Experienced Welsh pair set to triumph in Wuxi
Chinese strong on home turf
Eurosport 2, 6am Monday
The World Cup makes its return to the snooker calendar after a two-year absence, with 24 teams hoping they have what it takes to be crowned global champions in Wuxi.
Hosts China have two top-class teams to go to war with. Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo form their supposed power couple, while teenage duo Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao are an excellent second string.
China have won the last two runnings. Junhui and Wenbo reigned supreme in Thailand in 2011, while youngsters Bingtao and Yuelong defied the odds two years ago, winning at 66-1.
Bookmakers prefer the chances of Ding’s pairing but it would be a mistake to underestimate China B, who include two of the sport's rising stars.
However, at the prices the Welsh duo of two-time world champion Mark Williams and Ryan Day make most appeal.
A number of players are making their seasonal reappearances but the Welsh pair have started the campaign in full swing and have displayed a decent level of form.
Day claimed his first ranking title at last week’s Riga Masters and returned to the world’s top 16, while Williams also performed admirably, falling to his compatriot in the last four.
They form one of the classiest pairings in the competition and should fancy their chances of topping Group A at the expense of holders China B, who may find the Welsh experience too taxing.
England – whose team is Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins – are worthy favourites but there’s little juice in their price, while 2015 runners-up Scotland have been handed the toughest draw, with Thailand and Northern Ireland both big dangers in Group D.
1pt 7-1 bet365, Betway