T20 World Cup 2020: Five players India should …

New Zealand v India – International T20 Game 3 England Lions v India A – Day Two

After the disappointment of this year’s World Cup, Virat Kohli & Co. slowly shift their focus towards the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next October. They have little more than a year to build a team capable of winning the title. After winning the World T20 title during the inaugural edition of the tournament, India have failed to add to it. Only once have the Men in Blue reached finals in the previous five editions.

India has no shortage of talent in the 20-over format, thanks to the Indian Premier League and various other state-based T20 leagues. With the tournament set to happen in Australia, India should try various options in the next few months and decide on their best XI for the tournament as per the expected playing conditions.

Majority of the current ODI squad will feature in the tournament but there are quite a few places up for grabs. India’s next T20 assignment starts in West Indies next month and this is the perfect time for the selectors to give opportunities to players who have performed well in IPL and other domestic limited-overs tournaments.

On that note, let’s take a look at five Indian players who can be nurtured for the T20 World Cup next year.

#5 Navdeep Saini

(Picture Courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

Navdeep Saini’s stock has been on the rise over the past couple of years. The 26-year-old fast bowler stood apart in Royal Challengers Bangalore squad which finished last in the Indian Premier League 2019. He bowled with a lot of heart in the tournament and troubled batsmen with his pace and bounce.

The Delhi seamer consistently clocked speeds of over 145 kph and even breached the 150 kph mark on occasions. He is one of the fastest bowlers in Indian cricket at the moment and making headlines for the right reasons. He has also picked up five wickets in the recently concluded List A game against West Indies A.

#4 Shreyas Gopal

Shreyas Gopal was one of the stars of the show in IPL 2019 (Picture Courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

Shreyas Gopal has been going through a purple patch at the moment. A genuine leg-spinner, Gopal has been amongst the wickets over the past few domestic seasons. The Bengaluru boy captured 13 wickets in 8 games during the 2018/19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

He then played a key role for Rajasthan Royals in this year’s IPL. The 25-year-old picked up 20 wickets in 14 games and finished as the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. He has taken his game to the next level and is currently under the radar of Indian selectors.

Despite being a leg-spinner, Gopal is consistent with his line and length, and also has a deceptive googly. His ability to score runs down the order and electric fielding make him a handy player to have in the T20 squad. Gopal deserves a run in the Indian team sooner than later.

#3 Shreyas Iyer

IPL Qualifier – Chennai v Delhi (Picture Courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

Calm, composed, and skilful are some of the words that best describe Shreyas Iyer’s abilities with the bat. His ability to bat well against spinners in the middle-overs makes him an ideal candidate at No. 4 for India in the T20Is.

Iyer has had two good IPL campaigns for Delhi Capitals. In 2018, Iyer scored 411 runs at a strike rate of 133 and in 2019, he finished with 463 runs in 16 matches at an average of 31. He was also brilliant for Mumbai in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy, with 373 runs in six innings at an average of 93.25, which included two thumping hundreds.

Iyer made his ODI and T20I debut for India in 2017 but was not able to nail down a place in the squad. However, with India struggling to find a consistent middle-order batsman, Iyer might be given an extended run in the team to solidify the line-up for next year’s T20 World Cup.

#2 Khaleel Ahmed

New Zealand v India – International T20 Game 3

The 21-year-old Rajasthan seamer made his way into the big stage during the U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016. Khaleel Ahmed made his first-class debut in 2017/18. However, his biggest break came during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he took 17 wickets in 10 games at an economy rate of less than 7 runs an over.

He then became a constant figure in the India A set up and played quite a few games. Khaleel possesses good pace and has the ability to swing the ball. He made his ODI and T20I debut in 2018 and has bowled some impressive spells at the international level.

He took 19 wickets in 9 IPL games for Sunrisers Hyderabad during the 2019 campaign. Though he missed out on making to the 2019 World Cup squad, he is one of the players to watch out for in the coming years.

