Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ICC Cricket World Cup: Week Four Preview

ICC Cricket World Cup: Week Four Preview

Week Four Preview

Cricket fans will hope the weather improves as the race for places in the World Cup semifinals hots up this week.
After their defeat to India Pakistan join South Africa and Sri Lanka on board the struggle bus while Australia and New Zealand start the week at the top of the tree. India and England remain favourites to take the title though with both looking good.

Monday 17 June 

County Ground, Taunton (11:30)

West Indies
After promising starts for two of the less fancied sides things have balanced themselves out a little for Bangladesh and the West Indies.

Recent meetings between the sides have been tight affairs with Bangladesh beating the Windies in a tri-series just before the World Cup as well as the last two bilateral series home and away.

The West Indies have found their rhythm disturbed by the weather and will feel they were denied an opportunity to pick up a crucial win with the abandonment of their match against the Proteas.

The men from the Caribbean struggled against the part-time spin of Joe Root which should give Bangladesh some encouragement.

Verdict: Bangladesh to keep their hold over the Windies. 

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Old Trafford, Manchester (11:30)

Afghanistan have been well off the pace in English conditions but their hosts have a string of injury concerns.

England beat the West Indies in their last outing comfortably but Jason Roy suffered a hamstring injury in the field and skipper Eoin Morgan also received treatment for a sore back. Should Morgan not be fit to face Afghanistan the side will be captained by Jos Buttler.

Afghanistan have struggled with bat in hand - they are yet to pass 200 - and England may well feel comfortable enough to rest some key men.

England have slipped from being tournament favourites thanks to India's superb start but Afghanistan would need a miraculous improvement in all departments to get close.

Verdict: England should cruise home.

Wednesday 19 June 

Edgbaston, Birmingham (11:30)

New Zealand
South Africa
In 1999 these two sides met at Edgbaston with the Proteas coming away with victory on the day but the respective sides are in different places now and the Black Caps start as firm favourites.

New Zealand's batting has yet to really be tested but they remain undefeated after four matches and would have to play pretty badly not to make it into the semi-finals.

The Proteas, by contrast, will need to play very well, or at least well enough to win their remaining matches and keep themselves in the race. Three successive defeats started their Cricket World Cup and victory against Afghanistan has not convinced anyone of a new dawn for Faf du Plessis' men.

Both sides have very good bowling attacks but New Zealand's young quicks have really stood up and been counted with Matt Henry claiming 7 scalps and Lockie Ferguson 8 in the three wins they have enjoyed.

Verdict: New Zealand to crush South Africa's World Cup dreams again.

Thursday 20 June 

Trent Bridge, Nottingham (11:30)

Australia have made an almost perfect start to the competition and ended the previous week as the side on top of the log.

Aaron Finch smashed a brilliant hundred to mark his return to form against Sri Lanka and the team is loaded with match-winners in Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc.

Bangladesh won't be intimidated by Australia's renewed swagger but they do need their senior players to come to the fore as they did against South Africa.

The Tigers only ever ODI victory over Australia came in the United Kingdom back in 2005 in Cardiff.

Verdict: Australia should get their business done.

Friday 21 June 

Headingley, Leeds (11:30)

Sri Lanka 
England really should be looking to beat Sri Lanka but the Islanders could prove dangerous if the Headingley surface offers something to the bowlers.

Sri Lanka haven't looked like world beaters though and will need to apply themselves if they want to upset the hosts who are bent on winning their first World Cup.

Nuwan Pradeep has shown that he can be a tough nut to crack in English conditions while Lasith Malinga can still produce match-winning displays in the twilight of his career.

England will hope the disruptions to their batting order hasn't thrown them off course in their bid for glory. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are a fearsome opening pair who can destroy almost any side but England have so much batting power and could field a team that bats down to XI.

Verdict: Should be England.

Saturday 22 June 

Rose Bowl, Southampton (11:30)

Afghanistan have not found anywhere near the kind of performance they have proven themselves capable of but will look to summon the spirit of the Asia Cup where they earned a dramatic tie against their illustrious opponents.

India have a top order that is in supreme form and they swept aside Pakistan in a one-sided match last time out. Kuldeep Yadav also showed that he can be dangerous on any surface and justified his continued inclusion in the XI.

Virat Kohli's men enjoyed their last visit to the Rose Bowl, earning an emphatic six wicket victory over the Proteas in the opening game of their World Cup.

Hazrat Zazai showed glimpses of the talent that makes him one of Afghanistan's most promising batting talents but he needs to remain calm as do the entire top order who have failed dismally so far.

Verdict: Must be India.

Old Trafford, Manchester (14:30) 

West Indies
New Zealand 
This game could be a little gem with two teams who are quite evenly matched battling it out, though New Zealand have been the more consistent of the two.

The contest could have a massive bearing on the makeup of the top four with both still in the running to make the semi-finals.

This week will be one that determines if the Black Caps can kick on and challenge the likes of England and India for the crown.

A bilateral series whitewash was the result the last time the sides met in New Zealand with the Black Caps steamrolling over a Windies team in disarray. The West Indies have improved a lot since though and both sides play an entertaining brand of cricket.

Verdict: New Zealand to march on.

Sunday 23 June 

Lord's, London (11:30)

South Africa 
If South Africa can beat New Zealand their meeting with Pakistan will be yet another virtual quarter-final. The Proteas won the series between the two in South Africa earlier this year but it was a win that was hard fought and by a slender margin.

Pakistan have had flashes of brilliance at the 2019 World Cup but haven't been able to perform when it really matters. They will need to bounce back from a chastening defeat to India last Sunday.

The two teams know each other well but that means that the match could really go either way. Pakistan have the wicket-taking ability to test the fragile Proteas batting but the opposite is also true.

The Proteas need their batting unit to step up in a big way if they are to get any further in the tournament, senior middle-order men David Miller and JP Duminy have been particularly disappointing but coach Ottis Gibson has few alternatives available.

Verdict: South Africa should beat a Pakistan team who have likely spent the week dwelling on defeat to India.

Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets

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