Afghanistan to win Cricket World Cup, predicts robot
February 12 2015 12:36 PM
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The Melbourne Cricket Ground will host Australia's opener against England on Saturday.

AFP/ Wellington

A New Zealand robot has predicted minnows Afghanistan will win the upcoming Cricket World Cup, although even the machine's programmer admits such a shock result is unlikely.

The University of Canterbury's robot Ikram made the prediction using software developed by doctorate student Eduardo Sandoval.

When the flags of the 14 participating nations were placed in front of the robot it selected Afghanistan, who are playing their first World Cup and drawn in a tough pool including Australia, England and New Zealand.

"Of course this is unlikely, but with cricket the result can always be unexpected," Sandoval said.

New Zealand bookmakers do not share the robot's views and have Afghanistan as 1,000-1 outsiders to win the tournament, with Australia favourites at 3-1.

Aussie skipper Clarke to miss England clash

Australia captain Michael Clarke was on Thursday ruled out of his country's World Cup opener against old rivals England after battling to shake off fully his hamstring problems.

Coach Darren Lehmann confirmed that Clarke would not play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday but should feature in Australia's second game against Bangladesh in Brisbane on February 21.

"He's not playing Saturday," said Lehmann. "We're really happy with his progress. We're going to stick with the plan and he's going to play against Bangladesh."

Clarke, 33, top scored with 64 opening the batting in Wednesday's 188-run warm-up win over the United Arab Emirates in Melbourne where he also bowled two overs.

He was captaining Australia for the first time since his hamstring surgery almost two months ago.

"He's very keen to play against England," added Lehmann.

"We had a chat. We're making sure he's 100% ready to go for Bangladesh. We're really comfortable with the decision."

Lehmann added that Clarke now needs to sharpen his fitness in the field ahead of the clash against Bangladesh.

He will be key to Australia's hopes of winning a fifth world title, boasting an impressive 7,762 runs in his 238 ODIs with an average nudging 45.

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