13 February 2015
Australia ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Tournament Preview & Guide
Chasing its fifth World Cup title, Australia, the world’s No. 1 Ranked ODI side, is in incredible form and has the home advantage
Australia will enter the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 as the top-ranked ODI team in the world.
Not surprisingly, it is one of the most successful One-Day International teams in the World Cup. Of the 76 matches it has played, it has won 55 games and lost just 19. It has made a record six World Cup finals – in 1975, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007 – and the only one to feature in four consecutive finals.
"Australia were in disarray just over 12 months ago but under his captaincy, they won the Ashes 5-0 [against England] and then beat South Africa in South Africa. We all admire Clarke’s imagination and flair as a captain so I would get him in for that first game if he proves his fitness and say: 'This is our side, let's get out and play'."
With an overall win ratio of 72.3% and with the World Cup this year being played in its backyard, it is one of the favourite teams leading into the tournament.
World Cup History: Australia is one of the most successful teams, having won the title four times and reached the final six times. In two of the World Cups – 2003 and 2007 – it remained unbeaten throughout its campaign. It also holds the record for being unbeaten in the most consecutive games, the remarkable ‘streak’ of 34 ICC Cricket World Cup games unbeaten from 1999 – 2011.
Pool: Australia is a part of Pool A, which comprises Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Captain: Michael Clarke
Coach: Darren Lehmann
Preview: Australia will enter the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 as the top-ranked ODI team in the world. Proving its strength in home conditions with a tri-series win against England and India, Australia looks like a formidable team that gains from its ability to bat deep down the order.
In addition, its bowling line-up promises much with a pace attack that can consistently cross the 150-kph mark and trouble the batsmen early on. Its handy all-rounders can change the course of games.
A perfect blend of experience and youth, Australia has the likes of Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Steve Smith and Brad Haddin who were among those that were part of the 2011 World Cup campaign. New faces like David Warner, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner, who can give it plenty of impetus in times of strife, add to a winning combination.
Strengths: A formidable batting line-up in a side that prides itself on aggression and a bowling attack that will thrive in home conditions make Australia a threat and a team that is expected to do well this year. Recent successes have proven the depth in its ranks, and given the form some of its key players like David Warner and Steve Smith are in, morale will be high.
The bowling line-up relies upon an out-and-out pace battery led by ICC Player of the Year Mitchell Johnson, but with the equally fearsome Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to back him up.
A number of bowling All-Rounders help share the 50 overs out, with Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Glenn Maxwell sharing out the other bowling duties
Recent Form: Australia's ODI record in the last six months will only give it confidence heading into the World Cup. It was unbeaten over the course of the tri-series featuring England and India. Before that, Australia beat a strong South Africa 4-1 in a series at home, and swept a three-match ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates 3-0.
Star Player: Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, is a vital cog in the team's unit. He turned around the team’s fortunes before going on to win the Ashes 5-0 at home and beating South Africa in an away series.
Clarke, the batsman, is a hard worker who keeps himself very busy at the crease. He can alter the game with his prowess with the bat and astute captaincy.
Although recuperating from a hamstring injury, the skipper is making steady progress towards clinching a berth in the Australian XI. He will miss the first game at the MCG but Australian management are confident he’s on course for the second match.
One to watch: Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell's match-winning 95 and 4 for 46 in the recently concluded tri-series final against England is evidence of why he is one of the most talked about talents in Australia. Maxwell can not only provide some quick runs deep in the middle, but is also handy with his off-spin – he was Australia’s second-highest ODI wicket-taker of 2014, picking up 16 wickets, behind James Faulkner. The role of an all-rounder is what Maxwell believes suits him best and he may well have the ‘X-Factor’ that is needed to help win a World Cup.
Australia’s largest victory in an ODI, a 256-run win, came against Namibia at the 2003 World Cup.
Australia is the only team in World Cup history to win three consecutive tournaments, in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
Australia was undefeated in the World Cup for a record 34 matches.
The streak began after Australia was beaten in a World Cup match in 1999 against Pakistan. It was broken again by Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup.
Australia has won the most number of World Cups – 4.
Key Match: Australia's tournament opener against rival England on the day the World Cup kicks off will be key to both teams. England will want to avenge the 112-run loss to Australia in the tri-series final, while Australia will want to extend its dominance over England. Australia might hold the advantage, but England, with its formidable bowling line-up, is well capable of springing a surprise.
“They’ve done a lot of homework and when you know that, you head into a tournament feeling very good about yourself and I think this team is. Everyone loves playing at home and it’s a great place to play a World Cup at home. The expectations are really high. But the planning has started a long time ago and they’ve talked about it.” - Geoff Marsh
“It is a hard pressure environment and Michael has been an outstanding captain but is more of an abrasive personality within the squad. It’s going to be interesting to see now that they’ve been under Steven Smith for the last three-four months, if Michael moves back into that space how that shifts the personality of the team. If Clarke plays, does Smith play? It’s almost hard to find a position for both of them.” - Graeme Smith, former South Africa captain.
Scott Styris’s prediction: Australia will be runners up
“Australia, at home, are a tough proposition playing in familiar conditions. They have a classy batting line up with X-factor players like Warner, Finch and Maxwell. George Bailey will be the glue along with Steve Smith. A lot like NZ, Australia have a potent fast bowling attack. Anyone who wants to win the World Cup will need to beat Australia.”
Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey (vice-capt), Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.
Feb 14: v England, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
Feb 21: v Bangladesh, The Gabba, Brisbane
Feb 28: v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland
Mar 4: v Afghanistan, WACA, Perth
Mar 8: v Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Mar 14: v Scotland, Bellerive Oval, Hobart
New Zealand v Sri Lanka Preview, Match 1 at Hagley Oval
2011 Cricket World Cup – In Numbers