World Cup preview: Pool B - South Africa look the stand-out side in a group of mercurial talent
Proteas joined by India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and UAE
Last Updated: 09/02/15 12:08pm
With the World Cup a few days away, we give you the lowdown on every team battling for the trophy. Here's Pool B...
M(In order of the ICC ODI Rankings as of February 3 2015. All stats correct as of that date.)
Since 2014: P28 W14 L11 T1 NR2
Four years ago: It couldn’t get much better, winning the whole thing in front of their home fans. But of that XI, only Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni remain. A young side brimming with talent has since taken the reins and added the Champions Trophy to the cabinet in 2013.
Chances in a tweet: It will be tougher away from the sub-continent. But the Test form key man Kohli showed in Australia this winter brings high expectations.
World Cup squad: Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (capt & wkt), Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu (wkt), Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
Since 2014: P24 W16 L7 NR1
Four years ago: An odd tournament for the perennial 'chokers'. They topped the group stage with five comfortable wins – crushing two of the lower-ranked teams by over 200 runs, one by 131. The other wins were equally impressive, a seven-wicket triumph over West Indies and a successful chase of 296 against India. It was the smaller totals which troubled them, unable to beat England’s 171 in the group, or New Zealand’s 221 in the quarter-finals.
Chances in a tweet: Fewer stars than in previous World Cups, Jacques Kallis' absence to be keenly felt. Then again, who needs him when you have De Villiers?
World Cup squad: Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wkt), AB de Villiers (capt & wkt), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Vernon Philander, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir.
Since 2014: P18 W6 L12
Four years ago: The closest they’ve come to winning it since 1992 – aside from a one-sided defeat to Australia in the final in 1999. Shahid Afridi was the joint leading wicket-taker for the tournament with 21, but they fell 29 runs short of the old enemy, India, in the semi-final.
Chances in a tweet: Ever unpredictable, personified by the sometimes destructive, sometimes careless Afridi, who bows out of ODI cricket after the tournament.
World Cup squad: Ahmed Shehzad, Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Rahat Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wkt), Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Khan, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Younus Khan.
Since 2014: P18 W8 L10
Four years ago: A tournament too soon for the West Indies. An ultimately disappointing campaign saw them squeak into the knockout stages only to be smashed by Pakistan in the quarter-finals. But most of that squad formed the basis of their World T20 win a year later and they are still a dangerous limited-overs side on their day.
Chances in a tweet: There's the brutal batting of Chris Gayle, but with no Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard or Sunil Narine, there's not much else to shout about.
World Cup squad: Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (capt), Nikita Miller, Denesh Ramdin (wkt), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Jerome Taylor.
Since 2014: P16 W3 L13
Four years ago: Another early exit. It has been a long time since Zimbabwe made an impact on a World Cup, either in statement (Andy Flower and Henry Olonga’s black-armbands in 2003), performance (bettering the hosts England by reaching the Super Six stage in 1999) or with an upset (Duncan Fletcher helping beat the Australians in 1983).
Chances in a tweet: The tournament's least in-form team with only three wins since 2014, although one of them was a memorable defeat of Australia in August.
World Cup squad: Regis Chakabva (wkt), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura (capt), Craig Ervine, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Solomon Mire, Tawanda Mupariwa, Tinashe Panyangara, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor (wkt), Prosper Utseya, Sean Williams.
Since 2014: P9 W4 L4 NR1
Four years ago: Two words. Or perhaps three… Kevin O’Brien. His 113 – a record-fastest World Cup hundred – in defeating England was undoubtedly the highlight of a tournament that brought only one other win against the Netherlands.
Chances in a tweet: Their team is somewhat of a who's who of county talent and once again the Irish will be the tournament's best bet to provide an upset.
World Cup squad: Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien (wkt), William Porterfield (capt), Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson (wkt), Craig Young.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Since 2014: P7 W4 L3
Four years ago: Didn’t qualify. And have only done so once before, way back in 1996 when they beat the Netherlands in the first ever official ODI between two ICC Associate teams.
Chances in a tweet: The tournament's real unknown and not because of their unpredictable nature. Literally no one knows anything about them.
World Cup squad: Amjad Ali, Amjad Javed, Andri Berenger (wkt), Fahad Alhashmi, Kamran Shazad, Khurram Khan, Krishna Chandran, Manjula Guruge, Mohammad Naveed, Mohammad Tauqir (capt), Nasir Aziz, Rohan Mustafa, Saqlain Haider (wkt), Shaiman Anwar, Swapnil Patil (wkt).
You can watch every match of the 2015 ICC World Cup live on our dedicated channel Sky Sports World Cup, starting with New Zealand against Sri Lanka from 10pm on Friday 13 February.
Before then don’t miss our World Cup Preview Show, with Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan, from 8pm on Friday on the same channel.