#1 Rahul Chahar

IPL Qualifier – Mumbai v Chennai (Picture Courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

Rajasthan leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has been doing extremely well over the past 12 months and is garnering praises from everywhere. Chahar made his IPL debut with Rising Pune Super Giant in 2017 and later moved to Mumbai Indians in 2018.

Chahar starred for his state in the 2018/19 Vijay Hazare Trophy as he finished as the team’s leading wicket-taker. He then went on to play a huge role in MI’s title win during the 2019 IPL campaign, where he took 13 wickets at a superb economy rate of 6.55.

The 19-year-old has proven that he is capable of playing at the highest level. In the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka A, he picked up an impressive 14 wickets in two first-class games. With age on his side, he has every chance to make it big on the international arena and should be groomed for next year’s silverware event.

World Cup 2023: 5 Indian players who can be nu…

Prithvi Shaw (Picture courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

There was heartbreak for Indian fans on Wednesday as the Men in Blue bowed out of the 2019 World Cup after a disappointing loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals. Batting has been India’s strength in limited-overs cricket over the past couple of decades and for a change, bowlers fared a lot better than batsmen in this World Cup.

Despite the defeat, India played some good cricket in the tournament and rather than pointing fingers, it is always better to look into the future and plan for what comes next. India’s ODI squad at the moment need some reinforcements and fresh blood. There is no shortage of talent in the country, thanks to a good domestic set up. 

2023 World Cup is scheduled to be hosted by India in February and March. This is the right time for Indian selectors to start building the squad for the mega event in 2023. Opportunities should be given to young and talented cricketers who have been performing well in the past few years.

On that note, let’s take a look at the five Indian players who can be nurtured for the next World Cup.

#5 Shubman Gill

New Zealand v India – ODI Game 5

Shubman Gill’s career took off when he played a crucial role in India’s U-19 World Cup triumph in 2018. He scored 372 runs from six games at an average of 124 and was also the Player of the Series. He then played well for KKR in the Indian Premier League 2018. The 2018/19 season was even better for the youngster. 

Gill managed 418 runs from seven games at an average of 60 in Vijay Hazare Trophy, which included three fifties and a hundred. He then had a good season with KKR in IPL 2019. Promoted to open the batting halfway through the campaign, Gill notched up three fifties and scored 296 runs in the tournament. 

The 19-year-old also amassed 728 runs in five Ranji Trophy games at an average of 104. He also had some good outings with India A. He has been scoring runs consistently over the past couple of years. Gill shows a great deal maturity for a player who is yet to turn 20 and will only get better with experience. He handles pressure well and has all the shot in his arsenal.

#4 Shreyas Gopal

Shreyas Gopal (Picture courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

The 25-year-old has been one of the consistent performers in domestic cricket for quite some time. The Bengaluru lad has played 32 List A games and picked up 51 wickets for Karnataka. Shreyas Gopal is also known for his ability to bat well down the order and score crucial runs.

He has picked up 13 wickets in 8 games during the 2018/19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He then starred for Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 Indian Premier League. Gopal picked up 20 wickets in 14 games and finished as the fourth highest wicket-taker in the tournament.

A genuine leg-spinner and a wicket-taker, Gopal possesses a deadly googly. He has outfoxed the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers on quite a few occasions in T20 cricket. Despite being a leg-spinner, he is good against left-handers. He can hit the ball a long distance and also a brilliant fielder.

#3 Shreyas Iyer

South Africa v India – 5th Momentum ODI

Having made his ODI and T20I debut for India in 2017, Shreyas Iyer failed to nail down a spot in the Indian limited-overs setup. However, it might change in the near future. Iyer has improved a lot as a batsman over the past couple of years and scored a truckload of runs for Mumbai, India A, and Delhi Capitals. 

He was sensational for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2018/19. The 24-year-old finished with 373 runs in six innings at a stunning average of 93.25, which included two hundreds and two fifties. He led Capitals in IPL 2019 and scored 463 runs in 16 matches at an average of 31.

A technically skilled cricketer, Iyer possesses a good temperament and great attitude. He is good against the spinners and rotates the strike well in the middle overs. He also has the power to clear boundaries and the skill to play long innings. He could be the solution to India’s No. 4 problem in ODIs.

