The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is almost upon us, and fans can’t wait for the action to begin. Before the tournament gets underway, we were wondering if our powers of prediction could help foresee what might happen in the tournament before it even begins.
Here is where each team could realistically end up at the ICC Cricket World Cup:
Afghanistan (Group Stage)
Afghanistan have improved leaps and bounds in recent years, but to think that they will progress beyond the group stages is rather unrealistic.
Rashid Khan and co might pull of an upset or two, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll end up in the final four.
Bangladesh (Group Stage)
Bangladesh have built up a reputation of beating the big boys in big tournaments, but their lack of consistency will be a major concern heading into this tournament.
Realistically speaking, qualifying beyond the group stages would be a miracle for the Tigers and they’d need their main players to step up if they are to pose a problem.
Sri Lanka (Group Stage)
World Cup winners in 1996 and finalists as recently as 2011, Sri Lanka have been a staple in the ICC Cricket World Cup setup. However, gone are the days of Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
The team today lacks the right leadership and guile to sustain a push for the big one, so don’t expect the island nation to qualify beyond the group stages.
West Indies (Group Stage)
The big guns are back for the Windies, and it couldn’t have been better timed. A final World Cup for Chris Gayle could be an opportunity for his nation to pull off a stunning win, but they’d do well to get past the rest of the teams in the Cup.
Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard are all back in the squad, but with or without them, progressing beyond the group stage would take a mountain to climb.
Pakistan (Group Stage)
You never quite know what you’re going to get with Pakistan. They can pull the wool over your eyes and end up winning the whole thing as we saw at the ICC Champions Trophy, or just get knocked out without troubling the field.
Recent form has been appalling for the Pakistanis, losing 4-0 to England in the recently concluded series, so confidence isn’t high in the dressing room. Progressing beyond the group stage seems unlikely for the 1992 World Cup winners.
South Africa (Group Stage)
This is a tough one to predict. South Africa are the perennial “chokers” of the World Cup, but always go in with a chance. This time too, it’s difficult to say for sure where they will finish.
Group stage is perhaps the best bet though, considering their team probably hasn’t got the right balance needed to go all the way. They may just squeeze into the semis, but their choker tag and reputation certainly precedes Faf Du Plessis’ team.
New Zealand (Semi-finals)
New Zealand couldn’t win the tournament in 2015, falling just one step short, but the Kiwis will be confident heading into this World Cup, with momentum on their side.
Kane Williamson is undoubtedly the player to watch out for, and the bowling attack looks reasonably strong as well. NZ fans would want their side to win the whole thing, but a semis appearance looks to be on the cards.
Now that the whole David Warner-Steven Smith situation has been sorted, Australia can focus on their charge of winning the World Cup. The Aussies are defending champions, and know that they possess the squad to go all the way.
However, they may just fall short in the last four, especially if they end up getting either England or India, who go in as favourites. Form isn’t great either, but the team from down under could easily prove us wrong and win the World Cup.
Firm favourites to win the World Cup, India will hope that this is the year that they relive the memories of 1983 and bring home the trophy. Winners in 2011 as well, the Men in Blue possess the strength in depth to go all the way.
But they face a challenge in the form of hosts England, who have been ruthless recently. India could still end up winning, but we believe realistically, they might just go down in the grand finale.
The home side go in as favourites and it’s hard to argue against them winning their first ever World Cup. Recent form has been exemplary, and the hammering of Pakistan is proof of the same.
In Joe Root and co, England have a balanced unit capable of beating any of the ten teams at the Cup, and if they stick to their strengths, they could give their fans all the reason to celebrate at the end of it.