The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be coming to England and Wales in 2019 as 10 international teams battle it out for the world title. It will be the fifth time that the inventors of the game have hosted the ICC World Cup, with the last time being just before the turn of the millennium in 1999. This time the action will get underway on May 30 when England take on South Africa at The Oval, with Lord’s hosting the final on July 14. All 10 nations will compete in a single group, playing each other once in a round-robin format with the top four teams progressing to the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup knockout stage. This format is unlike the two previous tournaments in 2011 and 2015 when 14 teams competed across two groups.
England, currently ranked number 1 in the ODI rankings, face a tough opening match against the Proteas, but as the current tournament favorites, Trevor Bayliss’ side is widely tipped to win. South Africa has a history of near misses, having exited at the semi-final stage four times, including at the last World Cup when they lost to New Zealand by four wickets.
Defending champions Australia will be looking to prove the critics wrong when they get their campaign up and running against an Afghanistan side competing in only their second ICC World Cup. A recent slump in form saw the Aussies’ slip down to 6th in the ODI rankings, but the five-time champions have previously dominated the competition and won four out of the last five World Cups, with just one quarter-final exit at the hands of India back in 2011 denting their near-perfect recent record.
Australia’s toughest challenge as they seek to retain their title could be on June 9 at The Oval, when they take on India, currently ranked second in the ODI rankings. The Aussies then face a battle with Ashes rivals England on June 25 at Lord’s.
On June 16, India takes on Pakistan at Manchester’s Old Trafford ground and England and India go head to head at Edgbaston on June 30. Another unmissable match takes place on June 29 when New Zealand look to take revenge against Australia in a repeat of 2015 final.
Hosts England started the year with a 4-1 ODI series victory over Australia to avenge their resounding 4-0 defeat in the Test series. They then edged out New Zealand 3-2 in their subsequent ODI series. They are currently joint-favorites with India to win the Cricket World Cup, priced at 3.50*, after destroying the Aussies in the summer’s ODI series on home soil. They then continued their hot streak of form with a clean sweep against India across the Twenty20, ODI and Test Match variations.
Although Australia’s ranking has dropped in recent months, the defending champions are currently third favorites at odds of 6.50*. South Africa is at 7.50*, followed by New Zealand and Pakistan at 11.00*. West Indies (23.00*), Sri Lanka (26.00*), Bangladesh (51.00*) and Afghanistan (126.00*) are the current outsiders.