The ICC Cricket World Cup is under way and is going to be a marathon battle to decide the best one-day international (ODI) team in the world. We can expect a glut of fours and sixes, but which batsmen do the bookmakers believe are likely to fight it out to be the top run scorer in the competition?
Hashim Amla (South Africa)
It’s hard to believe but at one stage in his career, so-called cricket experts believed Amla wouldn’t be a big hit playing one-day international cricket. He’s certainly proved them wrong and is currently ranked the number two ODI batsman in the world and reached 5,000 ODI runs in record time. He’s played more than 100 One Dayers and has an average of over 56 with a highly impressive 19 centuries. A strike-rate in the 80’s shows he’s no slouch and can push the score along when it’s really needed. Last year he was the top run scorer for South Africa in both Test matches and ODI’s including back-to-back centuries on the tour of Sri Lanka. Another impressive performance in the coming weeks looks likely.
David Warner (Australia)
Getting off to a good start is vital in ODI cricket and with Warner in top form over the past year or so, he’s an important player for co-hosts Australia. Surprisingly he only averages 32 in ODI’s and has only hit three centuries. Warner is one of those players who attacks right from the start and that could be his undoing sometimes but his game has really improved recently making him a batsman to fear every time he comes to the crease. Although he only got 22 in his World Cup opener against England, he recently hit 127 against the same side earlier this year. If he keeps that kind of form up he’ll be a key player in this tournament.
AB De Villiers (South Africa)
This hard-hitting batsman is capable of taking any attack apart. For proof, just ask any of the West indies bowling line-up who he constantly destroyed in their recent one-day series. That included a world record for the quickest ODI century off a staggering 31 balls. 19 ODI centuries, over 7,000 runs scored and a strike rate of 95 indicates just why he’s currently ranked the number one ODI batsman in the world. You’ll struggle to find any bowlers who will be keen on tackling this South African if he’s anywhere near top form. This is one batsman who you never know what he’s going to do next with his revolutionary shots that would make most cricket traditionalists turn over in their graves, though probably with an admiring smile on their face.
Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)
If co-hosts New Zealand are to come anywhere close to winning the World Cup then McCullum has to be at his devastating best. His strike rate is 91.73 but his average is only in the 30s. That’s no real reflection on his ability though: It’s the past year or so that has seen his batting improve beyond all recognition, not just in ODI’s but in test cricket. His most recent ODI century came this year against Sri Lanka, his first three-figure score in one dayers since 2012. In all he’s managed five centuries, but only two against test playing nations, and his 65 in New Zealand’s World Cup win over Sri Lanka on Saturday was a solid start.
Aaron Finch (Australia)
If his opening 135 in Australia’s battering of England in the World Cup opener wasn’t case enough, Finch is a real powerhouse of a batsman. If both he and David Warner hit form then Australia will more than likely win this World Cup. He’s a devastating hitter in all short forms of the game and broke into the Australian ODI team in 2013. In the 2013-14 series against England he hammered two centuries and will be relishing playing in his World Cup. He already has five centuries in 41 ODI’s and a strike rate of 86.18.