The following are previews with betting tips for the 2015 ICC World Cup quarter-finals.
1st Quarter-Final – South Africa v Sri Lanka (B2 v A3)
Wed Mar 18 – 03:30 GMT | 14:30 local | 11:30 AWST| 14:00 ACDT | 14:30 AEDT
Sydney Cricket Ground
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South Africa form
– Won by 62 runs v Zimbabwe
– Lost by 130 runs v India
– Won by 257 runs v West Indies
– Won by 201 runs v Ireland
– Lost by 29 runs v Pakistan (D/L method)
– Won by 146 runs v UAE
South African fans will be wary of the fact that their side has never won a knock-out game in ICC Cricket World Cup history. They do have a formidable batting line-up which has shown signs of what can happen when they all click – as evident by their 408/5 score against the West Indies. With that being said, opening batsman Quinton de Kock has had a poor tournament and South Africa look vulnerable – particularly when chasing totals, if Hashim Amla doesn’t get a good total. As good as AB de Villiers is, the loss to Pakistan showed he can’t carry the team on his back if no one else is scoring.
Sri Lanka form:
– Lost by 98 runs v New Zealand
– Won by four wickets v Afghanistan
– Won by 92 runs v Bangladesh
– Won by nine wickets v England
– Lost by 64 runs v Australia
– Won by 148 runs v Scotland
Sri Lanka started the tournament slowly, losing by 98 runs against New Zealand with Lasith Malinga looking rusty on his return to international cricket. Since then Sri Lanka have picked up good momentum, helped by Malinga’s improved form with the ball. Apart from their loss against Australia, they’ve looked impressive with the bat this tournament, with Kumar Sangakkara (124.00 average) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (79.00 average) in particular putting in strong, consistent performances. With the ball, however, they’ve been less impressive, allowing 331 runs against New Zealand, 309 against England and 376 against Australia. They will likely have to rely on South Africa throwing some of their wickets away if Sri Lanka are to progress to the semi-finals.
Recent head-to-head history:
– Sri Lanka beat South Africa 5-3 in an 8-game series hosted by Sri Lanka in 2013
– South Africa beat Sri Lanka 5-3 in an 8-game series hosted by South Africa in 2012
– The last time the two sides played on neutral ground was in 2006, with each teams winning two games apiece
Betting: given South Africa’s poor record of chasing totals, the coin toss will be crucial for this fixture. It’s worth noting that every South African fixture this tournament has been won by the side that batted first. If Sri Lanka bat first I fancy their chances to win, however the result could easily go either way if South Africa bat first. Given that bookmakers have sided with South Africa for this fixture, installing them as firm 1.40 favourites, I would take the value and back Sri Lanka to win at 3.00 (bet365).
2nd Quarter-Final – India v Bangladesh (B1 v A4)
Thu Mar 19 – 03:30 GMT | 14:30 local | 11:30 AWST | 14:00 ACDT | 14:30 AEDT
Melbourne Cricket Ground
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– Won by 76 runs v Pakistan
– Won by 130 runs v South Africa
– Won by nine wickets v UAE
– Won by four wickets v West Indies
– Won by eight wickets v Ireland
– Won by six wickets v Zimbabwe
After a poor tour which saw them lose the test series against Australia and fail to win any game in the tri-series with Australia and England, India have looked much stronger in this World Cup. Numerous players have been recording large scores and India’s bowling attack has improved in leaps and bounds. India posted 300+ totals in both fixtures where they batted first and they have handled their four run chases well. I have a my suspicions that Pool A is stronger than Pool B, however, so it will be interesting to see how India fare against Pool A sides as the knockout stages progress. Should India win this fixture they will likely have to face Australia, who dominated them this summer.
– Won by won by 105 runs v Afghanistan
– Match abandoned v Australia
– Lost by 92 runs v Sri Lanka
– Won by 6 wickets v Scotland
– Won by 15 runs v England
– Lost by three wickets v New Zealand
Bangladesh are the only surprise participant in the knockout stages. Their win over England secured their place and they backed that result up well with a competitive performance against New Zealand. In fact, Bangladesh were the only team in Pool A not to be bowled out by the Black Caps. Mahmudullah Riyad has been excellent with the bat this tournament, with an average of 86.00 runs scored. In his five innings he has picked up two 50s and a century. For Bangladesh to have any chance of causing an upset he will have to get another big total on Thursday.
Recent head-to-head history:
– Bangladesh hosted India for three games 2014 and lost all three
– Ignoring abandoned games, India have won 11 of their last 12 against Bangladesh
Betting: Bangladesh should put up a reasonable fight. They have nothing to lose and their strong performances against England and New Zealand will have given them a lot of confidence. India should be too strong, however, so I would back India in the head-to-head at 1.192 (Pinnacle Sports).
