Pundit Punts
Pundit Punts

Before the World Cup semi finals, eight of the world’s top cricket writers make their predictions




Osman Samiuddin


Writer at The National, contributing editor of The Cricket Monthly and author of The Unquiet Ones: A History of Pakistan Cricket


I want New Zealand to win it and think they have a very good chance of doing so. They’ve got an excellent pace attack, with lots of depth, they’ve got Brendon McCullum as captain, Ross Taylor in outstanding form and Kane Williamson, one of the finest young batsman in the game currently. And, they’re at home and field like demons. What could possibly go wrong?


Boria Majumdar


Co-author of Playing it My Way, Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography


At home, the Kiwis are always dangerous. It was Inzamam-ul-Haq’s brilliance that ended their hopes in the semi-final in 1992. A team full of quality allrounders, New Zealand has the potential to surprise many and win their maiden title. They are one team that is expected to make the most of home advantage.


Sharda Ugra


Senior editor at ESPNCricinfo


They have always been World Cup contenders, making it to six semi-finals, and have, in fact, won more World Cup matches than every other team except Australia. What they need now is a title to go with these impressive stats. Playing at home will be an advantage, and they have players well-suited to the ODI format.


Rob Steen


Author of Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport and regular contributor to ESPNCricinfo


New Zealand will win. They are the most-improved team around, with an excellent pace attack spearheaded by Trent Boult and Tim Southee, an aggressive batting line-up led by Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, and plenty of all-round support. Plus, they have enough home advantage to surprise the big guns.





Dileep Premachandran


Editor of Wisden India


They’ve shown in Test cricket in recent years that mental strength is no longer an issue. They have the world’s best bowler, Dale Steyn, and the world’s best cricketer, AB de Villiers. The conditions will suit them as well.


Clayton Murzello


Group sports editor of Mid Day


I place South Africa and New Zealand as joint favourites, but if I had to pick one at gun point, it would be South Africa. They have the right balance in bowling and batting and they are always a terrific fielding side. However, they also need to have a spinner firing. I’m not reading too much into their tendency to choke.


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan


Contributing editor of The Cricket Monthly and cricket blogger


AB de Villiers and HashimAmla have been in red-hot form, and youngsters such as Quinton de Kock have had a good start to their careers. Their pace bowling attack will benefit from the use of two new balls from either end. They will field better than most teams on Australia’s big grounds. And, their allrounders will lend the team valuable balance.





Sidin Vadukut


Managing editor of Livemint.com


As a proud Malayali, I obviously want the United Arab Emirates to win the cricket World Cup, even though they are not in the semi finals. But, as a shrewd Malayali, my money is on the Australians. Those fellows are hard enough to beat overseas, but at home I think they will run away with it, with the crowd and conditions in their favour.



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