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Kings and Jacks: Prediction Time

World Cup predictions: Who will be the four semi-finalists?

Fawad Ahmed (Australia cricketer)

My semi-finalists are Australia, India, England and West Indies. Australia, I think, will win the World Cup because they are hungry for success and players like Steve Smith can play a vital role because they want to regain respect.

West Indies is my dark horse of the tournament because they have so many players with X-Factor. They have a balanced team and their batting unit is very strong and explosive. Their bowlers are in decent form too.

The batsman of the tournament for me will be Steve Smith because he will be keen to do something special for his own image as well as for the country. The bowler that I am picking is Jasprit Bumrah because of his unique action. He will be a threat to many teams because he has unbelievable control. The variations that he has make him one of the top bowlers in this World Cup.

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Robin Peterson (South Africa cricketer)

The four semi-finalists will be England, India and Australia and the fourth team could be one of Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa. But I’ll go with South Africa because they have a very good bowling attack in the form of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir. But the eventual winners will be Australia.

My dark horse for the tournament is West Indies because of their match-winning batsmen. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Evin Lewis and others.

David Warner, I feel, could be the batsman of the tournament whereas among bowlers my picks are Rabada and Rashid Khan.

Tymal Mills (England cricketer)

My four semi-finalists are England, India, Australia and New Zealand. The winner of the tournament will be England because their form speaks for itself. They are consistently outscoring the oppositions whereas the home conditions and support will only spur them on.

West Indies is my dark horse. With Chris Gayle, Ewin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell and the hugely impressive and consistent Shai Hope in their ranks, their batting has the potential to match anybody. Their bowling, however, needs to step up.

The best batsman will be Jonny Bairstow because he is in the form of his life as we have seen in the IPL. He has all the shots and runs brilliantly between wickets. In bowling, I’ll go with Kagiso Rabada. If he can stay fit, he is arguably the best fast bowler in the world currently. He is consistently over 145kph, swings the new ball and bowls excellent yorkers. He is a superstar.

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Tino Best (West Indies cricketer)

The four semi-finalists will be West Indies, India, Australia and Bangladesh. The winner, of course, will be West Indies because, in my opinion, it is the most talented team on paper. Once they click, they are going to score heavy and don’t be surprised if they score 500 in one of these games.

The dark horse of the tournament will be Pakistan.

Shai Hope is a hungry cricketer and the way he is batting is unbelievable and I think with that mindset he is going to be the batsman of the tournament. Mitchell Starc is a hungry cricketer as well. He is bowling quick whereas being left handed and bowling 145kph gives him a great opportunity to be more deadly than the other quick men.

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Sana Mir (Pakistan cricketer)

The semi-finalists, in my opinion, will be England, Australia and India. The fourth one is difficult to pick at this point but it could be West Indies, New Zealand or Pakistan. I think England is going to win the tournament for the first time.

The dark horse is West Indies because of the cricketers like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Ewin Lewis and others.

The batsman of the tournament is going to be England’s hard-hitting Jos Buttler whereas India’s pacer Jasprit Bumrah will be bowler of the tournament.

Deep Dasgupta (India cricketer)

England, India and Australia will be the three semi-finalists while the fourth team could be New Zealand or West Indies It will be a very competitive tournament so difficult to predict a winner.

New Zealand and West Indies are two dark horses. The former because they have been a very consistent side over the years and look a balanced side especially in the first half of the tournament whereas the latter has a lot of match winners with the bat - such as Chris Gayle, Andre Russell - and have a good bowling side too.

Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are the two batsmen who are technically very sound and have the ability to adapt to different situations. Both are also very consistent.

In bowlers, I’ll go with Kagiso Rabada and Jasprit Bumrah because both are extremely skilled and are match-winners and also have the temperament for the big stage.

Zainab Abbas (Cricket presenter)

The top four teams will be Australia, England, India and Pakistan. England are clear favourites because they have the best batting line up. But the winner for me will be Pakistan. Just because they are going through a poor run does mean they should be ruled out. Normally, they do find a way to perform in the big tournaments.

West Indies will be my dark horse because it is a team that blows hot and cold. They have a lot of good power-hitters in Gayle, Russell and Lewis. In the middle-order, they have Shai Hope, who is their most complete batsman.

The best batsman will be Jos Buttler because he is in sublime form. He is the sort of batsman who can tear apart any kind of bowling attack. In bowlers, I’ll go with Kuldeep Yadav because spin will play a key role in the tournament. It might not turn a lot but pace off the ball will definitely be a key factor.

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Mazher Arshad (Cricket statistician)

England, India and New Zealand are my three of the four semi-finalists. It is tough to predict the fourth team because most of the remaining teams have the potential to be among the top four. It could be Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies or who knows even Bangladesh. I don’t have a winner but I have a feeling that New Zealand might be a surprise package. They have in form batsmen and some really good bowlers.

The dark horse for me is Pakistan. We all know how unpredictable they are. Even though they go in the tournament on the back of 10 consecutive losses but that does not really mean anything for a team like Pakistan. In 2015, they barely made it to the Champions Trophy and two years later won the tournament. Their cricket is a slap on the face of logic.

There are so many great batsmen so can’t really pick one but I think Babar Azam will score more runs than Virat Kohli in this tournament. As for bowlers, it will be one of India bowlers. Jasprit Bumrah or Kuldeep Yadav.

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