Following a heavy dosage of Twenty20 (T20) action in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricketing action now moves on to the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in arguably the biggest spectacle - ICC World Cup - the sport has seen. Slated to begin from 30th May, the 12th edition of the ICC spectacle promises to be an exciting affair with the participating nations vying for cricket's biggest honour.
One of the highly-anticipated sporting events in the world, the quadrennial cricket event garners public interest and captures the imagination of enthusiasts like no other. Four years after the first-ever ODI match was played, the organisers blessed the cricket fans with the maiden World Cup that was held in England in 1975.
Comprised of eight teams - Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), the first World Cup was won by the Windies who got the better of the Aussies in the final at Lord's. It was for the very first time the fans got a taste of exciting competition in cricket. And, since then, there has been no turning back for this massive event.
Unlike the 2015 tournament where 14 teams were seen participating via two groups, this year will witness only 10 teams who'll compete in a single group. As per this year's format, each team will be seen playing with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals.
Having dominated the tournament with a record five title wins, Australia will be eager to defend their crown when they begin their campaign this year. However, they'll have to fend off strong title contenders including the likes of India, hosts England and New Zealand.
After 10 warm-up games, the coveted tournament will kickstart with England taking on South Africa at Kennington Oval in London. A total of 45 games will be played before the tournament ascertains its semifinalists, who'll square off in a bid to secure their berth for the all-important final on 14th July.Schedule Date Match Venue Time 30-May England vs South Africa Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 31-May Windies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 1-Jun New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 1-Jun Afghanistan vs Australia County Ground, Bristol 6:00 PM 2-Jun South Africa vs Bangladesh Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 3-Jun England vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 4-Jun Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 5-Jun South Africa vs India The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 5-Jun Bangladesh vs New Zealand Kennington Oval, London 6:00 PM 6-Jun Australia vs Windies Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 7-Jun Pakistan vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 8-Jun England vs Bangladesh Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 8-Jun Afghanistan vs New Zealand The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 6:00 PM 9-Jun India vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 10-Jun South Africa vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 11-Jun Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 12-Jun Australia vs Pakistan The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 13-Jun India vs New Zealand Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 14-Jun England vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 15-Jun Sri Lanka vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 15-Jun South Africa vs Afghanistan Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 6:00 PM 16-Jun India vs Pakistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 17-Jun Windies vs Bangladesh The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 18-Jun England vs Afghanistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 19-Jun New Zealand vs South Africa Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 20-Jun Australia vs Bangladesh Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 21-Jun England vs Sri Lanka Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 22-Jun India vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 22-Jun Windies vs New Zealand Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 23-Jun Pakistan vs South Africa Lord's, London 3:00 PM 24-Jun Bangladesh vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 25-Jun England vs Australia Lord's, London 3:00 PM 26-Jun New Zealand vs Pakistan Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 27-Jun Windies vs India Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 28-Jun Sri Lanka vs South Africa Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 29-Jun Pakistan vs Afghanistan Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 29-Jun New Zealand vs Australia Lord's, London 6:00 PM 30-Jun England vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 1-Jul Sri Lanka vs Windies Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 2-Jul Bangladesh vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 3-Jul England vs New Zealand Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 4-Jul Afghanistan vs Windies Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 5-Jul Pakistan vs Bangladesh Lord's, London 3:00 PM 6-Jul Sri Lanka vs India Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 6-Jul Australia vs South Africa Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 9-Jul TBC vs TBC, 1st Semi-Final (1 v 4) Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 11-Jul TBC vs TBC, 2nd Semi-Final (2 v 3) Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 14-Jul TBC vs TBC, Final Lord's, London 3:00 PM Participating Teams Afghanistan
For a team that, earlier this March, recorded their first Test victory in only their second game, Afghanistan seems to be making the most of the opportunities on the field. The young Test-playing nation is full of surprises and, on their day, they are more than capable of beating any team in the world.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) did turn a few heads when they sacked long-standing captain Asghar Afghan in April. The decision led to the appointment of three specialist captains across formats. Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah will be seen in the leadership roles for ODIs, T20Is and Tests respectively. It'll be interesting to see how Naib fares as Afghanistan's captain when they start their World Cup campaign against Australia at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June.
Squad: Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Mujeeb ur Rahman.Australia
They might have been leading the list of most title wins in the ICC World Cup, but the Aussies know it fairly well that their campaign in England & Wales is surely going to be an uphill battle. The defending champions lack confidence especially after the infamous 2018 ball-tampering saw two of their biggest stars getting suspended for a year.
