- Aussies have momentum and could be a good bet
- Cummins side second favourites behind India
- Hosts India remain favourites
In the lead-up to the World Cup, Pat Cummins’ Australian side was largely overlooked in favour of hosts India and defending champions England. Initial heavy defeats to India and South Africa only fueled the scepticism.
Aussies put shaky start behind them to make themselves contenders
However, as the tournament progressed, England faced setbacks while Australia surged forward. Former captain Aaron Finch remarked on the team’s transformation, citing a newfound confidence in individual and collective performances. Notably, players like Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green, potentially returning to the middle order, offer a formidable boost.
Despite a shaky start, Australia’s recent form has been impressive. Dominant victories against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Netherlands, coupled with a nail-biting win over New Zealand, have positioned them for a spot in the semi-finals.
The batting lineup has witnessed standout performances, with David Warner notching two centuries, Travis Head delivering a blistering 59-ball ton in his return from injury, and Glenn Maxwell registering the World Cup’s fastest century against the Netherlands. Meanwhile, in the bowling department, Adam Zampa leads the wicket-taking charts, supported by the consistent contributions of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and the versatile Glenn Maxwell.
Nonetheless, a lingering concern centres on the middle order. While Warner and Head displayed explosive form against New Zealand, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne faced difficulties, stalling the innings. Finch pointed out the need for cohesion and highlighted occasional disjointedness in the middle.
Australia’s ability to capitalise on strong platforms towards the latter part of innings remains a missing link. Against Pakistan, a promising 245-0 turned into 367-9, and a similar pattern emerged against New Zealand. As the tournament advances, slower pitches may challenge Australia’s aggressive powerplay approach, potentially benefiting players like Smith and Labuschagne, known for their ability to craft an innings.
Finch suggested that Australia’s initial tough matches might have actually worked in their favour, allowing them to hit their stride after a rocky start. While India appears poised to progress undefeated in the group stage, the top four, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India, are seen as highly competitive, with any team capable of triumphing on their day.
With a week-long break before their pivotal clash against England on November 4, Australia stands on the cusp of a potential game-changing moment. Regardless, dismissing them as contenders would be a perilous oversight.
The Aussies are now second favourites with most bookies and, if they keep their recent momentum going, they are a major threat to the hosts India, who have carried the pressure of tournament favourites from the outset. A convincing victory over England on Saturday would see their odds shorten even further.
At the time of writing, Betway, have Australia priced at 14/5 compared to India, 21/20, South Africa 100/30 and New Zealand, 6/1.
Cricket World Cup Permutations
The race for a place in the World Cup semi-finals is hotting up, with all 10 sides still, technically, in contention for a top-four finish.
Hosts India look almost certain to make the last four, while South Africa, New Zealand and Australia are currently in the remaining qualification positions. However, the remaining six nations, right down to holders England, know a late run of results could see them qualify.
In addition, the top seven will qualify the 2025 Champions Trophy alongside hosts Pakistan, though eighth place will be sufficient if Pakistan finish in the top-seven.
What each team needs to make the semi-finals:
- India: India will guarantee a semi-final place if they win one of their remaining three matches.
- South Africa: South Africa will guarantee a semi-final place with two wins from their three remaining fixtures.
- New Zealand: To be certain of a semi-final spot New Zealand need to win their remaining three group games.
- Australia: Australia will need three wins from their remaining three group games to be sure of a place in the semis.
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka need at least two wins from their four remaining matches but they need Australia and New Zealand to lose their remaining games and must improve their run-rate.
- Pakistan: Pakistan need a minimum of two wins from their final three games, but that depends on Australia and New Zealand losing their remaining matches and them to improve their run-rate.
- Afghanistan: To make the semi-finals they need at least two wins from their final four games, but that requires Australia and New Zealand to lose their remaining matches and to improve their run-rate.
- Netherlands: The Dutch need at least two wins from their remaining three matches, but that requires Australia and New Zealand to lose their remaining matches and to improve their net run-rate.
- Bangladesh: To get to the final four they need three wins from their remaining three matches while significantly improving their net run-rate and hoping for shock results elsewhere.
- England: The World Cup holders need three wins from their remaining three matches while dramatically improving their run-rate and a freakish and improbable set of results elsewhere to qualify.