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24 March 201508:26

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – Final Four Predictions

Experts pick their winners ahead of the two semi-finals

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 – Final Four Predictions - Cricket News

Simon Doull believed the first semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa could go either way.

The battle for cricket’s greatest prize is too close to call, with three huge World Cup games left to be played out between cricket’s top four one-day international teams.

Here’s who the experts are tipping:

Michael Atherton (Former England player, 1996 World Cup squad member)

NZ v SA: It’s an incredibly difficult game to call. Right from the start of the tournament I have been very strong on New Zealand with the way they’ve played recently. The captain is a terrific influence on them and they’ve got the home support and home ground. If I was going to side one way I’d probably go there, but it’s an incredibly difficult game to call and South Africa are a very good side.

AUS v IND: I’d probably say Australia are marginally stronger favourites in that semi. I’d probably go with them given how they’ve played against India recently. But India have come so strong in this World Cup, they’ve unbeaten and have played some terrific cricket. The best four teams are through and there are two great semi-finals. Both are incredibly difficult to call.

Final: A cross Tasman final but who knows! I think Australia have got home advantage so I’d probably go with them but tough to call.

Sourav Ganguly (Former India player and 1999, 2003, 2007 World Cup squad member)

NZ v SA: It’s anybody’s game. It’s hard to predict, both good sides have played well. Maybe New Zealand have played a bit better but in a semi-final, anything is possible.

AUS v IND: It has to be India, but it’s going to be another good game. They are both very good sides and they say in a semi-final you cannot put anyone ahead. Australia in Sydney, that’s their home ground, but the pressure will also be on Australia.

Scott Styris (former BLACKCAP and 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cup squad member)

NZ v SA: It’s an interesting one, because whoever gets on top the quickest will have a major advantage. South Africa are great frontrunners but they struggle when they’re behind in the game with the pressure. So if New Zealand can start fast they’re every chance of going on and winning. If South Africa get on top quickest, they’ll become the favourite. It will be an intriguing battle between two form teams.

AUS v IND: It’s quite a bizarre one in some ways. If you’d asked me this as little as two months ago, I’d have said it would be a walkover and Australia would win comfortably. But India have been outstanding. They don’t tend to play well in this part of the world, but this time their batters are on fire and their bowlers are stepping up. But I think Australia are still the favourites and I’d be surprised if India did take it out.

Final: It’s a head or heart decision for me. My heads says Australia because they are playing at home but my heart says New Zealand because they have played well and being a Kiwi, I have to pick them. It will be one of those two.

Grant Bradburn (Former BLACKCAP and current Cricket Scotland coach)

NZ v SA: NZ to get home just through the nations unprecedented support in the BLACKCAPS to finally put to bed the semi WC hurdle that keeps tripping us up. The perception is Eden Park is small and runs will flow. In a big game such as this though I reckon 300 is enough to win.

IND v AUS: India - as I believe the emotion and pressure will be too great for Australia. A great match up and could go either way as both sides have power batsmen to take the game away. Therefore this game will hinge on the bowling attacks to get early wickets and restrict the onslaught at the back end.

Final: It's New Zealand's time. The stars need to align to win and it will be a test playing on the bigger boundaries of the G as opposed to NZ. It won't swing as much in Australia for the NZ bowlers, but their superior fielding will be the difference in securing the CWC for the 1st time.

Gavin Larsen (Former BLACKCAP and 1992, 1996 and 1999 World Cup squad member)

NZ v SA: It’s 50-50 for me. This is a match-up of two heavyweights full of match-winners. Whichever teams match-winners stand up the most will win. My Kiwi blood tells me New Zealand – by a nose!

IND v AUS: The home team will win this one but India will test them. Australia will have too much power across the board. Their batting is even but Australia’s bowling gives them the nudge.

Final: My head says this one is 55-45 in advantage to Australia. However on match day my heart would swap that around!

Kevin O’Brien (Ireland World Cup squad member 2007, 2011 and 2015)

NZ v SA: Both teams have world class players and match winners to boot. The batting line ups are very strong and I think this game will come down to the respective bowling attacks. SA and NZ each have four strong bowlers, but both teams have, on paper, weak fifth bowler. Corey Anderson and JP Duminy have performance very well with the ball and will be under pressure to do the same again. On home soil, my prediction is New Zealand.

AUS v IND: This is going to be an exciting game! India have played excellent cricket since the World Cup started. Their strong batting unit as clicked all tournament, and their supposedly weak bowling line up has adapted well to the Australian wickets. Australia have performed well with the ‘favourites’ tag for some time now. I think their batting relies too much on Steve Smith. With Aaron Finch slightly out of form and Michael Clarke short on time at the crease, Australia will rely heavily on Glenn Maxwell to score quickly at the back end of the innings. India will do just enough to overcome Australia.

Final: I think New Zealand will cause an upset and win their first ever World Cup

Simon Doull (Former BLACKCAP and 1999 World Cup squad member)

NZ v SA: It’s a tough game. South Africa are playing really, really well at the moment. I couldn’t split it, it’s a 50-50 game. New Zealand with the home conditions, they know Eden Park very well so they might go in with slight advantage but the South Africa team is a good outfit.

AUS v IND: It’s very hard to pick that one. I think home advantage might play a big role in that game as well for Australia, but there will be some screaming fans for India in Sydney.

Final: I’d love to see a New Zealand v Australia final but if it’s India v New Zealand, it won’t bother me.

Murphy Su’a (Former BLACKCAP and member of 1992 New Zealand World Cup squad)

NZ v SA: I think New Zealand will take it out. They’ve been the most consistent team all tournament. It will be close but I think with their consistency and strength of bowling should hold them in good stead.

AUS v IND: I’m picking Australia for that one. It will be closer than their battles earlier in the summer, but I’m still picking Australia to be too strong on home-soil.

Final: New Zealand all the way. Will beat Australia to break their World Cup duck.