The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is all set to take place in England and Wales from 30th May to 14th June. International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially announced the entire schedule of the tournament. The cricket extravaganza will be staged across 12 stadiums, with the hosts England locking horns with South Africa in the opening match of the tournament.
The participating teams are reduced from 14 to 10. While eight teams - India, Australia, England (hosts), South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh directly qualified for the World Cup on the basis of ICC ODI rankings on 30th September 2017; West Indies and Afghanistan paved their way through ICC World Cup Qualifiers in March 2018.
Change in Format
The international governing body for cricket has made some changes in format as the round-robin league will make a comeback after 1992 Benson & Hedges World Cup. Under the format, each team will contest in nine group games and the top four will advance to the knockouts.
Australia is the most decorated side when it comes to ICC World Cup, winning the title five times, including three consecutive wins between 1999 and 2007. West Indies lifted the trophy in the first editions- 1975 and 1979.
India conquered the World twice winning the tournament in 1983 and 2011. Pakistan and Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1992 and 1996 respectively. England has lost three World Cup finals, the highest by any team.
Considering the sumptuous form of the Indian team in ODI format under Virat Kohli, the Men in Blue will go into the World Cup as a huge tournament favorites. Hosts England can exploit their home conditions and have the players to break the 50-over World Cup jinx.
South Africa and New Zealand both have a balanced side which can destroy any opposition on their day and will certainly look to abandon the ‘Chokers’ tag. Australia, on the other side, will be on the back foot as their entire skeleton of the core team was rattled by the suspension of Steven Smith and David Warner. However, Smith is likely to play the World Cup but doubt looms large over his form after a year gap from top cricket.
Pakistan will take huge confidence from their win in the 2017 ICC Champions’ Trophy victory in England. Along with them, Bangladesh will be the dark horses. However, Afghanistan may spoil the parties with few upset wins. West Indies and Sri Lanka are likely to progress to the semi-finals.