Mumbai: Power hitting in the opening 15 overs before the pitches start to deteriorate will hold the key to success in this month's World Cup, according to former Australia opener Matthew Hayden.
Hayden, the top scorer at the 2007 World Cup, formed an explosive opening partnership with Adam Gilchrist which proved a decisive factor in Australia's triumphs in the last two tournaments.
"Gilly and I established ourselves as a great opening partnership and a really consistent partnership as well," Hayden told Reuters in an interview.
India and Sri Lanka are the two most balanced teams, believes the former Aussie opener.
"Opening is still based on the same principles of power hitting and India's (Gautam) Gambhir and (Virender) Sehwag do that well. They are definitely the best. I think they are the most powerful unit.
"But I feel (Shane) Watson is also going to play a big part in this World Cup."
Hayden, who was in Mumbai on Thursday to launch his autobiography "Standing My Ground", said he felt opening in one-day internationals was still about power hitting.
"Getting off to a good start in the first 15 overs before the wicket starts to deteriorate is going to be critical during the World Cup," he said.
He said he thought the South African opening bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel would be the most dangerous new ball combination on the placid subcontinent pitches.
"I have a good feel about the Sri Lankan attack of (Lasith) Malinga and (Nuwan) Kulasekara as well," Hayden said.
"Those two sides can be very damaging with the new ball and particularly South Africa.
"Sri Lanka and India I think are the most balanced units considering their spin options. I think (Muttiah) Muralitharan is naturally world class.
"He has been in World Cup finals before and this year I think is a big chance for Sri Lanka."