#2 Deepak Chahar

2019 IPL Final – Mumbai v Chennai (Picture courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

When the young and upcoming fast bowlers focused a lot on pace, Deepak Chahar has made a name for himself with his disciplined line and length bowling. The 26-year-old has impressed everyone with his ability to swing the new ball and also bowl yorkers at the death.

His skill was clearly evident in the Indian Premier League 2019 where he finished as the third highest wicket-taker. Chahar took a total of 22 wickets at an economy rate of 7.47 runs an over. He led the Chennai Super Kings pace attack and was consistent throughout the campaign. 

He was also the top wicket-taker in the 2017/18 Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament with 19 scalps in nine games. He also starred for India A against England Lions in the 50-over format. The fast bowler made his ODI and T20I debut for India in 2018 but played just one game each in both the formats. He could have more opportunities when India tour West Indies later this year.

#1 Prithvi Shaw

IPL Qualifier – Chennai v Delhi (Picture courtesy: iplt20.com/BCCI)

The 19-year-old came to prominence in 2018 when he led India to victory in the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Prithvi Shaw scored 261 runs in six matches at an average of 65.25. He was brilliant against the new ball in tough conditions and was the star of the show for India. 

He then played in IPL 2018 and scored 245 runs for Delhi in nine matches at an average of 27.22 and a brilliant strike rate of over 150. He then became a regular figure in India A team and scored runs against West Indies A and South Africa A. String of consistent performances earned him a call to the Indian Test squad. 

He made his Test debut against West Indies at Rajkot in 2018 and scored a stunning hundred in his debut innings. Injury hampered his promising start and he missed out in the Test series against Australia. He then featured in IPL 2019 and scored 353 runs for Delhi Capitals. Though short in stature, Shaw packs a punch and his back foot drive through point and covers are a delight to watch.

World Cup 2019: 2 big changes India should mak…

India suffered their first defeat of World Cup 2019 on Sunday

India’s unbeaten run in the 2019 World Cup ended on Sunday. The Virat Kohli-led side lost to England at Birmingham by 31 runs, but are still comfortably placed in the points table to qualify for the semi-finals. However, they have a lot of questions to answer and issues to address before the game.

Though the margin of defeat was only 31 runs against England, India never looked like chasing the target. With two games remaining, India needs a win to cement their place in the semi-finals. India next play Bangladesh today at Edgbaston and Kohli is expected to make a change or two for the game. Here are two changes that India should be making:

#1 Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Ravindra Jadeja in place of Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav has endured a difficult World Cup campaign

Kuldeep Yadav has been struggling since the start of IPL 2019. He was poor for KKR and hasn’t been at his best in the World Cup. He was targeted by England batsmen in the last game and went for a lot of runs.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Pakistan on June 16 and has been sidelined ever since. However, he is fit to make a comeback into the team. “Bhuvneshwar is fit to play. He was fit to play against England as well,” Sanjay Bangar told reporters at the pre-match conference.

Jadeja is also an option if India wants to retain two spinners in the bowling attack.

#2 Dinesh Karthik for Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav has not justified his inclusion in the playing XI thus far

Questions were raised about Kedar Jadhav’s place in the playing XI and though he hasn’t done anything wrong in the tournament, he wasn’t spectacular either. He struggled to up the ante in the game against England and Virat Kohli does not use him as a bowler regularly either.

A dynamic player like Dinesh Karthik could bring a lot more fire-power to the Indian batting lineup. Karthik has the ability to play a long innings and at the same time, can also finish games with his explosive hitting. He has proved it in the past and deserves a chance to play.

World Cup 2019: 5 Fastest bowlers in the tourn…

England v West Indies – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

We are now just about halfway through the group stages of World Cup 2019 and as promised, the tournament has produced some exciting cricket so far. Though rain played spoilsport on quite a few occasions, there was no shortage of fun and excitement. In a format dominated by batsmen, bowlers have had a fair share of say in the tournament thus far. 

