Cricket World Cup 2023 predictions: Nasser Hussain on winners, dark horses, top run scorers and wicket takers
Sky Sports analyst Nasser Hussain offers his final Cricket World Cup predictions ahead of the tournament.
Nasser Hussain believes the Cricket World Cup 2023 could be a wide open race between four teams or more as the tournament begins this week.
Sky Sports analyst Hussain will be one of the key faces and voices throughout the tournament as host nation India, reigning champions England and a range of terrific teams battle for supremacy.
The former England captain can see England going all the way to win their third successive white-ball World Cup title following triumphs in the 50 over tournament in 2019 and the T20 World Cup last year.
Of course, India – and a billion of their citizens – may have something to say about that, as their superstars seek to put on a show for the masses.
Hussain picked out his top teams expected to challenge for the Cricket World Cup title, as well as a couple of dark horses who could go well across the variable surfaces of the subcontinent.
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He also picked out an England star he believes could claim more wickets than anyone else in the tournament and his predictions for top run-scorer in the competition.
Who will win the Cricket World Cup?
NH: A) The No.1 ranked side in the world, B) playing at home. Those two things usually lead to good World Cups, as we've seen in three of the last four. Fabulous, fabulous batters and some of the greatest white ball players there has ever been in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. They have brilliant bowling in Jasprit Bumrah. They are just a great cricketing nation, they will be there or thereabouts.
NH: Double World Cup winners, the white ball talent has been unbelievable. A lot of their cricketers have got IPL experience. If this tournament was five years ago, 10 years ago, I'd have been a little bit concerned about adapting to Indian conditions, but because they've been so good, it's sort of been cyclical that they've been asked to go and play IPL.
Sam Curran is probably one of the most wanted players in franchise cricket around the world, so you've got the likes of him, Buttler, Bairstow, you know, these sort of guys, Jofra Archer is travelling as a reserve, but there's a lot of players that have played in India.
England's batting depth, as well, you could have No.5 Buttler, No.6 Livingston, No.7 Curran, No.8 Moeen, No.9 Woakes and No.10 Wood. That's a lot – that's incredible.
NH: Pakistan, because of their wicket-taking bowlers, and they're a tournament side, Pakistan, for me [have a chance]. They'll have an off couple of games, you write them off, and then they'll win five in a row and suddenly turn up in a semi, and when you get to a knockout game, they are, as England found out in the Champions Trophy at Cardiff, they are very difficult to beat.
If you asked me who were the four semi-finalists, I'd go with those four - England, India, Pakistan, Australia - with hopefully an England v India final – that would be great. ICC may want to see an India v Pakistan final though!
Who are Cricket World Cup dark horses?
NH: Afghanistan, in those conditions, you better turn up and be right at the top of your game. They have some very destructive, dangerous batters that play no fear cricket. The challenge for their batting is to do it across 50 overs. I think sometimes they play the shot of the day and the small cameo innings, but if their bowling attack then get a par score, in those conditions, they'll be very dangerous so you better turn up.
NH: South Africa are going under the radar. You look at their side. Anrich Nortje is a miss being injured but, you know, with their batting line-up, their fast bowlers, they're good in the field, David Miller as their finisher, Heinrich Klaasen in the form he is in, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, it's just a fabulous side.
Which side is under pressure to perform?
NH: The perennial underachievers in ICC events have actually been Bangladesh. You look at Sri Lanka, who had instant success when they got in, Bangladesh have really not grown for the fanatical support they've had and the cricketers they've had, they've not quite gone like that. Even now, having rows about what happened in selection, a lot of politics going on. For their fanatical support, Bangladesh, you just hope they have a better tournament.
Who will be top run scorer?
NH: Because of who I think will get to the finals – I've gone India v England – so I'm going to have to go to one of those because, by definition, they're playing more games. I'm going to go Rohit Sharma as the top run scorer. Batting at the top of the order, as well, helps. It's the best place to bat, the full 50 overs, he's got three double hundreds in white ball cricket, he's in great nick. But it could be anyone!
Who will be top wicker taker?
NH: Wicket taker? I'll go Adil Rashid, because I think England will go all the way. Spin, middle overs, wicket taker. [He's] had a quiet time of late, but they said that about him in the World T20 and he ended up being brilliant. I think [Eoin] Morgan sort of turned around his career - Adil turned it around, but the way Morgs used him and backed him and just said go and get wickets.
The Men’s Cricket World Cup is available on Sky Sports and NOW from 5th October.
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