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Road to 2015 World Cup: Possible Upsets in the tournament 

With just 11 days to go for the start of the ICC World Cup 2015, let us take a look at the possible contenders from the minnows, who are in with a great change to cause an upset in the tournament:

1. Ireland v West Indies

The most likely of the lot.

There is no hiding the fact that West Indies are a weak team going into this world cup. Although they have a decent pace attack, their batting is fragile. Chris Gayle is out of form, Dwayne Smith is highly inconsistent, Darren Bravo will go into the event with no match practice and Denesh Ramdin is also somewhat similar to Smith. Marlon Samuels is in good touch but he alone can not do anything. The X-Factor in the name of Dwayne Bravo is missing, which might harm this Jason Holder lead side. I still can’t understand why Mr. Clive Lloyd said that Bravo didn’t deserve to get selected in the squad. Well, if a player has a batting average of 43.55 in the past one year and has picked up 21 wickets in 13 matches, I don’t know what else he needs to do to impress Mr. Lloyd.

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Seeing the status of this side, William Porterfield’s men will surely fancy their chances when they face them at Saxton Oval, Nelson on February 16th. Ireland’s fast-bowlers Craig Young, Stuart Thompson and Max Sorenson should believe that they can get rid off the Windies batting early and if they are able to, then a win would surely be on the cards for them.

2. Ireland v Pakistan

Possible that 2007 upset was not once in a lifetime.

17th March, 2007 at Jamaica, Ireland won the toss and chose to field against Pakistan. Lanky pacer Boyd Rankin, Andre Botha and Kyle McCallan took full advantage of the overcast conditions and bowled Pakistan out for a modest total of 132. Wicket-keeper batsman Niall O’Brien then played one of the best innings of his life to guide Ireland out of the blushes and secured them one of the biggest upsets in the World Cup history by 3 wickets.

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This time around, both of them clash again at Adelaide on March 15th. The same story can be repeated once again as Pakistan’s batting is very much susceptible to pace bowling and if Ireland bowlers can get their act right, then Pakistan would be in some serious trouble. If slow left-arm bowler George Dockrell can support the pacers nicely, if their batting can click as a unit and most importantly, if they can believe in themselves irrespective of anything, then I’m pretty sure, another upset would surely be possible.

3. Bangladesh v England

Falling to spin again is possible for England.

There are not many grounds in Australia and New Zealand that offer help to spinners. If England would have played Bangladesh on any other ground except Adelaide on March 9th, then I would have fancied them to win it (because of obvious reasons i.e. their pace attack). But at Adelaide, Bangladesh will have their best chance to exploit England’s weakness against spin that they did in the ICC World Cup 2011 also at Chittagong.

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The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Taijul Islam and Arafat Sunny would know that except Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell, almost all England batsmen are susceptible to spin, so, they would hope that Tamim Iqbal and Co. lay a solid platform with the bat so that it becomes easy for them to put England under pressure with their tight bowling.

4. Afghanistan v Bangladesh

Afghanistan’s sharp rise in the world cricket can be credited to their indomitable spirit. Playing in the Asia Cup for the first time (2014), they not only defeated Bangladesh but also managed to sneak out a bonus point too. The main heroes in their historic win were Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari in batting and Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Hamid Hassan in bowling.

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Both of them will again face-off at the mega event on February 18th at Canberra and with Bangladesh, who are known to crumble under pressure ( best example is their defeat against Hong Kong in ICC World T20 2014 Qualifiers), I strongly feel that Afghanistan would have a great chance to finish on the winning side in this match. 

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