Pace has made a lot of difference as bowlers have clocked speeds of over 150 kph and have terrorized batsmen with bounce and swing. Fast bowlers, in particular, have enjoyed a remarkable 2019 World Cup up until now. Right from the opening game, fast bowlers have found a lot of success with the new ball and that is a direct result of extreme pace and hitting the right lengths. 

The West Indies pacers demolished Pakistan for 105 in 21.4 overs early in the tournament and New Zealand seamers dismissed Sri Lanka for 136 in 29.2 overs, two games in which the pacers made the most difference.

On that note, let us take a look at the five fastest bowlers in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 thus far.

#5 Kagiso Rabada, South Africa

South Africa v Afghanistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Kagiso Rabada is one of the best fast bowlers in world cricket at the moment. He was phenomenal in the recently concluded Indian Premier League and carried on his good form to England. In four innings at the mega event, Kagiso Rabada has picked up five wickets at an economy rate of 5.21. 

The 24-year-old has consistently bowled over 145 kph and even went close to 150 kph on occasions. Though he ended up on the losing side in three out of five games, his ability to trouble the batsmen with pace and bounce has clearly been on display in the tournament so far.

#4 Lockie Ferguson, New Zealand

Bangladesh v New Zealand – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Before the World Cup started, Lockie Ferguson was the bowler with the highest average speed (~90mph) in One Day Internationals this year. The Kiwi fast bowler has picked up eight wickets in just three games from the tournament so far.

He has clocked in some great speeds and has consistently hit the 145 kph mark. He brings the X-factor to New Zealand bowling attack and will be a bowler to look out for with respect to the rest of the tournament.

#3 Mark Wood, England

England v West Indies – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Mark Wood holds the record for the fastest ball of the tournament so far at 95.6 mph. Mark Wood has struggled a lot throughout his career because of injuries but hasn’t compromised on the pace.

He has consistently cranked up the pace around 90 mph in the tournament and has troubled a lot of quality batsmen. Wood’s pace has added an extra dimension to England’s bowling attack, which also has Jofra Archer in its ranks.

#2 Mitchell Starc, Australia

Australia v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Arguably the fastest bowler in world cricket right now, Mitchell Starc bowled a 160.4 kph delivery to Ross Taylor during a test match against New Zealand at WACA, Perth, a few years ago. Up until now, it still remains the fastest ball ever bowled in a Test.

On his return from injury, Starc is beginning to show why he is one of the best limited-overs bowlers and is the spearhead of the Australian pace attack for the World Cup 2019. He has clocked speeds of over 150 kph in the ongoing World Cup and his ability to swing the ball at a lively pace makes him an asset to the Australian team.

#1 Jofra Archer, England

England v West Indies – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

The English seamer is making the headlines for the right reasons. Nowhere near the international arena a year ago, Jofra Archer has stamped his authority in the mega event and has been phenomenal for England in the World Cup.

Archer recorded an average speed of 146 kph in the encounter against Bangladesh in Cardiff a few days ago. Archer’s fastest ball of the tournament has clocked around 153 kph and his zip and extra bounce will be a key feature of his presence in the England bowling line-up.

Honourable Mentions: Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Wahab Riaz, and Oshane Thomas. 

World Cup 2019: 6 players who can break AB de …

3rd Momentum ODI: South Africa v Bangladesh

The wait is finally over. We are only hours away from the start of the biggest cricketing event, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Ten teams will fight it out over the course of the next six weeks to decide the World Champions. 

With the tournament set to happen on batting friendly conditions in England, numerous batting records are set to be rewritten and one such record is AB de Villiers’ fastest ODI hundred. 

The Proteas star set the record in 2015 when he demolished the West Indies bowlers to reach the triple-digit score in just 31 deliveries. He finished with 149 off 44 balls, which included 16 sixes. Ever since, no player has even come close to breaking that record, but things could change this summer.

Not many players can dream of breaking AB de Villiers’ insane record, but there are a selected few who can better it.

On that note, let’s take a look at 6 players who can break AB de Villiers’ world record 31-ball hundred.

