CWC Austrlia150Australia begin their defence of the ICC Cricket World Cup crown at the County Ground in Bristol on Saturday and they are overwhelming favourites to start their campaign with a win over Afghanistan.

 

 

 

Afghanistan:

Afghanistan come into the World Cup as 200/1 rank outsiders. In the 2014 World Cup co hosted by Australia and New Zealand there were 14 teams competing and in the pool stage they won 1 of 6 matches, edging a thriller against fellow minnows Scotland. This time around there are 10 teams in the tournament and Afghanistan came through qualifying to take their place. Spin bowling is their strength which might not be ideal in the bulk of the conditions they encounter but they play without fear or pressure and will be looking for a big scalp in the course of the tournament.

In their first warm up match Afghanistan turned Pakistan over with a 3 wicket victory at this venue, chasing down 263 for victory with 2 balls to spare. Next time out they were thrashed by England at The Oval, bowled out for 160 and England crashed off the target in just 17.3 overs to come out on top by 9 wickets. Earlier in May Afghanistan beat Scotland by 2 runs (DLS) and they had 2 games against Ireland in Belfast, losing the first by 72 runs but winning the second by 126.

Squad: Gulbadin Naib (Captain), Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.

 

 

Australia:

Australia were champions in CWC 2015, beating New Zealand in the final in Melbourne and in the outright winner market they have been trading at around 7/2 second favourites. The Aussies have won 4 of the last 5 editions of the World Cup and overall they have 5 CWC titles against their name and have finished as runners up twice.

In 2018 Australia’s game was in the doldrums as they lost 11 of 13 ODI’s including a 4-1 home defeat to England and a 5-0 whitewash away to the same opposition. At the start of 2019 they lost to India at home (2-1) in January but came back from 2-0 down to beat the same opponent 3-2 in India in March. They also completed a 5-0 clean sweep of Pakistan in the UAE and they now have David Warner and Steve Smith back from their bans.

In their warm up matches Australia beat England by 12 runs and Sri Lanka by 5 wickets, both in Southampton.

At the time of writing David Warner was described as doubtful after picking up a knock in training so watch the media for news of his well being. .

Squad: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa

 

Head to Head

The teams have met twice with Australia winning both contests; by 66 runs in Sharjah in 2012 and 275 runs in Perth in CWC 2015 when Warner scored 178 of their bat first total of 417/6.

 

The Betting, Click here for all markets

Afghanistan 13/2

Australia 1/10

Note prices quoted are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change.

 

Verdict:

Although we are bound to see a shock or two in this tournament this should be straight forward for Australia who come into the tournament in good shape. For a betting interest we go with Pat Cummins to be their top bowler in this game.

 

Suggested Bets:

Top Australian bowler Pat Cummins at 7/2

Note prices quoted are correct at the time of publication but are subject to change.

Click here for all CWC markets.

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forumRemember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum

 

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