Sun, 26 May 2019

Cape Town - The 2019 Cricket World Cup is around the corner and all 10 squads for the tournament have now been named.

According to the bookmakers, hosts England are still favourites, slightly ahead of India in second.

Australia are now up to third, while New Zealand and South Africa are joint-fourth favourites at most betting houses.

But, despite what the sides look like on paper, we know that on any given day any side in the competition can beat any other side.

It is part of the intrigue heading into a format where all 10 sides will play each other in one pool, with the top four going through to the semi-finals.

While all of the competing sides will believe that they boast match-winners, there are some that stand out more than others.

Here, we take a quick look at FIVE batsmen who are primed to make an impact on the tournament (images from Gallo and Getty).

David Warner (Australia)

Look no further than the 'bad boy' of Australian cricket, David Warner. The hard-hitting left-hander has just come back from his year-long ball-tampering ban, but you would never think so watching him carve up opposition attacks in this year's IPL. Warner is comfortably the leading run scorer in IPL 2019 with 574 from just 10 knocks at a strike rate of 146.05. He has looked at his destructive best and his return, along with that of Steve Smith, provides Australia with a massive boost and helps explain why so many pundits are backing them to defend their World Cup crown.

Jonny Bairstow (England)

Bairstow has launched himself onto the ODI stage over the last year, making the most of a promotion to the top of the order. There are many other in the England line-up who can influence games - Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler - but Bairstow is the one who seems to be commanding the most attention going into the tournament. An average of 55 and a strike rate of 157 in the IPL this year might help explain why. It looks like Bairstow will open the batting for England, and if he gets off to a good start, then England will win more often than not.

Virat Kohli (India)

You just know Kohli will show up at this tournament. His ability to stand up and play big knocks when it matters most is unrivalled in world cricket right now, and with AB de Villiers retired he will be the face of the World Cup. Kohli packs stadiums by himself, and if you have ever watched him in full flight you will understand why. Like England, India have several batting match-winners, but Kohli undoubtedly leads the charge. If he succeeds, India generally do too.

Chris Gayle (West Indies)

The 'universe boss', as he likes to call himself, has his work cut out for him. West Indies have selected a side of promising young players, but it is hard to see how they can make a real run at the World Cup trophy this year. In Gayle, though, they have a man with superpowers. He may be 39, but Gayle has used this IPL to show that he still has what it takes to bully bowlers into submission. It could be a different story in English conditions, but Gayle has always been a man who loves a challenge. This will be his international swansong, and he will desperately want to go out with a bang.

Quinton de Kock (South Africa)

An in-form De Kock is key to the South African cause in England. There are the likes of Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller, but in De Kock the Proteas have a man who can quickly take the game away from the opposition. The Proteas have invested a lot into their bowling stocks going into the tournament, but question marks remain over their batting depth and ability to chase and set big targets. De Kock becomes massive in that regard, and if he fires then South Africa will feel that they have won half the batting battle already.

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