3rd Quarter-Final – Australia v Pakistan (A2 v B3)
Fri Mar 20 – 03:30 GMT | 14:00 local | 11:30 AWST| 14:00 ACDT | 14:30 AEDT
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– Won by 111 runs v England
– Match abandoned v Bangladesh
– Lost by one wicket v New Zealand
– Won by 275 runs v Afghanistan
– Won by 64 runs v Sri Lanka
– Won by 7 wickets v Scotland
Apart from looking susceptible to swing bowling against New Zealand, Australia have been very strong as expected. Unlike New Zealand, Australia won’t have to leave their home country to win the tournament so they are the rightful favourites to win the World Cup at this point. They boast a deep, formidable batting line-up, however the bowling hasn’t been as impressive, with only Mitchell Starc performing consistently well up to this point.
– Lost by 76 runs v India
– Lost by 150 runs v West Indies
– Won by 20 runs v Zimbabwe
– Won by 129 runs v UAE
– Won by 29 runs v South Africa (D/L method)
– Won by 7 wickets v Ireland
Pakistan were poor with both bat and ball at the start of the tournament, but they managed to squeak past Zimbabwe and then pick up the crucial win over South Africa to see them finish 3rd in Pool B. Pakistan will be hoping their pace bowlers can replicate the form which saw them bowl out South Africa for 202.
Recent head-to-head history:
– Australia beat Pakistan 3-0 in a three-game series in the UAE in 2014
– Australia beat Pakistan 2-1 in a three-game series in the UAE in 2012
– Australia have won their last seven straight against Pakistan on Australian soil
– At the Adelaide Oval Australia have a 5-1 record against Pakistan, however only one of those games was since 1996
– Since 2009 Australia have a 5-5 record at the Adelaide oval against all opposition
Betting: apart from a poor day with the bat against New Zealand, Australia have looked very strong this tournament. They will rightfully be wary of Pakistan, knowing that on their day Pakistan can beat just about everyone. However, based on recent form and the fact that Australia are playing at home I would back Australia to win at 1.25 (Pinnacle Sports).
4th Quarter-Final – New Zealand v West Indies (A1 v B4)
Sat Mar 21 – 01:00 GMT | 14:00 local | 09:00 AWST | 11:30 ACDT |12:00 AEDT
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
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New Zealand form:
– Won by 98 runs v Sri Lanka
– Won by three wickets v Scotland
– Won by eight wickets v England
– Won by one wicket v Australia
– Won by six wickets v Afghanistan
– Won by three wickets v Bangladesh
New Zealand will be delighted to have topped their group, however due to the scheduling they will still have to win in Melbourne if they are to become champions. After three relatively simple wins New Zealand had its frailties in the middle order exposed by Australia. They then won in less convincing fashion than some would have expected against Bangladesh. The upside of their result against Bangladesh, however, was the fact that Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor – two key players who haven’t had great tournaments thus far – scored a century and half century, respectively. Given Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson have been in good form, this leaves just Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi who have yet to fire. With the ball New Zealand have looked impressive, with Daniel Vettori, Tim Southee and Trent Boult performing well. With strong performances with both bat and ball, plus arguably the best fielding captain in world cricket, New Zealand will know they’ve never had a better opportunity to win an ICC Cricket World Cup.
West Indies form:
– Lost by four wickets v Ireland
– Won by 150 runs v Pakistan
– Won by 73 runs v Zimbabwe (Duckworth-Lewis method)
– Lost by 257 runs v South Africa
– Lost by four wickets v India
– Won by six wickets v UAE
The West Indies have been the most mercurial side of the tournament, looking awful one day and unbeatable the next. They will likely need Chris Gayle and their other main batsmen to all fire today if they are to upset New Zealand. From a bowling perspective the West Indies have been mediocre, as highlighted by the 300+ score they conceded against Ireland. Their lack of quality bowlers will likely be their undoing this tournament.
Recent head-to-head history:
– Since 2009 New Zealand have a 5-7 record against the West Indies
– Since 2006 New Zealand have an 8-4 record against the West Indies on New Zealand soil
– New Zealand have a 3-1 record against the West Indies in Wellington. The West Indies’ only win was in 1995.
Betting: which version of the West Indies will show up on Saturday? The one that powered to 372/2 against Zimbabwe? Or the one that was bowled out for 151 against South Africa? If I had to bet I would back New Zealand at 1.32 (TopBetta) because they have been the more consistent side, however the West Indies do have sufficient firepower to cause an upset.