Reviewing the ICC Cricket World Cup Favourites Three Weeks in

England no longer tournament favourites?
©Reuters
 

Three weeks on from England’s opening obliteration of South Africa at The Oval and the ICC Cricket World Cup table is starting to take shape. We’ve seen some tremendous performances from all of the early favourites to clinch a top-four place, as well as many of the dark horses like the West Indies and New Zealand. There’s a long way to go yet, with most teams needing to play six more games, but the results so far have been able to swing a few oddsmakers and make the former favourites and hosts not seem so appealing.

Pre-tournament favourites still in the running

In any major international sports tournament, it’s commonplace for the hosts to be given a little extra grace in the odds by the bookies as they’re playing all of their games on familiar ground. England was already ranked as the top ODI team in the world, with their position as the host only enhancing the opinion of them being favourites for this World Cup at +200.

However, as noted in the Cricket World Cup tips, while India was at longer odds of +300 or +333, they looked to be a better option. Having won 56 of their 86 ODIs since the last World Cup as well as standing with the best batting line-up and top wicket-taker in the world over the last couple of years, India was primed to go big in this tournament.

If you add in their recent experiences on English turf as well as the outstanding support that they get from the masses of Indians in the crowd each game, India starts to look more like the favourite.

Statements of intent from top teams

The only two teams to go undefeated as of June 12 are India and New Zealand. Admittedly, India started later than everyone else, but turning over pre-tournament dark horses South Africa by six wickets and then setting Australia a huge score to win by 36 runs has been a statement of intent.

After keeping Australia in check, India are suggested as second favorites in free Cricket World Cup tips at +250, with England staying at +200. The result wasn’t expected to hold Australia back, however, with the Aussies still at -800 to clinch a top-four place. That said, the result pulled in the odds of seeing an England versus India final to +250.

England, India, and Australia are all expected to land semi-final places by the time the last group game is played on July 6, but the fourth spot is still very much up for grabs. New Zealand has been on top form, toppling Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. While Bangladesh is rather underrated at this World Cup, the Kiwis are yet to face any top opponents, so their true ability is to be shown in their next three games against India, South Africa, and the West Indies.

The West Indies have endured an intermittent start to this World Cup. In the second game of the tournament, the West Indies came charging out of the gate with an emphatic seven-wicket win over the once-feared Pakistan. After picking apart the Aussies with their attack, the Windies’ often-ferocious batting choked. Despite the mighty Chris Gayle successfully reviewing two calls of out which would have seen him walk, he could only amass 21 runs by the time the third call stuck. In the end, their 273 runs saw the Windies miss out on a momentous win by just 15 runs.

Their third match against fellow dark horses South Africa was abandoned, so they need a jump start when they face England in their next match, reigniting a tantalizing rivalry. Over the winter, the two dueled to a thrilling 2-2 draw in their ODI series in the Caribbean. While it’s a different format, both teams boast much of the same cast from the T20 World Cup final of 2016, which saw the Windies claim an emphatic victory.

A win against England would put the Windies right back in the mix and potentially draw England back to joint-favorites with India. Who joins England, India, and Australia in the semi-finals looks to be a toss-up between New Zealand and the West Indies as it stands, but a tough run of games for the Kiwis should shed a better light on the matter.

©Cricket World 2019