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ICC World Cup 2011 Poised To Be A Classic

The tournament promises to be the best yet, with 14 teams, 43 days and a total of 49 games for fans to savour.

While the last two decades have seen Australia enter the tournament as dominant favourites, this year sees an array of teams that have blown it wide open.

Being hosted in the subcontinent will undoubtedly be a huge advantage to the likes of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The reasoning behind this is simple- there is simply no tougher environment to play than in the humidity filled, tension packed cauldrons evident in India.

One cannot write off champions Australia, with their current position brining back memories of the 1987 winning side dubbed “The worst Australian side ever to travel abroad.”

Englandis a unique entity leading into the showpiece, currently holding the T20 title, and also coming off a monumental summer down under. While the Ashes victory was impressive, their ODI performances were dismal and they will look to put things right in the World Cup.

South Africaenters the showdown as probably the best team to have never won the title. They will be hoping to put their world cup demons, as well as chocker tags, away and bring this one home.

There are no surprises that India top the bookies standings when it comes to overall winner. Although having just lost their last series to South Africa, home advantage will be monumental in this tournament with the bookies forecasting a sea of blue in the final.

Australiawill not give up their title easily and are in a confident mood following the 6-1 mauling of England in their one day series.

They may not be the force they once were, but even allowing for the fact that England was particularly poor, their dominance showed they are a side to be reckoned with.

Sri Lankamay be a decent bet here, especially with their effective bowling attack at home.

South Africa, as always have an excellent chance. They boast Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn- three world beaters on any given day in their discipline. But if they are to win they must overcome their tendency to stutter at major tournaments after great starts.

New Zealand, who are normally more than capable of causing a surprise or two, come into this tournament on the back of a miserable run of form over the past year. They, along with former legendary XI, the West Indies are placed as long shots here.

Pakistanwas originally due to co-host this tournament, but the country was stripped of the privilege after the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

In the last week or so, three of their players received lengthy bans following match-fixing allegations. The odds are against them, but beware of a team up against it. With the likes of Umar Gul and captained by a hungry Shahid Afridi- this team could be the surprise of the lot.

This tournament is set to be a hum-dinger and once the minnows are disposed of following the opening rounds, there will be some superb cricket on display.

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