#6 Martin Guptill, New Zealand

New Zealand v Bangladesh – ODI Game 3

The Kiwi opener is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world right now and is capable of scoring runs at a blistering pace. On his day, the 32-year-old can single-handedly win games against any bowling attack in the world.

Less than four years ago, Guptill scored a whirlwind 237* off 163 balls against West Indies in the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals. He recently scored a 35-ball hundred for Worcestershire in the Vitality T20 Blast. 

#5 Hardik Pandya, India

New Zealand v India – ODI Game 5

For those who have witnessed the Indian Premier League this season, it should not come as a surprise to see Pandya’s name on the list. The Mumbai Indians all-rounder demolished KKR bowlers on his way to a 34-ball 91 in IPL 2019.

Throughout the tournament, he matched Andre Russell in terms of strike rate. He has played some blistering knocks for India in the past and if he gets in early, he has every chance to go past ABD’s record.

#4 Jos Buttler, England

England v Australia – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

Over the past few years, Jos Buttler has transformed into one of the cleanest hitters in world cricket. The England wicket-keeper batsman has scored runs consistently and also at a stunning pace. A couple of weeks ago, Jos Buttler scored a 50-ball hundred against Pakistan at Southampton.

He also scored a 46-ball hundred against Pakistan in 2015 at Dubai. Buttler’s career ODI strike rate is an astonishing 120, which clearly speaks volumes about his hitting abilities. 

#3 Chris Gayle, West Indies

West Indies v New Zealand – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

This man is a familiar figure when it comes to the fastest hundreds or towering sixes. Nicknamed ‘Universe Boss’, Chris Gayle is a bowler’s nightmare, irrespective of the format. He holds the record for the fastest hundred in T20 cricket when he smacked Pune Warriors bowlers on his way to a 30-ball hundred in IPL 2013.

Gayle scored a 55-ball hundred against England in an ODI game in February. He is in great hitting form at the moment, and at 39, he has nothing to lose.

#2 Glenn Maxwell, Australia

Pakistan v Australia – ODI Series: Game 5

The Australia middle-order batsman is one of the powerful hitters in the world and has played some breathtaking knocks in limited overs cricket. His 51-ball hundred against Sri Lanka during the 2015 World Cup shows how good a batsman he is.

Maxwell can clear boundaries at will and is proficient on both sides of the wicket. His ability to improvise and play innovative strokes makes him a destructive batsman. His ODI strike rate of 122 exemplifies his abilities. 

#1 Andre Russell, West Indies

West Indies v New Zealand – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

Russell instils fear in the minds of the bowlers and preys upon it. Arguably the most deadly batsman in the world right now, Russell is unstoppable when he is in full cry. With abilities to hit even the good balls out of the park, Russell uses his upper body strength to decimate the bowlers.

He scored a 42-ball hundred in the 2016 CPL and bettered it with a 40-ball hundred in 2018. He was phenomenal in the recently concluded IPL and also scored a quick-fire fifty in the warm-up game against New Zealand earlier this week.

World Cup 2019: 5 players who can break Rohit …

New Zealand v India – ODI Game 5

The wait is almost over, with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 set to begin on June 30 at the Oval as England welcomes South Africa for the tournament opener. Teams are in full swing with the preparations and warmup fixtures have come to a close on Tuesday. 

Based on what we have witnessed in the past few days, most pitches in England are batting friendly and scores of 300+ are the norms. Given the conditions, numerous batting records are set to be broken in England this summer. 

On November 2014, Rohit Sharma amassed 264 off 173 balls against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The record for the highest individual score in ODIs stood for almost five years. However, there is a real possibility that this record could be broken in the 2019 World Cup.

In that case, let’s take a look at 5 players who can break Rohit Sharma’s World Record score of 264.

#5 Jason Roy, England

England v Afghanistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

One of England’s belligerent hard hitting batsmen, Jason Roy has made a name for himself in the past couple of years with his brilliant stroke play. Roy has played quite a few blistering knocks for England and his best (180) came against Australia at Melbourne in 2018. 

Capable of scoring runs quickly, the 28-year-old’s ODI strike rate is 106.29 with eight hundreds in just 74 innings. He has been in stunning form coming into the tournament, with scores of 89*, 32, 114, 76, 87, and 35*.

