ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: A curtain raiser
Weather can play a spoilsport to the mega event, as rain is expected at both the venues
Sandeep Kumar Delhi
In few hours from now, the cricketing world will be holding its breath as the ICC World Cup 2015 kicks off in Christchurch. A full crowd in excess of 20,000 is expected at the Hagley Oval, the venue where the home team New Zealand will be playing the Asian giants Sri Lanka. The Kiwis are in great form at the moment.
The squad is fully fit and their bowling has been able to unsettle the best of teams. It has never been easy to deal with the Kiwi bowlers in the bouncy and windy home conditions. The pace- trio of Tim Southee, Adam Milne, and Trent Boult has bowled well all through the summers. Ross Taylor is back among runs and Kane Williamson is yet to start off on the wrong foot for a long time. With allrounders like Corey Anderson and wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi and Brendon McCullum the Black caps seem to have the best chance to win cricket's biggest extravaganza.
Key players: Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson
Asian giants Sri Lanka have the luxury of being the only side with an experienced and settled middle order. Tillakaratne Dilshan return to form and his centuries in recently concluded ODI series against the Kiwis is a big boost for the Islanders. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene’s failure is a cause of worry. Sri Lanka enjoys a healthy lead over the Kiwis in the World Cup, and has defeated them in their last five World Cup meetings. The last time New Zealand beat Sri Lanka in a World Cup match was in 1992.
Key players: Dilshan, Angelo Mathews
In another match, Australia will lock horns with their oldest rival, England. Australia is definitely the best prepared team, as they go into the World Cup after a thumping tri-series win over England and India. Despite the absence of Michael Clark, batting order is balanced and the presence of James Faulkner, Glen Maxwell and Mitchel Marsh make the lower order formidable. Mitchell Johnson, their ace bowler is well supported by Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood.
Key players: Glen Maxwell, David Warner, Johnson
For England the situation is not so confusing. They have finally found out their perfect XI. However, their bowlers seem to be more promising than the batting order. But, Joe Root and Eoin Morgon can be a cause of worry for the Australian bowlers.
Key Players: Root, Ian Bell, James Anderson
Conditions: Weather can play a spoilsport as rain is expected at both the venues.