The Cricket World Cup is round the corner, and some of the sport’s biggest names are descending on England as they battle it out to wrestle the trophy from the grasps of reigning champions Australia.
The Aussies have experienced a difficult few years since last lifting the cup, whilst hosts England are the number one team in the world, and will have a lot of expectation in their own back yard.
Our cricket expert previews the upcoming World Cup and picks out the best Cricket World Cup bets.
Top Run Scorer
Virat Kohli is an outstanding batsman, and he has been named ODI Player of the Year for the past two years. A formidable top order batsman, he will undoubtedly be in the mix for most runs, with India guaranteed a deep run, and is 15/2 to score the most runs in the tournament.
Similarly, Jonny Bairstow is capable of crushing bowling attacks, and is a well-priced 11/1. However, my favourite to score the most runs is New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
The Kiwi is an explosive batsman at every level, and crucially has plenty of experience playing in England, having featured for both Gloucestershire and Yorkshire and recent seasons. He averages 45.9 in ODI’s, and could have an excellent World Cup. He is 14/1 to be top scorer.
Top Wicket Taker
There is a real depth to the quality of strike bowlers this year, and English newcomer Jofra Archer one of the most hostile seamers in the game. Despite only qualifying for England in March, he has been named in the World Cup squad, and it would be a huge shock not to see him start the opening game against South Africa. The Sussex paceman is 14/1 to take the most wickets.
Equally, Pat Cummins and Jasprit Bumrah have success in the past in England, and the pace bowlers should be right up in the mix for dangerous bowling attacks. However, my dark horse for top wicket taker lies on the opposite end of the scale.
Twenty-year-old Rashid Khan of Afghanistan already has four five-wicket hauls in ODI’s and is a real talent. The leg-spinner will be key to the Afghan’s hopes of causing upsets, and he has experience in England from his time with Sussex. Khan is 16/1 to be top wicket taker.
England are the undoubted favourites, and have earnt that status with an impressive couple of years. They are just 2/1 to lift the trophy for the first time, but could the pressure of being both hosts and favourites be too much for Eoin Morgan’s team?
India are also right in the mix, as expected from such a well-balanced team with a smattering of stardust, but I think South Africa have a real chance in this year’s edition.
Regular underachievers on the biggest stage, The Proteas have one of the most potent bowling attacks in the tournament, and an experienced batting line up with Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and J P Duminy.
The South Africans are 9/1 to lift the World Cup for the first time, 20 years on from the infamous run-out that scuppered their World Cup dreams last time the tournament was hosted in England.