Adam Parore: India, SA look the real deal

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India will play South Africa in the World Cup final, assuming the draw plays out that way.

Those two teams are the clear favourites to my mind.

Australia, gunning for their fourth consecutive triumph, were shaping up quite well. Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke are in the runs again, which is ominous because the way to win a World Cup is to have your best players firing.

But after a comprehensive series win over England, the Australians have fallen back in the World Cup warm-up games.

Considering their overall lineup, I don't think they play spin bowling well enough to win.

India are in terrific shape and who would be surprised if the pitches suit the advantages they have in bowling and facing spin.

They have so many options and players to rely on in the batting department. They also have a huge amount of experience so the pressure they will face from their fanatical fans won't get to them.

South Africa don't have a good record in big tournaments but they traditionally do well in the sub-continent. They are strong in all departments, including fielding.

I don't expect any unheralded players to grab the limelight - the tournament stars will come from the ranks of the famous, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, M.S. Dhoni.

New Zealand's chances are just about zero unfortunately. This week's heavy loss to India shows the ground they have to make up.

I hear suggestions that you only have to win three games. But you need to be world class with players in form to do that.

Even then, the very best teams might need an ounce of luck to turn events their way.

A struggling team, which New Zealand are, has little or no chance of stringing those kinds of wins together.

As for mad upsets, there are often one or two at a World Cup and they often involve Pakistan.

Keep an eye out.

* I don't see how the ICC can ban Salman Butt from commentating on the World Cup.

The heart says that Pakistani Butt, suspended for spot-fixing, should not be involved.

This is not a good look for cricket. But there are also employment issues involving the rights of people to work.

Legally, I suspect it would be very difficult to ban Butt.

- NZ Herald

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