Cricket World Cup 2019 - Preview

Cricket World Cup 2019 Preview: Get set for a Summer of Smashing Cricket

The world’s finest white-ball cricketers have descended upon England to battle it out for glory at the 2019 World Cup this summer. Fans can look forward to six weeks of exhilarating action before a world champion is crowned on the hallowed turf at Lord’s on July 14. Fierce rivalries will be renewed, heroes will be born and villains will break the hearts of entire nations. Expect to see Jofra Archer terrorising opponents with breakneck deliveries, Virat Kohli dazzling with his individual brilliance, Chris Gayle whipping crowds into a frenzy with his ferocious hitting, and Steve Smith and David Warner being mercilessly booed.

England deposed India at the top of the world rankings in May 2018 and they have remained there ever since. Results have been magnificent, competition for places was ferocious before the 15-man squad was named and this is now arguably the finest ODI team the country has ever boasted. The tournament is being held on home soil and a nation expects. Yet England have never previously won the World Cup, and serial champions Australia will relish the opportunity to spoil the party, while India are blessed with an outrageously talented and extremely experienced squad. Throw in a few dark horses and it promises to be a fascinating tournament.

In fact, it should turn out to be the greatest sporting spectacle of the summer. It will capture the imagination of hundreds of millions of fans across the globe and we will be offering all manner of Cricket World Cup spreads to boost the excitement you experience while watching the action unfold.

When Does the Cricket World Cup Start?

The World Cup begins at 10.30am on Thursday, 30 May, as England take on South Africa at The Oval. Eoin Morgan’s men are the favourites to secure a morale-boosting victory in the Cricket World Cup spread betting, as they have a Supremacy Index of 23-33 over the South Africans. The 100-50-0 Index for England is 67-73, whereas it is 27-31 for South Africa. However, Faf du Plessis leads a strong squad into this tournament. South Africa are currently third in the ICC world ODI team rankings, ahead of New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan, so they will provide a stern opening test for the home nation.

What is The Format of The Tournament?

Previous World Cups have seen the teams divided into groups, with the top sides progressing to the knockout stage. However, the organisers have decided to rip up the old format and put all 10 teams into a single league this year. All the teams will play each other once in a round-robin format, and the top four teams will then go into the semi-finals. This forgiving format means teams can get away with one or two poor performances whilst still having a good shot at reaching the knockout stage. However, the most consistent teams with the greatest squad depth will of course be most advantaged.

The round robin stage will run until Saturday, July 6, and fans can look forward to action every single day between now and then. There will be 45 matches in total during the round robin stage, so some days will see two ODIs take place. There are some fierce rivalries within the cricketing world, and India v Pakistan at Old Trafford on July 16 will be a massive match. England v West Indies is always an enjoyable meeting and that takes place in Southampton on June 14.

The Aussies have rivalries with several nations, and everyone will look forward to them taking on India on June 9, England on June 25 and New Zealand on June 29. The final game of the league stage sees Australia take on South Africa, and that should generate plenty of headlines. Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft all received hefty suspensions for their roles in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa last year, and that should stir up plenty of animosity between these two teams. There could be plenty at stake in the final game and that promises to be an exciting clash.

How Many Knockout Rounds are There?

The first semi-final takes place at Old Trafford on Tuesday, July 9, with the team that tops the table taking on the team that squeezes through in fourth. Two days later, the second and third placed teams will lock horns at Edgbaston in Birmingham to battle it out for a place in the final. It all wraps up on Sunday, July 14, at Lord’s in London, when a champion will be crowned.

What Happens if Games are Rained Off?

The weather is supremely fickle during the English summertime and a recent match between the hosts and Pakistan was rained off. Six weeks of uninterrupted sunshine is almost unheard of on these shores and there are likely to be delays throughout the tournament. If a match is rained off, it should be moved to the following day. For the semi-finals and final, there is a specific reserve day in place should the weather gods be in a mischievous mood.

What are the Opening Round Matches to Watch?

England and South Africa get proceedings underway when they tangle at The Oval on Thursday, and the next day sees Pakistan take on the West Indies at Trent Bridge. Pakistan suffered a 4-0 humbling in that warm-up series against England, but they still boast plenty of talent within their ranks. There is a great deal of hype around teenage quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain, who has been sending down balls at 93mph in the build-up to this tournament. The Windies also have a strong team, led by the irrepressible Chris Gayle, dubbed The Universe Boss for his prowess with the bat. That looks like an exciting contest and our traders put those two teams neck-and-neck in the cricket spread betting.

New Zealand will begin their campaign against a veteran Sri Lanka team in Cardiff on Saturday. Nine of the 15 players chosen for Sri Lanka’s squad are over 30 and the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal bring plenty of experience to the tournament. Yet New Zealand are ranked fourth in the world in the ODI format and they have a team stacked with superstars such as Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Ross Taylor and Mitchell Santner and they are the favourites to win that one.

Just down the road in Bristol, Australia will be opening their account against Afghanistan. They secured a morale-boosting win over England in an unofficial warm-up match and fans will have been pleased to see Smith looking back to his unflappable best. England then turned things around by thrashing Afghanistan by nine wickets, which could worry some of their supporters.

Yet this team has done extremely well to rise to 10th in the world rankings and qualify for the tournament, considering that Afghanistan barely had a cricket pitch 20 years ago. Rashid Khan is the star of the show, but there is quality throughout the line-up and it will be fascinating to see how they get on.

The next game sees South Africa back in action against Bangladesh, who are currently seventh in the world and reliant on the talents of Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Tamim Iqbal. Fans will have to wait until June 5 for a first glimpse of Virat Kohli’s India team, by which time most teams will have already played twice. They begin their campaign against South Africa, who will be playing their third match of the tournament by then.

