Cricket World Cup: Will anyone stop England? World Cup predictions

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Australia celebrate 2015 World Cup

Australia are defending champions after winning the 2015 World Cup on home soil

The World Cup gets under way on Thursday, when hosts England take on South Africa at The Oval.

After a dismal showing four years ago, England enter this tournament as favourites and the number one side in the world.

But will they lift the World Cup for the first time? Test Match Special pundits and commentators, former players and journalists give their predictions on who will make the semi-finals and who will get their hands on the trophy on 14 July.

Does anyone think England won’t do it?

Former England captain Michael Vaughan

England are the number one team in the world and formidable at home. I can’t see how they won’t make the semis.

Australia have just got something going, Steve Smith and David Warner are back and you can argue that they have the best bowling attack.

India have the know-how. Virat Kohli is the best batsman in the world and Jasprit Bumrah is the best bowler in the world.

Pakistan are Pakistan – they will find a way of making the top four. It concerns me that England play in one way. They will get tested, but I’m sticking with them as my winners.

Former England captain Alec Stewart

The semi-finalists will be England, India, Australia and, if Dale Steyn stays fit, South Africa.

England cover all bases and are very well led, India have top players and stand up in world tournaments, while Australia are just starting to peak. Steyn will be key to South Africa – he’s only one man, but has the experience and can do brilliant things with the ball.

I’m picking England as the winners – it will be a fitting finale for the work done by captain Eoin Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss, and started by former director of cricket Andrew Strauss.

Ebony Rainford-Brent, 2009 Women’s World Cup winner with England

Pakistan are my wildcard – whether they find have form or not, they find something in big tournaments.

West Indies could spring a surprise too. With the likes of Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer, their batting will be a lot of fun.

Those two teams will join England and India in the semis, and England will be the eventual winners. Jofra Archer has covered the only area where they were possibly lacking and Eoin Morgan will hold it all together.

England celebrate their one-day series win over Pakistan<!–

England are unbeaten in their past 12 ODI bilateral series, winning 11 and drawing one

Phil Tufnell, part of England squad that reached 1992 final

The semis will be made up of Australia, India, Pakistan and England. Australia have a very good bowling side and are starting to get their mojo back.

India have a battalion of batsmen and Pakistan know how to get over the line in tournament cricket.

Having said all of that, England are favourites and will be the winners.

Isa Guha, 2009 Women’s World Cup winner with England

Until recently, I had Pakistan reaching the semis, but I’ve switched them for West Indies. With the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell, the Windies can blitz teams with the bat and their experienced bowlers have come back into the squad.

They will join England, India and Australia in the last four, with England going on to win it.

Waqar Younis, 1992 World Cup winner with Pakistan

The format means anyone who hits form can reach the last four. England are favourites, Australia are getting their confidence back and India are the most likely of the teams from the subcontinent.

After that, my heart wants to say Pakistan, but New Zealand are most likely to complete the last four.

I can’t pick a winner, but it seems most probable that England will be up there.

Vic Marks, played for England in 1983 World Cup

England and India are both very good teams. They will reach the last four. They will be joined by Australia, who always do well and South Africa, because no-one is expecting them to do anything.

Bearing in mind my record as a tipster, I’ll say Australia will win it, because I want that to be wrong.

Tymal Mills, England Twenty20 bowler

England, Australia and India are not shocking picks as semi-finalists.

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They will be joined by New Zealand. I like their bowling attack – Trent Boult and Tim Southee will do well in English conditions and Lockie Ferguson has real pace. In their batting, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro can score big hundreds, while Kane Williamson is one of the best in the world.

England will win it because they are the best team, although any sort of injury to Adil Rashid would be a concern.

Charles Dagnall, TMS commentator

England and India are straightforward picks, but the other two are more difficult. Australia are coming back and finding their identity after a tough 12 months. No-one is talking about New Zealand, but they’re a wonderful side with a lot of bases covered.

England will win it. It is their time.

Steve Smith<!–

Steve Smith scored a century against England in their World Cup warm-up match on Saturday, his first hundred for Australia since returning from a 12-month ban for ball-tampering

Jonathan Agnew, BBC cricket correspondent

India are so experienced. In Virat Kohli, they have the best batsman in the world and their pace attack stands out.

If Australia can use the hostility towards Steve Smith and David Warner to create a siege mentality, they will be strong, and West Indies have some serious hitters who can take advantage of the small boundaries that we are expecting.

Those three will be in the semis, along with England, who are favourites to win it. If they can use being hosts as a positive instead of a pressure, it will be a surprise if they don’t lift the trophy.

Daniel Norcross, TMS commentator

The format means the best sides will rise to the top, and the two best sides are England and India.

I’ve discarded Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, so I’m picking two from the other four. My head says Australia and South Africa, but I’m going with my heart and plumping for New Zealand and West Indies.

I’d love to say that England will win it, but I think India will come out on top.

Simon Mann, TMS commentator

England, Australia and India will make the semis. After that I have no idea. The format means the best should rise to the top and I think only Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have no chance of making the top four, while the romantic in me wants West Indies or Bangladesh to make it.

Asian teams have done well in one-day cricket of late – the last two Champions Trophies have been won by Pakistan and India. India will win the World Cup because they are a very good side.

Virat Kohli<!–

India captain Virat Kohli is the number one batsman in the ODI rankings. He averages 59.57 and has scored 41 hundreds

Alison Mitchell, TMS commentator

West Indies will reach the semis. I’m excited by how they pushed England in the Caribbean over the winter. If it’s about who can make the most runs, they are well stocked.

With Steve Smith and David Warner out, guys who may have been in the shadow have had the chance to flourish for Australia. Now Smith and Warner have returned, it gives Australia a boost to elevate them to the semis.

You just can’t see how England and India will miss out on the top four. England have had so much success in bilateral series. Can they replicate that? I think they can and they will win the World Cup.

Geoff Lemon, writer and TMS commentator

We keep hearing that Australia are back in town, but their lack of power-hitting outside Glenn Maxwell leaves a lot resting on their bowlers. They’ll deliver some wins but should miss out to South Africa, a similar side but with Kagiso Rabada’s menace and more hitters down the order.

New Zealand will make the semis based on all-round cohesion. India have the best bowlers and half of the best batsmen, but must survive having their weak links tested.

England will finish on top though: a new age has begun, and even the calamities of old won’t be enough to make this team wobble.

George Dobell, ESPNcricinfo

England, Australia, India and New Zealand are the best balanced sides. West Indies and South Africa are dangerous, but Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could really struggle.

Wouldn’t it be painful if this summer of cricket saw Australia leave with the World Cup and the Ashes? But England have a great chance – they won’t have a better one for a long time.

Prakash Wakankar, TMS commentator

I can’t think of a time when England have been better equipped. They will be joined in the semis by Australia, who are a team with nothing to lose.

Irrespective of the result, Pakistan have had preparation by playing a series in England, while India – ranked second in the world – have always performed well in tournaments in the UK.

It will be an England-India final, which England will win if they hold their nerve. I have some doubts, though, so it could be an encore of 1983 for India.

Natalie Germanos, TMS commentator

India, England, Pakistan and South Africa will make up the top four.

India’s batting is explosive and they have bowlers that put the opposition under constant pressure. England bat pretty much all the way to number 11 – it’s a line-up that takes pressure off their bowlers. Despite being inconsistent, you can’t overlook a Pakistan side that won the Champions Trophy here in 2017.

Am I being biased in picking South Africa? Maybe. I’ve been saying for months that they will win it and I’ll stick with my gut. If their batters fire, they will be very tough to beat.

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