Warne tips Black Caps as contenders

11:31 am on 14 February 2015

The Australian cricket great Shane Warne is tipping New Zealand as one of the favourites to win the one day World Cup, which begins today when the Black Caps host Sri Lanka in Christchurch.

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne in Christchurch for Cup Day 2014.

Australian cricket legend Shane Warne in Christchurch for Cup Day 2014. Photo: RNZ

In the 10 World Cups to date, New Zealand have often surprised but have never reached the final, carrying truckloads of neutral support, but rarely viewed as a serious title hope.

That has changed over the past year, with New Zealand winning nine of 14 one-dayers.

"They're going to give us a hard time," Warne says, predicting the February 28 trans-Tasman battle could be Australia's toughest pool match.

"They're playing some great cricket and, in their own conditions, they're going to be tough to beat."

Warne thinks Australia should make the final on March 29, adding he has never seen a squad so well placed to lift the trophy.

"Going into them we've been favourites a few times... but I don't think I've seen Australia go into any World Cup with so many match-winners," he says. "There's so many guys in form."

But the 45-year-old stopped short of calling Darren Lehmann's men outright favourites.

"New Zealand I think are one of the favourites," the cricket icon says. "Especially the way they've been playing recently.

"A lot of teams can win this ... Australia's biggest threat is there are just so many good teams."

Warne agrees South Africa could also thwart Australia's bid for a fifth World Cup title.