Don Topley: Assessing England’s competition in the Cricket World Cup - beware Australia and India!

PUBLISHED: 12:20 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:20 24 May 2019

India's Virat Kohli will lead one of the best sides in the World Cup. Picture: PA SPORT

India's Virat Kohli will lead one of the best sides in the World Cup. Picture: PA SPORT

PA Wire

After casting his eye over England’s Cricket World Cup squad yesterday, Don Topley takes a look at the rest of the teams competing to rule the world...

Australia's Aaron Finch - Don Topley says don't write off the Aussies! Picture: PA SPORTAustralia's Aaron Finch - Don Topley says don't write off the Aussies! Picture: PA SPORT


53% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Rashid Khan

Afghanistan had to qualify, along with the West Indies, for this World Cup. They, like Bangladesh, possess an impressive win record from playing many junior nations like Zimbabwe, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.

Their two top players are spinners - Rashid Khan and Munjeeb Ur Rahman. Both have excellent reputations and play regular t20 cricket around the world, but 50-over cricket is a different game.

May struggle against true pace and may be challenged getting 300 plus regularly, even on flat wickets.


New Zealand's Kane Williamson. Picture: PA SPORTNew Zealand's Kane Williamson. Picture: PA SPORT

51% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Mustifizar Rahman

An ageing side led by allrounder, Shakib Al Hassan. He bats at 3 and is a tremendous spinner, but he cannot do it all.

Quality left arm paceman, Mustifizar Rahman, is invaluable but has played a lot of cricket and it's started to take its toll on his young body. To win a game, they need everyone to click on the day, including fielding like caged tigers! Prefer to play on the dry surfaces of the sub-continent.

Sri Lanka

27% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Dhananjaya de Silva

West Indies' Jason Holder - the Windies are always exciting. Pictute: PA SPORTWest Indies' Jason Holder - the Windies are always exciting. Pictute: PA SPORT

Inexperienced new captain, Karuneratne, will have his hands full with the struggling Sri Lankans. Traditionally, these batsmen play their shots, but can they match the top nations posting or chasing over 300?

It's not just the political climate in the country, the Cricket Board has been in a mess with the Minister of Sport overseeing the game. Reaching the Semi Finals would be a stunning success.

MORE: Topley - England World Cup squad looks good, but I fear there is one potential weak link

West Indies

27% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Chris Gayle

South Africa's Faf du Plessis. Picture: PA SPORTSouth Africa's Faf du Plessis. Picture: PA SPORT

Always great entertainment whether it is hitting huge sixes or celebrating a wicket - we all love watching the West Indies! Selected some older statesmen and some extremely dynamic and hard-hitting batsmen.

Can Gayle continue his sensational twilight or can Russell and Hetmyer light up the event? Under captain Holder, they have a much respected and disciplined person who will help their cause. The team has pace but is missing a mystery spinner with no Bishoo or Narine selected.

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New Zealand

56% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Martin Guptill

Experienced squad who could easily get through to semi-finals. More 'bits and pieces' players than most but do possess a quality bowling unit; they have pace, variety, the best left armer at the World Cup in Boult and also, importantly, two decent and telling spinners.

Pakistan's Sarfaraz Ahmed. Picture: PA SPORTPakistan's Sarfaraz Ahmed. Picture: PA SPORT

Impressive batting line up with Guptill, Williamson and Taylor supported by Munro, Latham and Nicolls. Whenever Guptill bats through an innings, the Kiwis will win their game. Potentially can challenge anyone on their day.


46% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Imam ul Haq

The recent ODI series now has no value as Pakistan have amended their squad with three new players who will contribute and play most games. Top three batsmen are truly dangerous and explosive but their Achilles heel is their persistent poor fielding!

Pitches for this World Cup should be fresh strips for each game which won't aid Pakistan's cause. They prefer dry, used and even tired pitches as the tournament develops like it did in the Champions Trophy.

On paper and form, Pakistan should miss out on the Semi-Finals but should they nip into the last four, they could easily then put two good games together.

South Africa

63% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: David Miller

At home they are particularly impressive with a decent all-round squad. Away, they don't offer the same challenge. Some wonderful bowlers with the terrific Rabada, ageless Steyn, little known Ngidi, together with experienced 'leggie' Tahir - finding their fifth and sixth bowlers may be their issue. Whilst not explosive, their batting is rather old-fashioned with more traditional skilled batsmen like De Kock, Markham, Du Plessis, Amla and David Miller. They may still miss the great 'AB' DeVilliers. Forever known as the 'Chokers' should they find themselves in the Semi-Finals. Cannot afford injuries.


48% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: David Warner

Serious contenders. Having recently beaten India, in India, the Aussies have their quality players returning from the notorious 'Sandpapergate' bans. Extremely dangerous top order, with Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell and Stoinis. I believe they need Warner to open, not bat down at 3 or 4!

They will start the tournament well with easier fixtures before their last three key games against more fancied and difficult opposition. Numerous games in quick succession may challenge their top pace attack of Cummins, Starc, Behrendorff and Coulter-Nile.

Write them off at your peril!


65% win rate over last four years

Dangerman: Hardik Pandya

A classy batting line up with the great finisher, Dhoni, in the lower middle order, and the very best batsman in the world, Kohli - much batting strength in depth! Probably not the most explosive batting line up as their individual strike rates suggest.

Bowling wise, they cover all bases with pace, reverse swing, seam, variety and plenty of talented spinners. Two key players for me - Bumrah is the world's leading bowler and will close out games with terrific variety and skill, while Pandya is one of the world's great impact players. They will need these two to fire to win the World Cup.

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