With no major football tournament going on and the Rugby World Cup not until October, cricket is set to be the headline sport in the UK this summer. There is the Ashes to look forward to in August and September, but first there is just the small matter of the Cricket World Cup. England go off as favourites in their home tournament but are closely followed by India and the holders and winners of four of the last five editions, Australia. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the tournament while we bring you a selection of enhanced odds. FansBet will also provide you betting previews for every game of the 2019 World Cup so if you are looking for some expert tips you know where to come!
Cricket World Cup Venues
10 grounds will be used across England and Wales – Lord’s, The Oval, The Ageas Bowl, Taunton, Bristol, Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford, Headingly and Chester-le-Street. Like many of the ODI’s to take place in this country over the last few years, the wickets will be flat and favour batsmen. Add in some short boundaries and the bowlers really are up against it.
England hosted the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, but the pitches were slightly slower and as only three grounds were used, they wore considerably as the tournament progressed. Old Trafford is the only ground that will host more than five matches so the pitches will stay fresh throughout and the toss will be key, as most sides will elect to bowl and back themselves to chase in these conditions.
Cricket World Cup Format And Team Guide
The format has been revamped this year: all 10 teams will play each other in one big round-robin group and the top-four will go through to the semi-finals. This format ensures every team will play at least nine matches and feature for the majority of the five-week period. Lets take a look at all the teams for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Batsman: Gulbadin Naib (C), Asghar Afghan, Rahmat Shah, Hastmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Najibullah Zadran, Noor Zadran
All-rounders: Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Samiullah Shinwari
Bowlers: Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan, Mujeed Ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran
Not to be underestimated. Officially the worst-ranked side in the competition but they secured their place by beating West Indies in the final of the 2018 qualifying tournament. What they lack in the batting department, they make up for in their bowling. Khan, Nabi and Ur Rahman are all high-class spinners and have experience of playing in the IPL. They could make life very awkward for even the strongest of oppositions and against the other tournament outsiders; we’ll be looking to keep Afghanistan onside.
Key player: Rashid Khan is the no.1 ranked spinner and all-rounder in white-ball cricket. A star at every T20 franchise he partakes in- including a spell at the Sussex Sharks. He may not be seen to his greatest effect over 10 overs (and on these pitches) but has the ability and potential to win matches on his own.
Batsman: Aaron Finch (C), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khwaja, Shaun Marsh, Steve Smith, David Warner
All-rounders: Pat Cummins, Glen Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis
Bowlers: Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coutler-Nile, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa
After getting thrashed 5-0 in an ODI series here 12 moths ago, not many would have put Australia as among the favourites for the 2019 World Cup. However, pieces of the jigsaw are just starting to fall into place. With an illustrious record in the tournament and series wins over Pakistan in the UAE and away in India earlier this year, Australia should never be written off.
Add in the return of world-class talents Smith and Warner and the batting line-up begins to look very strong. Both Finch and Khwaja are capable of going well on these flat pitches and all-rounders Maxwell and Stoinis can clear the ropes with ease. Australia also have variety in their bowling too; quicks Cummins and Starc, experienced off-spinner Lyon and leggy Zampa.
The worry for the reigning champions is the lack of consistency in their performances and the injury concerns that plague a couple of their key men. Smith has a niggling elbow injury and Starc, who is arguably the best yorker bowler in the world, has been beleaguered with injuries in recent years and hasn’t played since the Test series against Sri Lanka at the beginning of February. Justin Langer will want both to be fit, as their back-up options aren’t as strong.
Key player: While the bowling unit looks well-rounded, their batting has been poor in the last 12 months, so the return of David Warner could be instrumental. Time out of the game doesn’t seem to have altered the left-hander’s ability after finishing top of the IPL run scoring charts. As England’s openers have proven, the best opportunity to score here is up top and the Aussies will be relying on Warner to get them off to a fast start.
