Cricket

2019 Cricket World Cup Preview – Fourth time lucky for England??

The 2019 one-day Cricket World Cup gets underway on Thursday May 30th, with hosts and pre tournament favourites England taking on South Africa in the opening game, that will culminate over six weeks later, with the final being played at Lords on Sunday 14th July.

England, captained by Eoin Morgan, will be looking to finally hoist aloft the World Cup trophy, having never been champions before, but with three final appearances to date. Here, we preview the tournament :

TOURNAMENT FORMAT

The ten qualifying nations will play in a one league, round robin, format – all playing each other once, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi finals (1v4, 2v3). Teams are awarded 2 points for a victory, with 1 point each for a tie or if the game is abandoned due to weather. There are no reserve days for group fixtures – there are for the knockout stages.

QUALIFYING TEAMS

The ten competing nations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup are, along with how they qualified :

  • England – Host Nation
  • Australia – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • Bangladesh – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • India – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • New Zealand – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • Pakistan – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • South Africa – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • Sri Lanka – via 2017 ODI Championship
  • Afghanistan – via 2018 Qualifier
  • West Indies – via 2018 Qualifier

This tournament marks the first time that Zimbabwe have missed the World Cup since 1983, Ireland since 2007 and no associate cricketing nation will be represented.

WHO START FAVOURITES

As hosts and ranked #1 in the current world ODI rankings, England start as warm favourites to win the World Cup. They are an intimidating outfit, with a very deep, powerful and explosive batting line up, being able to set strong targets or chase down big scores, and a potent bowling line up – fast strike bowlers in Mark Wood and exciting talent Jofra Archer (above), fine spinning options with Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, all backed up by strong options depending on circumstances. Also an excellent fielding unit, England look the part and come in to the tournament with some great performances and victories behind them.

India will pose as their greatest challengers – traditionally strong in the one day version of the game, India are the #2 ranked nation in the standings, and have recently beaten both Australia and New Zealand in ODI series. Having won the Cricket World Cup twice before, captain Virat Kohli (above) will be looking to lead his nation to a third victory and they will not be fazed by the English conditions.

As always, Australia have to be respected – whilst not the formidable outfit of old, the Aussies look to be peaking at exactly the right time for the tournament and have added Steve Smith (above) and the explosive David Warner back into their squad after the now infamous bans they received for ball tampering. Australia have slipped to 5th in the world rankings, but we expect them to have a fine tournament.

Of the rest, New Zealand are always a very competitive, well drilled ODI outfit and manage to fly under the radar, and could well sneak into the final four, ahead of the West Indies and Pakistan – both of whom are very capable on their day, but also are very inconsistent.

South Africa are not the force of old, whilst much the same can be said for Sri Lanka. Afghanistan and Bangladesh will have their moments, especially with the bat, but don’t have the same talent or strength to make the knockout phase. They could well spring a surprise in a game or two though.

PREDICTIONS

For once, and for a very long time, optimism about the chances of England are fully justified and they look to have an outstanding chance to claim their first ever World Cup. A few injury concerns they have had have cleared up, and the squad selection looks to be right for conditions and opposition. They should qualify for the semi finals with little fuss, as long as the weather doesn’t have an adverse effect, and then its whether they can handle the pressure on the day. We can see a huge semi final clash with the Aussies and then, likely India in the final, who we see seeing off the Kiwis in the other semi final. That will be another huge game, but everything does point to England winning their first ever Cricket World Cup and we select them with more expectation than hope, as has been the case in the past.