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England slip behind India, Australia in World Cup stakes

Mitchell Starc bowls Getty Images

Well, it's been a fun ride for England's cricketers. They've dominated the World No.1 ranking and been earmarked as World Cup favourites for months on end in the lead-up to the tournament. But now, all of a sudden, just as we're getting to the sharp end of the competition, all that strength and certainty is starting to ebb away.

England's damaging 64-run defeat to Australia at Lord's is not the end of their World Cup dream by a long chalk - their destiny remains in their own hands with two games of the group stage to go, although they do have to face the two teams who remain unbeaten to date, India and New Zealand.

And it is India who have taken over England's mantle as World Cup favourites. Bet365 currently offer a price of 2/1, with England slipping out to third favourites at 3/1, behind even the Aussies, who were beaten 5-0 in a bilateral series this time last year, but whose momentum has been building with every game of the tournament.

With Mitchell Starc in their ranks, they are a match for any batting line-up in the tournament, and with the knowledge of five World Cup victories, including the last title in 2015, they are a side that no team will fancy meeting in the knock-outs. Except, maybe, England. They'll just be grateful to get there with no further alarms.

New Zealand are 6/1 to win their maiden title, a slightly distant price that reflects the fact that they've been pushed pretty hard already in their unbeaten run, and can expect another big challenge today from Pakistan - 18/1 and rising - whose stuttering start to the campaign is an almost-exact replica of their remarkable triumph in 1992.

Bangladesh, 50/1, are still in the running as well, as are Sri Lanka (66/1) and even West Indies, although at 250/1, they require quite a turn of events.