Top contenders for ICC World Cup 2019

England players celebrate a wicket in recent ODI series against Pakistan
©Reuters
 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup is less than 15 days away and the excitement is on the rise.

The mega event will begin from May 30 with the match between the home side England and South Africa in London, whereas the final will be played on July 14.

We bring you four top contenders for the competition who in our opinion will start the tournament as firm favourites to lift the title.

England

First in the list features the home side England, who will start the tournament as the firm favourites. Eoin Morgan-led unit are currently placed on the first position in the ICC team rankings in the 50-over format.

England’s strength clearly lies in their batting where they have the option in abundance in the form of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Captain Morgan and Jos Buttler, a combination which can destroy any bowling opposition on any given day.

Another strong aspect of England’s squad is their strength in the all-rounder's department as they have the luxury of Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, a duo which is more than capable with the bat and ball whereas they also have bowling all-rounders in form of Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, David Willey, and Adil Rashid.

However, England’s weakness seems to lie in the bowling department where there is a clear lacking in match-winning bowlers and there will be a lot of reliance on the likes of young Archer, who has just made his debut for the team in the series against Pakistan.

England’s performance in the major ICC events does not make a pretty reading as they are yet to win the competition even after participating in every addition. Their best performance was finishing runners up in three World Cups – 1975, 1979 and 1992. In the tournament’s previous edition, England crashed out of the tournament from the group stage.

India

Second in the list of top contender side for the mega event is India, who will be led by star batsman Virat Kohli. The Men in Blue are considered as the second-most favourite team for the upcoming tournament. The team is famous for its batting power which consists of skipper Kohli, veteran openers Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni.

However, in the recent past, the team from the subcontinent has also emerged as one of the leading bowling units with the presence of wicket-takers such as Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the playing XI. However, India’s real weakness seems to be in their middle-order where there will be too much reliance on the experience of Dhoni.

The team have an impressive record in the ICC mega events off late and they qualified for the semi-finals in the previous edition of Cricket World Cup played in Australia. Overall, India are one of the only three team in the cricketing world to have won the ICC World Cup on more than one occasion – in 1983 under the captaincy of Kapil Dev and in 2011 under the leadership of Dhoni.

New Zealand

Third, in the list of top contenders features Kane Williamson-led New Zealand. The Black Caps is one of the consistent team in the ICC World Cup as they’ve consistently featured in the final four of the competition off late. In the tournament’s previous edition, Kiwis finished as the runners up after facing defeat in the final to eventual winners Australia, which was their best achievement in the history of the competition.

This time around, New Zealand is one of the most balanced outfits in the competition who pretty much does not have any weakness whatsoever. In the batting department, the team will be relying on Captain Williamson, veteran middle-order batsman Ross Taylor and veteran opener Martin Guptill, and the trio will have the support of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls.

The team will also have the services of all-rounder James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme, which can provide balance in the playing XI. In the bowling department, the Black Caps will have the services of pacers Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry and Henry Nicholls alongside the spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.

Australia

Last in the list of top contenders features Aaron Finch-led Australia, who have been the most successful team in the history of the competition as they’ve won it five times, three more than any other team in the world. Last of those five tournament triumphs came in the 2015 edition were in the captaincy of Michael Clarke, the Baggy Greens lifted the title after a comprehensive win against New Zealand in the final. This time around, the team does not look that strong on paper but they have a feel-good factor going in the mega event after winning eight out of last 10 ODIs.

In the batting department, Australia will be relying on captain Finch, veteran opener David Warner, in-form Usman Khuwaja and former captain Steve Smith to score the bulk of the runs, and they will be accompanied with all-rounders like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis who have the ability to destroy any bowling line-up on a given day. However, Australia’s real weakness seems to be in their bowling department as they will be heavily relying on pacer Pat Cummins to deliver match-winning spells.

Cricket World Cup's 2019 edition is highly anticipated and according to ICC it will be the best covered one to date - more than a billion fans will stay tuned and watch their national team's performance. Each one of the teams reviewed in this article have the chance of winning the trophy. It'll be hard though to predict who the winner will be, so finding some solid cricket match prediction tips might actually help you place a winning bet. May the best team win!

©Cricket World 2019