On November 1, Cricviz, the highly respected statistics site, calculated the chances of the likely semi-finalists at the Cricket World Cup: South Africa 100%, India 100%, Australia 91%, and New Zealand 67%. The next country on the list was Pakistan, at 19%. If you want cricket betting tips, there can be no clearer indication.
Qualification is through one single group of 10 teams. After nine games, the top four go on, and everyone else goes home. So far, the best teams appear obvious. However, this World Cup is a long tournament, and form can fluctuate.
Like everyone, all our statistics are based on the past, not the future. Already, conditions in India have been hot and humid, so making the best toss prediction by the captains is very important. Today’s match prediction will vary based on form, injury, fatigue and luck. No one can guarantee who will win today’s match, let alone the World Cup. But let’s examine the teams most likely.
India - Games: 7, Current points: 14, Maximum points possible: 18
They have breezed into the World Cup semi-finals with such ease that, in the minds of many who make cricket betting tips, they are favourites to win the trophy. Expect them to top the group standings and therefore have every advantage in the semi-finals and probably, the final. Undoubtedly, they are the team to beat.
Jasprit Bumrah has been their standout bowler and was the leading wicket-taker as the group stages came to a close. Despite getting 4/39 against Afghanistan, his most impressive spell was the 3/32 at the start of England’s reply to India's meagre 229 at Lucknow. Bumrah had contributed a crucial 16 runs at the end to haul them up that far but snagged Dawid Malan and Joe Root in successful balls just when the hosts needed it.
Midway through the group only Bumjah and team-mates Ravi Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin had economy rates under four per over. That pressure will take more wickets as the tournament reaches the business end. However, Mohammed Shami’s stunning 5-18 as India dismissed Sri Lanka for just 55 in 19.4 overs to win by 302 runs suggests that the hosts are handling the weight of expectation with few problems. Especially given that Shami has been omitted in favour of Hardik Pandya for most of the tournament.
Kahul Rahul, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have held up the batting for India. The last of those scored a century and two 50s in his first six games at a strike rate of 119. This included 43 fours and 20 sixes. The middle-order ‘finisher’ will be a key player, especially when India need to force the game in the final four. Kohli hit four 50s and a century in his first seven innings. The ex-captain is coming into form just at the right time.
Australia - Games: 6, Current points: 8, Maximum points possible: 14
When Australia lost their first two games, there were fears they might struggle to reach the semi-finals. In retrospect, many a match prediction would have suggested they would lose to India and South Africa, however size of the latter defeat was surprising.
This is not a vintage Australia side. Those making online cricket betting tips are not favouring them. Mitchell Starc is not the bowler of yesteryear. However, Adam Zampa took 16 wickets in his first six games and David Warner, in his last World Cup, hit two hundreds and a fifty in his first half-dozen outings. History says you should never count out Australia. They may well reach the final but, on their current form, they must see a lot of factors fall into place before they can think about toppling India. Starting with the toss prediction from skipper Pat Cummins.
South Africa - Games: 7, Current points: 12, Maximum points possible: 16
Apart from an inexplicable defeat to the Netherlands, South Africa have looked very strong. Opening batter Quinton de Kock has smashed four centuries in his first seven games. Playing in his last World Cup, the veteran was the first batter to pass 500 runs in the tournament.
Meanwhile, in Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markham, David Miller and Heinrich Klassen, South Africa have the most destructive middle order in the tournament. This was demonstrated in the 190-run victory over New Zealand. The Kiwis chose to field and then watched de Kok and Rassie van der Dussen hit centuries in South Africa’s 357/4 before being dismissed for 167 in 35.3 overs. It just showed the importance of today’s toss prediction.
With 16 wickets in his first six games at an average of 20.06, Marco Jansen is the standout bowler. Like all but one of South Africa’s attack, he is conceding less than six runs per over. If they avoid India in the semi-finals, expect Jansen’s team to make the final in Ahmedabad on November 19.
New Zealand - Games: 7, Current points: 8, Maximum points possible: 12
On form so far, New Zealand are the weakest of the four teams likely to make the semi-finals. Also, the Black Caps have picked up injuries in the group stages. Key bowler Matt Henry has gone home already with a hamstring problem. Kyle Jamieson has replaced him. In addition, Kane Williamson, Jimmy Neesham, Lockie Ferguson and Mark Chapman have been struggling. Their squad is too shallow on quality to cope so the last four may be the limit of their ambitions. Tellingly, their three defeats have come against India, South Africa and Australia, the other three teams likely to make up the final four. However, in batter, Rachin Ravinder, New Zealand have one of the finds of the tournament. He hit 116 against Australia and 76 against India. The 23-year-old left-hander might just be a man for the big occasion. New Zealand will need that if they are to progress.
Pakistan - Games: 7, Current points: 6, Maximum points possible: 10
Afghanistan - Games: 7, Current points: 8, Maximum points possible: 12
Going into the final few games, Pakistan still had a chance, especially as they were due to play New Zealand, the team most likely to drop out of the top four. But a dire run of defeats to India, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa, means they are unlikely to go through.
Realistically, they need to win that and have other results go their way to lift the net run-rate. But anyone with the raw pace of Shaheen Afridi stands a puncher’s chance. Likewise, Afghanistan requires victory in all their remaining fixtures. However, given that the run includes Australia and South Africa, this is highly unlikely.
World Cup Semi-Final predictions
Expect India to win the group but, given they are still to play South Africa, this is not quite guaranteed. Whoever finishes first will reach the final as they are likely to play a struggling New Zealand in Mumbai on November 15. Second and third place battle it out the next day at Eden Garden, Kolkata.
Assuming this clash is between South Africa and Australia, then expect the latter to come through. The former have always managed to fall when well-placed at World Cups and the other rule is do not bet against Australia.
Except, of course, when they are playing India in India