Who are the Current Cricket World Cup Holders?

Australia are the reigning champions after they secured a thumping victory over New Zealand in the final back in 2015. It was held on home soil at the iconic MCG in Melbourne and it attracted a record ODI crowd of 93,013 spectators. Mitchell Starc set the tone when he bowled New Zealand hero Brendon McCullum in the fifth ball of the match. Grant Elliot and Taylor threatened to make things interesting with a strong partnership, but man of the match James Faulkner removed them both and then New Zealand crumbled. The Aussies were chasing a target of just 183 and Smith got them over the line with an unbeaten 56 as they romped to a seven-wicket victory.

What do Previous Tournaments Tell Us About the Potential Winners?

Australia are by far and away the most successful team in World Cup history, with seven final appearances and five wins. There have only been 11 World Cups, so that is extremely impressive. The first three tournaments were held in England, with the Windies winning the first two and then India winning the third in 1983. It has been held in England four times and the hosts have never prevailed, as Australia won it at Lord’s in 1992.

The host nation failed to win the first nine World Cups, but then India secured victory in Mumbai in 2011 and Australia triumphed in Melbourne in 2015. The Windies and India have each won two World Cups, while Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the other teams to lift the trophy. England have been to the final three times, but never won.

Who is Favourite to Win the Cricket World Cup?

England are the favourites to go on and win the World Cup. They should enjoy passionate home support and revel in ideal conditions, and this is arguably the strongest collection of players they have ever had. In the 100-50-25-0 Index, England are priced at 52-52, with India 39-43, Australia 35-39 and South Africa 20-24, showing how highly our traders rate Morgan’s men.

Who are England's Players to Watch?

Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy are the best opening pair in the history of England’s ODI team, and the middle order is utterly sensational. Jos Buttler has been on fire over the past year and fans will expect him to deliver some headline-grabbing knocks this summer. Test captain Joe Root enjoys playing with less pressure in limited-overs cricket for England, while Morgan’s experience, leadership and organisational skills will be vital. Ben Stokes is arguably the world’s best all-rounder and he has put his personal problems behind him now. Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali are also strong all-rounders.

Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood are devastating, while Adil Rashid offers England’s greatest wicket threat. Yet arguably the greatest hype surrounds Barbados-born newcomer Archer, who only qualified for the England team this year after completing newly implemented residency criteria. He has an English father and a British passport, and he could make all the difference for England this summer. His rapid deliveries, coolness under pressure and general flair have left the cricketing world abuzz, and he brings a real X-factor to this team, leading the selectors to bring him in at the considerable expense of David Willey. This England team is blessed with a real gathering of superstars and they will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed.

Will England Win the Cricket World Cup?

They certainly have a collection of players that are capable of winning the tournament and home advantage may prove vital. Yet competition from the likes of India and Australia will be ferocious. India have the most experienced team at the tournament, with an average of 105 ODIs under each player’s belt and a solid familiarity with English conditions.

Kohli is the greatest star in world cricket, but Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are superb openers, Jasprit Bumrah is the top ranked bowler in the world, Kuldeep Yadav is always dangerous and MS Dhoni and KL Rahul are seasoned campaigners. You can also never write off Australia, who are bolstered following the return of Smith and Warner, a recent series win against India and that triumph against England.

Who are the Dark Horses for the World Cup?

Fans will be keen to see the West Indies in action due to the swaggering presence of Gayle. But they are by no means a one-man team, as they proved in a very creditable 2-2 series draw with England earlier this year. Jason Holder is a fine all-rounder, and Andre Russell has been brilliant in the IPL, while quicks Shannon Gabriel and Sheldon Cottrell will add plenty of menace to their attack. Pakistan also boast an intriguing blend of youth and experience, with Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik counterbalancing the exuberance of Afridi and Hasnain. New Zealand and South Africa are quality teams, so you cannot really call them dark horses, but they will certainly be confident in their ability to challenge for the trophy.

Who is Favourite to be World Cup Top Tournament Batsman?

All of the world’s leading batsmen are in England this summer and the battle for individual glory will be intriguing. The current favourite in the Cricket World Cup Top Tournament Batsman market is Kohli, who will carry the weight of 1.3 billion people on his shoulders. He was largely disappointing at the last World Cup, despite a strong showing against Pakistan, and fans will demand more from their hero this time around.

Yet Kohli faces plenty of competition in this market. Considering England and India are the favourites to win the tournament, it is perhaps unsurprising to see their players leading the way. Bairstow is the second favourite, followed by Root and Sharma, and then Roy is fifth in the betting, ahead of Quinton de Kock and Warner. You can also bet on the player to score the most sixes in the tournament and Gayle leads the way there, ahead of Bairstow, with Kohli way down the list.

Who is Favourite to be World Cup Top Tournament Bowler?

Bumrah has been consistently brilliant for some time now and he regularly bamboozles with his in-swinging yorker deliveries, while typically reaching more than 90mph. He is now 25 years old and approaching the prime of his career, so he will be desperate to make his mark in this tournament. He is the favourite in the Cricket World Cup Top Tournament Bowler market, with an index of 15-18. That leaves Bumrah just ahead of Australian quick Pat Cummins and teammate Yadav in this market, with Boult and Starc a little further back on 11-14 along with Kasigo Rabada of South Africa. Archer is priced at 9-12 in this market, as is teammate Rashid.

Do you think England can lift the World Cup for the first time this summer? If you reckon they can pull it off, check out Cricket World Cup spread betting markets and get involved in the action with Sporting Index!

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