ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: All team round-robin format to be used after 27 years
During the initial phase of the 2019 World Cup, all 10 participating teams will be squaring off against each other. This implies each team will get to play 9 matches. Hence, a single group round-robin format will be followed, unlike the previous few editions.
Such a format is being used after a gap of 27 years. It was last used during the 1992 Cricket World Cup. The only difference is that the 1992 edition featured 9 teams in total whereas the upcoming World Cup will have 10 teams.
The complete round-robin was first introduced in the year 1992, wherein there was a single group was formed featuring all the participating teams in the tournament. It replaced the former system wherein two different groups were made.
Now, the complete round-robin format will be used in the 2019 World Cup as well. It has gained a little criticism as it is the first time a World Cup will not be featuring all of the test playing nations.
There is still a lot of skepticism present amongst fans as the reduction in participating teams gives the Associate members very little chance of making the final cut. In fact, all of the Associate members were eliminated after the qualifying tournament and the 2019 edition will have only the 10 Full Members taking part.
England qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 by virtue of being the host nation. Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka qualified on the basis of ICC ODI Championship. Finally, Afghanistan and West Indies made it through as they were the top two teams of the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.
There have been constant changes to the World Cup format since the inaugural edition in 1975. It will be interesting to note how the tournament format has been altered over the years.
Progression of the tournament:
A similar format was followed during the first 4 editions of the prestigious tournament. 8 teams were divided into two groups of 4 each initially. After playing round robin matches, top two teams from each group progressed to the semis and the subsequent winners to the finals. A single round robin format (in the group stage) was followed during 1975 and 1979 editions. Meanwhile, the 1983 and 1987 editions witnessed a double round-robin format being used in the group stage.
A single group of 9 teams was present in the 1992 edition. Each team played 8 matches (single round robin) and the top 4 teams made it to the semis.
A major change was made ahead of the 1996 tournament. For the very first time, Cricket's biggest extravaganza featured 12 teams contesting for the coveted title. Two groups of 6 teams each were formed from the 12 teams. The top 4 teams from each group qualified to the knockout stage (quarterfinals).
1999 and 2003:
The 1999 and 2003 World Cups saw a unique format being introduced. 12 teams were split into 2 groups of 6 teams each during the 1999 World Cup. After single round robin matches, the top 3 teams from each group made it to the 'Super 6.' Teams battled it out again in the 'Super 6' and played 5 matches each as per single round robin. Finally, the top 4 teams from the 'Super 6' made it to the semifinals. The only change during the 2003 edition was that the number of participating nations was increased to 14 and the teams were split into 2 groups of 7.
The 2007 edition was also a tedious one as far as the format is concerned. 16 teams were divided into 4 groups of 4 each. Initially, each team had to play 3 matches as per single round robin. The top 2 teams from each group made it to the 'Super 8.' Now, each team played 7 matches each in the 'Super 8' as per single round robin and the top 4 teams got to qualify for the semifinals.
2011 and 2015:
Coming over to the previous two editions now. The exact same format was used during the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. 14 teams were divided into 2 groups of 7 each. Each team played 6 matches as per single round robin. The top 4 teams from each group qualified for the knockout stage -- which consisted of the quarterfinal, the semifinals, and the ultimate summit clash or the final.
Now, coming to the upcoming edition in 2019. It is only the 2nd time that the World Cup will witness a reduction in the number of teams (gone down from 14 to 10). It is also the 2nd time (after the 1992 edition) that a single group round robin format will be followed.