Crowe wants Kiwis to win, but backs SA

2015 World Cup

Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe says he hopes that his countrymen are able to win the World Cup, but feels that South Africa are actually the likely victors if they can shake off their past mistakes.

The Proteas are notorious for faltering in the knock out stages of ICC events, often at the hands of the Black Caps, and despite being the favourites a lot of the time, they have never won a trophy.

But Crowe feels that this might be there year, on decks more suited to them and with formidable batting and bowling line-ups, featuring ranking toppers AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn.

Crowe wrote on Cricinfo: "Now that AB de Villiers has become the world's most outrageous strokemaker there is reason to believe again. He stands on a pedestal as a man who can change a game in the blink of an eye.

"Along with Brendon McCullum, de Villiers is timing his run immaculately. These two leaders are the men I would love to see at the toss in Melbourne come March 29, if the draw will allow it.

"South Africa also have Hashim Amla, a modern-day great player with a beautiful attitude to the game. He's the sort of guy you want to see succeed, oozing class from beard to toe. Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller are outstanding lieutenants with the bat.

"And who can go past the skill, experience and balance of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir? It's an impressive line-up. The only question remaining is the actual execution of managing the pressure moments.

"I don't see de Villiers gasping for air this time around, for he has shown often lately that he completes all transactions on the field. His new-found maturity will rub off, and that's why I rate them as favourites to go to Melbourne."

Crowe went on to name who he thought would make the semi-finals, and aside from the Proteas and the Kiwis, he thought co-hosts Australia and dark horses England would make the cut, leaving no room for defending champions India.

He added: "South Africa have the best collection of players and only need a run of luck and unrelenting belief and they should go far. New Zealand have a wonderful spirit and respect for the game, and home advantage will benefit their well-balanced squad.

"Australia will have their gander up and will aggressively fight tooth and nail for fresh winds, but if they lose Clarke, they lose a mainsail.

"England are not to be underestimated: they have capable cricketers and there is always a silver lining, though their stitching hangs by a thread. Often after a rough storm, the clearing skies provide a new lease of life. Beware the hungry lion coming from behind.

"So I'm picking a new champion to be crowned. My heart says the Black Caps, my head suggests the Proteas."