We are now just days away from the official launch of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup! The tournament gets underway on Thursday, the 30th of March with the host nation, England, taking on South Africa in the opening game from 7.00pm (AEST).
We started our World Cup coverage last week by previewing all 10 squads in the tournament and giving a specialised team bet for each. Today, we focus on some outright outcomes for the tournament, including who we think will lift the trophy in July!
We think there are three teams in this years Cricket World Cup that stand-out above the rest and who should be considered serious contenders to win the tournament. England, Australia and India.
England come into the tournament as the No.1 ranked ODI team in the world after a dominant stretch since the last World Cup. They also have the added advantage of playing the tournament at home, where they will be more familiar with the conditions than any other team and where they will have the support from the famous Barmy Army.
The English batting line-up is without doubt the strongest in the world. One day specialists in the likes of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler can score at will while Johnny Bairstow and Joe Root are in the upper echelon of world batsmen regardless of the format. Ben Stokes is a proven match winner with both bat and the batting depth of the English team is impressive with the likes of Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Joffra Archer and David Willey all able to do serious damage with the bat. There’s a little left to be desired on the bowling front for England but the addition of Archer will definitely help. England will back themselves to chase down any total and are worthy pre tournament favourites.
When one-year bans were handed down to Steve Smith and David Warner following the ball tampering incident in South Africa, the Australian ODI team went on a string of disappointing results and their World Cup title defence looked to be in shambles. However, the Aussies have bounced back in a massive way, winning their last eight ODI games in a row in dominant fashion, including a series win over India away from home after trailing 2-0.
Smith looks to be back to his blistering best after notching up a brilliant hundred in the Aussies warm up game win over England while the addition of David Warner at the top of the order is ominous. Pair those two with a top/middle order that has been firing on all cylinders in ODI’s of late and the Australian batting line-up all of a sudden, looks world class.
While the bating has definitely become a strength for the Aussies, it’s the bowling that really has the ability to turn this tournament on it’s head. Throughout the last four years we have seen a mix of domestic and BBL stars represent the green and gold in ODI matches. However, the big guns in the likes of Mitch Starc and Pat Cummins will spearhead the attack in England. Mitch Starc was dominant in the 2015 World Cup, claiming a tournament high 22 wickets to help Australia lift the trophy. Don’t be surprised if he proves doubters wrong and reinserts himself back into the best pace bowler in the world conversation.
The Indian team might not be as strong from top to bottom as the two teams we mentioned above, but they posses arguably the most out and out star power of any nation in the competition. So much will rest on the shoulders of just a few Indians in the 2019 World Cup. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will both likely need to average north of 50 at the top of the order while MS Dhoni will be critical in the middle order. The batting order around those three can be extremely shaky at times and their spin attack won’t be as potent as it has been on Indian surfaces over the years.
The one player who will need to shine more than anyone in England is paceman Jasprit Bumrah. Over the past couple of years, Bumrah has announced himself as inarguably the premier limited overs paceman in the world. He is capable of ripping through attacks early in the innings as well as limiting runs later on. If Bumrah has a solid round robin performance, the Indians should breeze into the semi finals, from there, they are only one great Kohli innings away from claiming their 3rd World Cup trophy.
We hate to say it, but the English really look the goods here. In years past they have made the mistake of taking Test players to the World Cup, but since bowing out of the 2015 tournament in horrific fashion, they have put a strong emphasis on the recruitment and development of specialist limited overs players.
England have the best batting line-up in the world, and you can bet that the English curators will play to those strengths. It’s likely that we’ll see pitches suited to scores of 350+ and England have become the best team in the world at setting and chasing down those types of scores.
We firmly believe that the three teams mentioned above should find their way into a semi-final, which leaves one more spot up for grabs. South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan and the West Indies will likely be figting for this spot, and we have to lean in favour of the Kiwis.
After making the ODI World Cup final in 2015, the Kiwis will have new found confidence heading into the tournament in England and their form over the past few years in ODI games has been impressive. They have a solid batting line-up led by skipper Kane Williamson and hard hitting opener Martin Guptill but their strength lies in their pace attack.
Trent Boult was arguably the most outstanding bowler in the 2015 World Cup, picking up 22 wickets at an average of just 16.86. Pair Boult with veteran Tim Southee and you have one of the best 1-2 punches in world cricket.
Finishing on the bottom of the new round robin format table isn’t where any team wants to end up, but for some of the nations competing in this years World Cup, just making the finals in England will be seen as a big win. The likes of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were in danger of missing their first World Cup since the 90s in favour of some of the up and coming nations in the limited overs format.
Afghanistan is one of those nations. They were able to bully Zimbabwe out of the traditional 10 cricketing nations for their chance to compete for the World Cup, and we firmly believe that they won’t just be making up the numbers in England.
Out of the three sides, we actually think Sri Lanka look to have the worst team on paper. Their form over the past few years in ODI cricket hasn’t been fantastic and they have fallen to 9th in the ODI rankings. So much relies on too few for the Sri Lankas in this tournament. We think they are great value to finish on the bottom of the table.
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