Opening the batting, Jason Roy has every chance to settle in and play a big knock. On his day, the England opener can destroy any bowling attack in the world and is capable of winning games single-handedly. A player to watch for in the tournament.

#4 Martin Guptill, New Zealand

Martin Guptill in action, New Zealand v Bangladesh – ODI Game 3

The Kiwi opener is only behind Rohit Sharma in the list of highest ODI individual scorers. Known for his big hundreds, Martin Guptill has played some scintillating ODI knocks for New Zealand in his illustrious career. 

Guptill scored a whirlwind 237* in a One Day International against West Indies at Wellington in 2015, which is the highest score by a player in World Cup history. Though he isn’t at his best right now, he is a player for the big stage and there is none bigger than the World Cup.

Guptill has struck three knocks of 180 or more in ODIs so far and all of them came against big opponents, which also included a 189* against England at Southampton in 2013. Kiwis chances in the tournament depend a lot on Guptill‘s form with the bat.

#3 David Warner, Australia

David Warner, England v Australia – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

David Warner is back with a bang. The southpaw missed the majority of 2018 after he was slapped with a 12-month ban for being a part of the infamous ball-tampering saga in early 2018. He returned to competitive cricket in IPL 2019 and was brilliant throughout the tournament in India. 

Warner has a penchant for big scores and has already struck five scores of 150+ in One Day Internationals so far. The 32-year-old scored 179 against Pakistan at Adelaide in 2017 and 178 against Afghanistan at Perth in 2015 during a World Cup game.

The former Australian vice-captain has scored 14 hundreds in just 104 ODI innings and Australia’s fortunes at the World Cup depend a lot on Warner providing good starts at the top of the order. Expect Warner to destroy bowlers in England this summer.

#2 Chris Gayle, West Indies

West Indies v New Zealand – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

This man needs no introduction when it comes to big scores and big sixes. The Jamaican superstar, nicknamed ‘Universe Boss’, is arguably the most destructive top order batsman in world cricket at the moment. Though he is nearing 40, he still has that power and aggression in his batting. 

Chris Gayle has scored 25 hundreds in ODI cricket and five of them are over 150. The 39-year-old is one of the very few players to score a double hundred at the World Cup. Gayle struck a brilliant 215 against Zimbabwe at Canberra in 2015, which is his highest ODI score until now. 

Coming into the tournament, the opener was in good form during IPL 2019 and also for West Indies. He recently scored a stunning 162 off 97 balls against England at Grenada. Playing in his last big tournament, Gayle would want to sign off in a big way.

#1 Jonny Bairstow, England

Jonny Bairstow is in great form, England v Afghanistan – ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Warm Up

Jonny Bairstow’s rise in ODI cricket over the past couple of years has been a phenomenal story. The 29-year-old has played some scintillating knocks for England in the recent past and has been a key figure in England’s ODI and T20I success.

A player with a vast array of strokes in his arsenal, Bairstow showed his hitting abilities during the Indian Premier League in April and also for England in limited-overs cricket. His strike rate in ODIs is 107, which says a lot about his aggressive mentality and approach.

He has scored seven hundreds in just 57 innings with the highest score being 147*. Capable of playing long innings, Bairstow could be one of the important players for England this summer. He plays fearless cricket and has a huge chance to break Rohit Sharma’s record.

Cricket World Cup Predictions: Who will stand …

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

The wait will finally be over in less than a week as England take on South Africa in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup opener at The Oval on 30 May. Unlike the last few editions, this will be a 10-team round robin format where all the teams play against each other and the top four will qualify for the semifinals.

The hosts are clear favourites going into the tournament. However, India and Australia have an equally strong squad at their disposal. This is expected to be a closely fought World Cup and no team can be taken lightly. 

Without much ado, let’s have a look at where each team will stand at the end of the league stage.

