Our Cricket World Cup news includes the effective use of the short ball and the return of David Warner.
We’re just four days into the tournament, one team hasn’t even played yet and there’s a heck of a long way to go but it’s never too early to start drawing some conclusions.
Cricket World Cup News
The bouncer is back
Hashim Amla got hit on the helmet grille by a Jofra Archer bouncer, fast and short deliveries from the likes of Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas decimated Pakistan and even New Zealand’s bowlers were at it against Sri Lanka.
The bouncer is very much back and could be a key feature of this World Cup. Even if it’s a delivery that’s not taking wickets or intimidating batsmen, it’s one that’s not going for runs, with most batsmen unwilling to hook and pull in search of boundaries for fear of giving away their wicket.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that it might be a potent weapon. It’s always been a good delivery on hard and fast wickets like the ones in England but is so seldom used in limited-overs cricket that so many batsman have forgotten how to play it. It’s also interesting to note that umpires have been lenient about bowlers using it, rarely calling it as a wide.
It’s continued use and continued trend of getting wickets brings the likes of Jofra Archer (10.0), Matt Henry (28.0) and Oshane Thomas (28.0) into the equation for top World Cup bowler. All prices with Betfair Exchange.
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Sri Lanka look a mess
In other Cricket World Cup news, Sri Lanka look to be the weakest team at the tournament.
Betfair Sportsbook had them as 6.0 to finish rock bottom and that was probably the best bet of the tournament, although it did get cut to about 3.5 before the World Cup actually started as they realised how under-prepared they were and how weak their squad actually is.
They’re currently 2.7 on the Betfair Exchange but even that looks decent now. They left three or four of their best batsmen at home (including Niroshan Dickwella and Dinesh Chandimal) and have no batsmen in the squad in any sort of form.
And it’s hard to see where their wickets are going to come from with Lasith Malinga a spent force, Suranga Lakmal always looking like a player more suited to Test cricket and no spinners threatening to make an impact. A far cry from the days of Muralitharan, Herath and Ajantha Mendis.
It helps explain why they’re the only side yet to take a wicket at this World Cup.
Worst of all, they don’t look up for it. Going by their body language and apparent indifference to everything, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re at a training camp rather than already at the World Cup.
Those odds of them finishing bottom look good but if you don’t like them, you could do far worse than take the 2.0 that Royal Panda are offering on Afghanistan beating Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
There wasn’t too much wrong with the performance of Rashid Khan and co against Australia. They recovered well to post some sort of total, were brave with some big lower-order hitting and bowled ok against some of the world’s best batsmen. They looked up for it and were playing like their lives depended on it.
If the match against the Lankans comes down to who wants it more, Afghanistan will win it hands down.
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David Warner is well and truly back
But perhaps the biggest Cricket World Cup news of all involves a player who is somewhat lucky to even be there.
He looks a little different with his new beard, isn’t quite the irritant he usually is in the field which is understandable and maybe isn’t quite at full fitness.
But make no mistake about it. Warner is back.
His 89 not out was a very uncharacteristic innings from him in terms of strike rate, shot selection and endless patience but it was an important one in the context of the game and an important one in terms of his road to recovery and form; 89 not out on his proper international return was a great effort.
If he carries on batting so maturely, the quick runs will come sooner or later and he may come very close to winning the top runscorer race. He’s the 7.5 favourite with Betfair Sportsbook but that price may go pretty quickly.
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