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  Monday, 30 September, 2002, 08:05 GMT 09:05 UK
Lessons learned for World Cup

There are only two tournaments in world cricket that include all of the major nations.

Virender Sehwag
India have incomparable batting depth
One has seen some wonderfully close contests in Colombo over the last three weeks and it has proven that the other, which begins in Cape Town in February, is still wide open.

India and Sri Lanka dominated the ICC Champions Trophy on slow, turning wickets typical of the subcontinent.

But conditions will be very different for the World Cup, on the hard ground of South Africa, where pace bowlers will have the advantage.

BBC Sport Online assesses the plusses and minuses that each team can take away from the tournament dubbed the Mini World Cup.


World Cup Pool A

Australia

Plus: The finest all-round attack in evidence, with economic openers backed up by the bite of Brett Lee and Shane Warne.

Minus: Attacking batsmen have no back-up plan if early wickets fall, whether to the pace of New Zealand earlier this year or the spin on Sri Lanka in the Colombo semi-final.

World Cup prediction: Winners


England

Plus: Ian Blackwell, called up as an injury replacement, proved his ability for the lower-order role that England have been desperate to fill, hitting 82 off 68 balls against India.

Minus: Desperately lacking an experienced bowler who will not lose confidence in the face of attacking batsmen. Darren Gough's return to fitness is their main hope.

World Cup prediction: Fourth in group


India

Plus: An incomparable depth of batting riches, augmented by youngsters Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif, who can set a high tempo from the off and maintain it.

Minus: An attack that looks likely to be short of two front-line seamers.

And part-time off-spinners Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar will be far less effective in South Africa.

World Cup prediction: Semi-finalists


Pakistan

Misbah-ul Haq
Misbah-ul Haq: Another exciting middle-order man
Plus: Misbah-ul Haq is the latest in a conveyor belt of young talent that leaves Pakistan's rivals envious of their batting depth.

Minus: Rumours of unrest in the side continued, with the mid-tournament replacement of coach Mudassar Nazar and the positions of key veterans including Saeed Anwar in doubt.

World Cup prediction: Semi-finalists


Zimbabwe

Plus: Confidence gained from running India too close for comfort, thanks to another brilliant display from Andy Flower.

Minus: The rest of the batting order appears to lack the ability to keep the scoreboard ticking.

As the pressure builds, the potential for self-destruction remains high, and that is just on the field of play.

World Cup prediction: Fifth in group


World Cup Pool B

New Zealand

Plus: Shane Bond continued his blazing first year in international cricket by running through Bangladesh.

But the wickets of Australians Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn will do more for his confidence.

Minus: In the absence of the explosive Chris Cairns (knee injury) and Craig McMillan (personal reasons), the batting line-up looks tame.

World Cup prediction: Super Six


South Africa

Herschelle Gibbs
Gibbs has proved himself world-class
Plus: Herschelle Gibbs is developing into a world-class opening batsman, while recent arrivals, like Justin Ontong and Graeme Smith, are beginning to look the part.

Minus: That propensity to fall at the final hurdle, as in that infamous 1999 semi-final, have yet to be solved, as a close win over West Indies and a last-gasp loss to India showed.

World Cup prediction: Runners-up


Sri Lanka

Plus: After a poor run of form, Sanath Jayasuriya is back to his ball-belting best.

Minus: Victories courtesy of their off-spin all-rounders has done nothing to further the search for at least one more strike bowler.

World Cup prediction: Super Six


West Indies

Plus: Economic left-arm paceman Pedro Collins was a major reason behind their keeping South Africa in check until the final over.

Minus: With Brian Lara again unfit, the team lacks a match-winner who can stand out: a batsman who can win on his own or a bowler who can take wickets.

World Cup prediction: Fourth in group

12 leading teams do battle in Sri Lanka

Final

Semi-finals

Pool 1

Pool 2

Pool 3

Pool 4

Columnists

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STATISTICS
Links to more ICC Champions Trophy stories are at the foot of the page.


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Links to more ICC Champions Trophy stories

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