ICC Cricket World Cup 2011: Group A Predictions and Previews

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2011: Group A Predictions and Previews
Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images
Cheer your Group 'A' Teams on!

With a few days left for the 2011 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup to kick off; the excitement has never been higher. It's time to take a closer look at the groups and which team is going to top it. A quick overview of the groups:

Group A

Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Pakistan and Kenya

Group B

India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands 

 

Let's start with Group "A"

Australia

World Champions of One Day Cricket; any which way you might look at it—but over the last few years, they've started to show their mortality. Their Aura' of invincibility' has been exposed by teams like India, Pakistan and England recently. Nonetheless, they are a tough team to beat.

Can they Top the group?

Possibly. They've got tough teams to contend with and in what I would think is the the tougher of the two groups. Sri Lanka and Pakistan will be the teams to beat.

Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Ricky Ponting will need to lead from the front.

Key Players: Shane Watson, Cameron White, Doug Bollinger, Ricky Ponting and Bret Lee

 

New Zealand

The Kiwi's are well—beaten, bruised and badly in need of a confidence boost. Being in this group may not be helping their cause at all. I'm writing this as their warm up match against India is underway and the Indian middle order is giving the Kiwi bowlers a sound thrashing. Having said that, I very much doubt this Kiwi team will get far in the tournament. They'll probably need to watch their back against every team. Except Canada maybe.

Even if New Zealand beat India today in the warm up game; I'll still keep their order where it stands. They won't get far.

Can they Top the group?

No. They probably won't make it to the next round, even let alone top it.

Key Players: James Franklin, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori

 

Sri Lanka

Michael Steele/Getty Images
Dilshan will be one of key batsman for Sri Lanka

The Lankans will be looking to replicate their 1996 World Cup win—and they can possibly do it. If I had to pick a third team to win the Cup it would be Sri Lanka, the first two being India and Pakistan.They've had a fantastic year; the team looks stable and will cause serious problems to other countries given their experience in the sub continent.

Can they Top the group?

They can. All indicators are in their favor. The only other teams that can go toe to toe at this point are Pakistan and Australia.

Key Players: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan

 

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe are a poor shadow of the 1996 team that played in these conditions. I would not write them off as they could be the proverbial "thorn in the flesh." They may not have what it takes anymore to compete at this level, but I'll go so far as to say that, they could upset some of the bigger guys. Let's wait and watch.

Can they Top the group?

No. But like I said, they can pull off upsets.

Who do you think will top the group?

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Key Players: Sean Ervine, Brendan Taylor and Tatenda Taibu

 

Canada

I can't say much for Canada other than wish them luck. They are probably the weakest team in the group and if they can win, it will be against Kenya or Zimbabwe only. They already know that I suppose and will be looking to take what they can in this tournament and improve for the next.

Can they Top the group?

No. Nuff' said.

Key Players: John Davison and Henry Osinde. I name these two because they were there in the 2007 edition of the World Cup and probably their experience will show.

 

Pakistan

A team marred by scandals at every turn, but somehow manage to pull victories out of the hat. The dark horses if you ask me and they are the team to beat in these conditions. Pakistan has a solid team. Despite some of its members getting banned; they're still a very talented side with a good balance of youth and experience.

Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Afridi's inconsistency with the bat will need to be thing of the past now

Can they Top the group?

Yes. My bet is on them along with Sri Lanka and Australia.

Key Players: Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Younus Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul.

 

Kenya

Again, I can't see much for Kenya in this tournament. But they have the potential to pull of upsets. If they do that, they could very well affect the dynamics of the tournament. However, given this squad and their dismal performance this year, I just can't see anything coming out of it.

Can they Top the group?

No. They'll perish along with countries like Canada, Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Key Players: Jimmy Kamande, David Obuya, Thomas Odoyo and Steve Tikolo

 

So there you have it folks. My picks for this group - Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. In that order.

Stay tuned for Group "B" Predictions and Previews, coming soon.

I'd love to hear your feedback and comments!

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