World Cup cricket 2019 who will lift the cup?
When the first ball is bowled on May 30 at the Oval in the opening fixture of the 12th edition of the World Cup Cricket between favourites and hosts England against South Africa, it would be indeed interesting to see which team lifts the Cup. The tournament comes back to England after a gap of 20 years, where the first World Cup or Prudential Cup, as it was then known in 1975, started the ball rolling.
Apart from hosts England, among the front runners for the trophy are India followed by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This time, of the 10 teams in the 50-over tournament, there will be maximum representation from Asia – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – showing that the continent is indeed emerging as a cricketing power, though, of course, Australia, even though not tipped as among the front runners, have an enviable record of winning five times and having figured in seven finals. Of course, the teams which have won it twice are the West Indies in 1975 and 1979 and India in 1983 and 2011. Among the five Asian nations, three of them have won the Cup with the two, besides India, being Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The upcoming tournament is to be played in the round-robin format, just like the 1992 World Cup with all the ten teams playing against each other and the top four qualifying for the semifinals, and it could be any four considering that on a given day any of the teams can cause an upset. What would indeed count in this kind of tournament is the consistency of the teams, for, as has been seen, one team beats the other team in a one-sided encounter in one match and the results get reversed in the next one. This was seen during the recent Indian tour of New Zealand, which the Indians won 4-1 with the fourth one being one-sided in favour of New Zealand as india were skittled out for 92 and the Kiwis sailed through easily. However, this appeared to be a mere aberration as the Indians romped home to a fairly comfortable 35 run win in the fifth and last match making it 4-1 in their favour.
Commenting on the format for the World Cup, where each side plays the other and the top four moving to the next round, ICC Chairman Dave Richardson said: “The bottom line is that we wanted competitive cricket, one-sided games are not good. People enjoy this format and it gives us a chance of providing that type of cricket. Normally in England, you are guaranteed home support for all the teams, as the cultural mix-up of cricket fans in the UK is very diverse. Noisy crowds, good pitches, and equally balanced teams should make it a great event.”
Tickets for as many as 44 out of 48 matches have been sold out and the build-up to the India vs Pakistan game in Manchester on June 16 has already begun. However, after Phulwama, the question being posed is: Should India play the match considering the immense tension that is now prevailing among the two nation?
“India against Pakistan is always big but the beauty about this tournament is that we will witness many more rivalries like Australia Vs England or South Africa playing against any big opponent like India, England or Australia. Even the likes of Afghanistan will be looking to cause as many upsets as they can.
“The demands for tickets for the 2019 World Cup has been extraordinary. There are just two or three games, where you can still buy tickets. This is reflective of the strength of cricket across all formats and not just T20. As much as 68 per cent of our cricket fans love all formats of the game. The 50-over World Cup is definitely the most popular,” Richardson said.
Flat wickets resulting in big totals in ICC tournaments are a norm now and England, as many witnessed during the 2017 Champions Trophy, would be no different next summer.
“In the 50-over format we are looking at a total that provides at least some assistance to the bowlers. Scoresbetween 230 and 280 is what we are aiming for. Bowlers are more expensive in 50-over cricket these days but that is due to the additional skills batsmen have learnt after playing the T20s. The bowlers are slowly catching up though. People don’t realise that they aren’t easy to face with more varieties and intelligent variations in pace. It is a spectacle all through the 50 overs, unlike the old days, when we used to have that ones and twos period in the middle, which is pretty much gone now,” says Richardson.
The official warm-up games will be played at one of the four venues–Bristol, Cardiff, Southampton and The Oval–between May 24-28 with each team allotted two games. The games will not be accorded official ODI status with teams allowed to field all members of their 15-member squads.
“It is always a huge milestone announcing an exciting warm-up schedule for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, as it really highlights just how close we are to the action getting underway this summer,” Steve Elworthy, tournament managing director, said.
“These games provide another fantastic opportunity for fans to see world-class players at their local venue and allows the tournament to engage local schools and communities with another chance to get involved with the Cricket World Cup as part of the exercise by the ICC to promote the game,” Elworthy added.
India will play New Zealand and Bangladesh in the two official warm-up games ahead of the 2019 World Cup. The two games will be played at The Oval on May 25 and May 28 at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, respectively. The two games will be the final tune-up for the team before their main tournament opener against South Africa on June 5 at the Rose Bowl.
By Sri Krishna