Who Will Lift 2015 Cricket World Cup Trophy?

The 2015 Cricket World Cup gets underway in Christchurch, New Zealand tonight, before England enter the fray in the early hours of tomorrow morning, facing pre-tournament favourites Australia in front of 90,000 spectators at the MCG.

Here’s our little preview of this years tournament:

There are 14 teams competing in the tournament, and the group stage will be played over a month and will only result in eliminating 6 teams.  In all likelihood, this will leave the 8 most established nations to compete in the Quarter Finals (Australia, South Africa, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and West Indies).

But who will get their hands on the trophy?  Most experts believe that the winner will come from one of the two hosts – Australia and New Zealand.  These two sides are in the best form right now, Australia have won the tournament more times than anyone else, and New Zealand have over-performed in previous World Cups when they were distinct underdogs.

Is there any chance of seeing a new name on the cup?  In the 10 World Cups to date, Australia have won 4, West Indies and India have won 2 each, Sri Lanka & Pakistan have 1 apiece.  That leaves the most likely new winners to be New Zealand, South Africa & England.  New Zealand have a live chance, as outlined above, and South Africa are arguably the best 50 over team in the competition.  However, over the years South Africa have developed a reputation as ‘chokers’, which seems to diminish their chances of winning the trophy.  England have been beaten finalists on three occasions (most recently in 1992), and do appear to be capable of beating anyone on their day.  But this is England, and it’s a World Cup, so that probably won’t happen!!

With the growth of Twenty 20 cricket, is this World Cup still as important?  Twenty 20 cricket has brought the sport to the masses, down to the crash, bang, wallop nature of the game, but it’s not cricket in it’s purest form.  Test matches are always viewed as the real gauge of a team’s quality by the purists, but it doesn’t lend itself to the structure of a ‘World Cup’ tournament.  So, the 50 over version still retains its place as the most illustrious cricket trophy.

Any chance for an outsider?  Scotland won the Qualification Tournament (without Ireland & Bangladesh) and did record a recent victory over Ireland.  Ireland and Bangladesh have the biggest claims for making the Quarter Finals, although Scotland could perform well.

Verdict:  Australia to lift the trophy for the 5th time