#10 Afghanistan

Scotland v Afghanistan – One Day International

Despite being the lowest ranked team in the tournament, Afghanistan have the ability to spring a surprise or two. They have a good bowling attack and a decent batting lineup to challenge any team in the tournament. Gulbadin Naib was appointed as the captain just weeks before the tournament, and it hasn’t gone down well with some of the players in the squad. Expect them to put up a fight but Afghanistan may have to contend with a 10th place finish. 

#9 Sri Lanka

Scotland v Sri Lanka – One Day International

Sri Lanka has done well in the previous tournaments but this World Cup is a lot different for the ‘Islanders’. Sri Lankan cricket is going through a bad phase at the moment and apart from the Test series win in South Africa, they struggled in every series they have played in the past year. Dimuth Karunaratne, who last played an ODI game in the 2015 World Cup, will lead the side, which lacks match-winners and also experience. They have won only one ODI out of the nine played in 2019.

#8 Bangladesh

New Zealand v Bangladesh – ODI Game 3

Led by Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh has a good mix of youth and experience in their squad. The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mustafizur Rahman, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Mahmudullah will bring the much-needed experience while Saifuddin, Liton Das, and Mosaddek add the youthful exuberance. However, they have always struggled at the key moments in the past. Also, playing away from sub-continent conditions is not their strength. 

#7 West Indies

Australia v West Indies – One Day International

Though they have done well in the T20Is, West Indies struggled when it comes to the 50-over format. Consistency seems to be the biggest problem for the Caribbean outfit. However, the return of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell strengthens the squad. They have a good batting lineup with the likes of Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, and Nicholas Pooran. Though they have quite a few match-winners in their squad, they rarely fire in unison. Expect them to cause an upset or two.

#6 Pakistan

England v Pakistan – 5th Royal London ODI

Pakistan played a lot of ODI cricket recently and tried various combinations in the batting and bowling department. Their batting revolves around Babar Azam but the likes of Mohammed Hafeez and Shoaib Malik need to step up if Pakistan are to put up a fight in the tournament. They have a good pace attack, well supported by Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan. Despite a decent squad, Pakistan have won only two of their 15 ODI games in 2019. They need to improve drastically to fight for a semi-final spot. 

#5 South Africa

South Africa v Sri Lanka- One Day International

The Proteas go into the tournament with a less fancy squad than they have been used to in the previous editions of the tournament. The retirement of AB de Villiers has left a huge gap in their middle order. A lot depends on the likes of Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Imran Tahir, and Kagiso Rabada. Their middle order seems to be their weak link and they haven’t played a lot of ODI cricket away from home in the past few months.

#4 New Zealand

New Zealand v Bangladesh – ODI Game 3

Last editions finalists are definitely a team to watch out for in the tournament. The Kiwis, led by Kane Williamson, have a balanced squad. They have a solid batting lineup with the likes of Martin Guptill, Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Tom Latham while their bowling too seems to be doing well, with Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson leading the bowling attack. The Kiwis haven’t won the tournament in the past and this is their best chance to rewrite history books as they have every chance to finish in the top-four and contest in the semifinals. 

#3 Australia 

Australia v West Indies – One Day International

Despite a horrible 2018, the Aussies seem to have turned around their fortunes in the past few months. They have won the One Day International series in India and also beat Pakistan in UAE. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith will most certainly strengthen the squad. The likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, and Adam Zampa make their bowling attack deadly. They have hit form at the right moment and definitely one of the title contenders.

#2 India

India v Australia – ODI Series: Game 5

Virat Kohli & Co. go into the tournament as one of the top favorites. India have arguably the best top order with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli. However, the middle order has caused a lot of trouble for Kohli and a lot of questions are yet to be answered. India have a good pace attack, led by the World No.1 bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal provide the much-needed variety.  Anything less than a top-four finish is a huge disappointment for Team India. 

#1 England

England v Pakistan – 5th Royal London ODI

The home team are a clear favorite to win their first World Cup title. They possess the most destructive batting lineup in the tournament with the likes of Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, and Ben Stokes. They have a good set of all-rounders and the pace of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer will certainly make a lot of difference for England. They have played some consistent and aggressive cricket over the past couple of years and have lost only two of their 11 games in 2019.