Since that episode, Australia have been trying to rediscover that winning mentality that successfully aided their predecessors over the years. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith following their suspensions is a major boost to the Aussies, but their absence from international cricket for a year could see them struggle early in the tournament. On the other hand, the bowling department could turn out to be an area of concern for Australia, especially in the absence of Josh Hazlewood. They'll kickstart their World Cup campaign against tricky Afghanistan at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June.
Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa.Bangladesh
Ever since making their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have been a familiar face at the ICC spectacle. But, their best finish came in the last edition where they surprised everyone by reaching the quarterfinals stage. They won three games including the famous triumph over England in the group stage, but found their nemesis in India in the quarterfinals.
Going into the tournament, Bangladesh looks like a balanced side. Mashrafe Mortaza has proved his worth as a potent leader in the past and Shakib Al Hasan has enough experience in international cricket to be his deputy. Mushfiqur Rahim is another experienced campaigner who's not only great behind the stumps, but his presence will also bolster his side's batting line-up. They'll need the senior players to step up when they face South Africa in their opening clash at the Kennington Oval, London on 2nd June.
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Abu Jayed.England
The mighty Englishmen might have given us the sport that we've come to know as cricket, but the cricketing giants are yet to taste success at the ICC World Cup. In the decorated history of the tournament, England have bottled away three chances to lift the coveted trophy. They lost the 1979 final to West Indies before enduring successive heartbreaks in 1987 and 1992 to Australia and Pakistan respectively.
But, the upcoming edition could be their chance to redemption, especially when they have the luxury to play at home, in familiar conditions. Led by the experienced Eoin Morgan, the hosts pack a punch with a team that is comprised of potential match-winners. Though they'll have to fend off threats from the likes of India and Australia, the Englishmen might just prove a tad too difficult for the opposition to handle in the tournament. The 'Three Lions' will be seen in action when they lock horns with South Africa in the tournament opener at the Kennington Oval, London on 30th May.
Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.India
The two-time World Cup champions are undoubtedly one of the biggest contenders to lift the coveted trophy this year. The team has enjoyed a brilliant run over the past year with favourable results in both home and overseas series. Led by the pragmatic Virat Kohli, Team India had a problem of plenty in the build-up to the ICC spectacle.
The selectors had a tough time figuring out the 15-man squad, best suited for the English conditions to deliver the goods. After careful deliberation, the omission of in-form Rishabh Pant did spark some backlash which later saw him getting included in the list of stand-bys. From batting to bowling, the Indian team looks pretty solid on paper with a couple of all-rounders also in the fray. But, the long-standing No. 4 conundrum is still a chink in their armour. All the questions might get answered when they launch their title charge on 5th June against South Africa at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.
Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja.New Zealand
Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. The Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Despite their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year.
The team is full of proven stars who are more than capable of turning the tide in New Zealand's favour. The likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult will spearhead their pace attack, while Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will add teeth to the spin department. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham - who will play their part in the tournament. Williamson's men will begin their campaign when they take on Sri Lanka at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 1st June.
Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.Pakistan
The 1992 World Cup champions, Pakistan, continue to remain an unpredictable brigade which is more than capable of crashing someone's party on their day. The ultimate underdogs at the ICC spectacle, Pakistan might have a fairly inexperienced squad going into the World Cup, but a mercurial side of their calibre still promises to go the distance.
The youthful pace duo of Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi, who can clock 90mph at will, is expected to be a vital cog in Pakistan's impressive pace battery. But, the notable omission of Mohammad Amir, who has been sidelined due to suspected chickenpox, remains a big blow. The likes of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will surely come in handy when it comes to guiding the youngsters in the side with their vast experience. Beginning their campaign on 31st May against West Indies in Nottingham, Pakistan will be eager to build on their spectacular 2017 ICC Champions Trophy win with a similar performance in England and Wales.
Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c/wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain.South Africa
Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup.
Led by Faf du Plessis, the Proteas boast of three solid opening options in Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. Similarly, in the bowling department, the availability of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi provide them with great options. But, it's going to be a problem of plenty for the Proteas and, right from facing England in the opening encounter on 30th May, they'll need to find their winning combination if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag.
Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi.Sri Lanka
For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final.
With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns doing their best to settle in quickly. Going into this year's tournament, Sri Lanka will rely on the experience of their veteran stars Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera to spearhead their challenge. They'll kickstart their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff.
Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal.West Indies
Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards.
But, despite all that, no team in the tournament would like to take them for granted, especially when West Indies boast of proven match-winners. Led by Jason Holder, the Windies are going into the World Cup, full of firepower. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer and Carlos Brathwaite are more than capable of single-handedly running away with the game. But, opening their campaign against Pakistan on 31st May, the Windies will need to find a way to click as a unit if they intend to go the distance this year.
Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.