The top ten One Day international cricket teams in the world will be converging for the 2019 Cricket World Cup this summer. The action starts on May 30th with host nation England (jointly hosting the tournament with Wales) opening the proceedings against South Africa at the Oval.
Who’s taking part?
England is the host nation for the 2019 Cricket World. Others top eight of the ICC One Day Rankings will participate, and the other two spots filled at the tournament were for the successful teams from the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
That was a tournament which had ten nations competing and the two teams to reach the final of that competition were the ones who will be heading to the 2019 World Cup. That was Afghanistan and West Indies, Afghanistan winning the final of that 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifier by seven wickets over the Windies.
The Cricket World Cup is played on a One Day International format. That is 50 overs per side. Each bowler is limited to bowling only the ten overs per match. It is a simple format where the team batting first posts a score, for the team batting second to try and beat.
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The field has been cut down from fourteen teams to just ten for this next edition of the Cricket World Cup.
It ramps up the pressure a bit, although this format has been criticised. That is because they are now twelve Test Nations in the world (as Ireland and Afghanistan were included two years ago), so that means that not all Test Nations will be competing at this World Cup, although all of the ten participants are Test Nations.
Basically, the criticism is that the process didn’t help Associate members (nations without Test status) get the chance to compete on this grand stage.
The ten teams taking part in the 2019 Cricket World Cup are all in one round robin group for the first phase of the competition. Each team will, therefore, play nine matches, one against each of the other competitors. So there is plenty of opportunities for teams to get some positive momentum going behind them.
With everyone together, no team gets an easier draw. That is how tough it will be to rise to the top. The top four teams in the table at the end of the round robin stage will then move through to the knockouts.
The team who finishes first will face the team who finished fourth and the other semifinal will, therefore, be 2nd v 3rd. The two teams who make it all the way through to the final will meet at Lords on July 14th for the top honours.
Who are the reigning champions?
Australia and New Zealand joined the tournament four years ago. There was clear home soil advantage with conditions, as both of the host nations made it through to the final. Australia won the deciding match over their neighbours by seven wickets.
That was Australia’s fifth World Cup title which extended their record as the most successful nation in the history of the tournament. The only other winners have been India (2), West Indies (2), Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Incidentally, no team has finished runner-up on more occasions than England (3 times).
Who are the 2019 favourites?
England will kick off the tournament as the favourites, to the tune of +237 odds to win outright. In cricket, playing in home conditions counts for a lot, so this is seen as a huge opportunity for the English side to taste success in the competition for the first time ever. It’s not just that though, England are top of the current ICC ODI rankings and really have the explosive batting power to take this tournament to the other main contenders.
Who are the big threats to England’s power? That will be India, giants of the game but who, like England really, have failed to live up to expectation enough times in the tournament, winning just twice before. But their talent can’t be ignored. They were losing finalists four years ago in what was an attempt at a title defence. India are hosting in 2023 so they would love to head there as the reigning champions. India are +280 pre-tournament to take the title for the third time.
Main Contenders (based on rankings)
England have it all in their line up. They really do. They have wonderful wildcards in their ranks like Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, with a savvy tactical captain in Eoin Morgan. Jos Buttler though is the one to watch for them. If he is dialled in with the bat, then England are going to take some stopping in this tournament, because there’s enough depth around him to post some big scores. Buttler can carry the nation on his broad shoulders.
Because they have Virat Kohli then India are going to be a threat. India are deep in talent from Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to MS Dhoni. They are a good, settled side and probably on paper are going to take a better bowling attack to the tournament than even England are. They perhaps are just missing the one quality extra batsman, but otherwise, they are strong and they will be ready for this.
The Proteas are an interesting team. Their clear strength is going to be with the bat and there is depth and power all over the place, particularly with Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock. They will be hoping that Hashim Amla can bring a bit more consistency to his game because that will project them ever deeper into the tournament. They will be relying on a couple of key bowlers, so it’s whether or not they are going to deliver enough variety with the ball in hand that will decide their fate.
The Black Caps very rarely let their supporters down. From their previous eleven attempts at the Cricket World Cup, they have finished runners up once and were losing semi-finalists on six occasions. They really thrived four years ago on home soil, and they do have a huge asset in Trent Boult whose is a brilliant swing bowler, perfectly suited for the English pitches. There’s Kane Williamson, one of the most composed batsman in the world who would walk into the line up of any of the other leading nations. However, there isn’t the same kind of depth in quality as some of the other main contenders.
Australia cricket has been going through a bit of turmoil and they potentially aren’t at their very best at the moment. They may struggle with the bat and the conditions on the tracks in England won’t suit them too much. They have looked a bit weak through their batting line up, but they have gotten David Warner and Steve Smith back after their bans for ball tampering. That at least adds a bit of experience, but will their frame of mind be right? Australia do have the pace in attack with the ball in hand, but their batting line up doesn’t look as strong as it could be.
It is going to be some occasion and really all the weight of expectancy is on England. They have home soil advantage and are the top ranked team in the competition. Can they put it all together and deliver something special for the home support? The fact that they’re the #1 team in the world adds that extra intensity to the greatest spectacles of cricket.