11) for the fourth time in a month hours later.

The following day, South Africa (1/33) clash with continental neighbours Zimbabwe (10/1) in the opening Group B fixture, before India’s (4/7) battle with neighbouring Asian nation Pakistan (13/10).

A tempting bet to take for the tournament is backing top two favourites and fellow southern hemisphere sides South Africa and Australia to meet in the final at 6/1.