Batsman: Liton Das, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudulla, Mohammed Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Soumyar Sarkar
All-rounders: Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mohammad Saifuddin
Bowlers: Mehidy Hasan, Mosaddek Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman,
Bangladesh arrive in good form having won all four of their warm-up matches in a tri-tournament against West Indies and Ireland. Sarkar was their standout batsman with three half-centuries, while Mosaddek Hossain showed excellent striking ability to smash five sixes and clinch victory against the Windies in the final. With the likes of Tamim and Mushfiqur as well, they’ve got a few guys capable of scoring runs. However, they don’t look the strongest in the bowling department, especially in English conditions. Shakib is a very controlled spinner but Bangladesh lack any express pace and their specialist death bowler ‘The Fizz’ Mustafizur has looked a little off colour of late. In Asia they’d be a danger, but on these shores, we don’t give them much hope.
Key player: Shakib Al Hasan is captain and the Tigers will look to him for inspiration. He’s ranked second behind Rashid Khan in the ODI all-rounder rankings and he’ll be crucial with ball and bat.
Batsman: Eoin Morgan (C), Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Vince
All-rounders: Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes
Bowlers: Jofra Archar, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
A dismal performance in the World Cup four years ago saw England tear up the playbook and reset their white-ball game. The transformation form then to now is unparalleled. Largely the same group of players over this four-year period, they are fantastically led by Eoin Morgan and deservedly go off as favourites in their home World Cup.
Their batting power and depth is the likes of which we’ve never seen. There are no holes in their line-up; the opening pair of Roy and Bairstow is the most lethal currently in the game, the finesse of Root at three, the power of Morgan and Stokes, and the mercurial talent that is Buttler. Additionally, barring Mark Wood, all their bowlers are more than handy with the bat. Athletic fielding is also a major strength and another aspect of the game where they continue to set the standard.
The one area in which England are rivalled or even surpassed is bowling. While no side has scored 300 more regularly than England in the last two years, no team has conceded that many as frequently either. In their recent warm-up series, Pakistan scored at least 340 on three occasions and got to 297 in the other completed match. However, Wood hasn’t been able to play regularly, and Archer is new to the set-up so they have added pace that wasn’t there previously. Their go-to bowler over the last few years, Woakes, also found some form in the final two games with nine wickets, whilst the two spinners Ali and Rashid have formed an effective partnership in the middle overs during the last few years.
Home crowd and pitches that play to their strengths; it all seems to be in England’s favour. They’re W29-D1-L4 at home since start of the summer of 2016 and look to be a shoe-in to reach the semis. However, one of those defeats was in the Champions Trophy semi-final to Pakistan and that vulnerability in a one-off game keeps everyone else interested.
Key Player: It could easily have been Jos Buttler, who in a batting line-up full of quality is most feared around the world. However, we know how good this side’s batting is and if England are going to win this, then they have to perform with the ball. It seems ridiculous to suggest someone with just three caps is their key player, but Jofra Archer could make all the difference. Although untested at this level, the 24-year-old consistently bowls over 90mph and has the ability and skill to strike early and late in an innings.
Batsman: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Vijay Shankar
All-rounders: Kedar Jadhav, Ravi Jadeja, Hardik Pandya
Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Yuz Chahal, Bhuv Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Kuldeep Yadav
Aside from England, India has the strongest batting line-up in the competition, which is led by the sensational Virat Kohli. Kohli, Sharma and Dhawan are the top three run scorers in the world over the last two years and they are backed up with power down the order with the in-form Pandya and the evergreen Dhoni. No.4 is a slight issue- many tipped Richard Pant to solve the problem- but he wasn’t picked; a decision that could come back to haunt India.
Where they eclipse England is their form with the ball and the variations they have. Their seam attack has both skill and pace; Bhuvinesh Kumar can get the ball to talk first up, Shami is ultra-consistent and Bumrah – who was so threatening in the Test series here last year – is probably the best death bowler in the world. Additionally, they have three varying, high-class spinners – Jadeja, Chahal and the mystery of Kuldeep. Chahal is the fourth highest wicket-taker in the last two years and although Kuldeep is first on that list, his form in the IPL is a slight worry.
Overall, India are a vastly experienced side and six of their players have at least 100 caps. Additionally, their squad is similar to the one that reached the final of the ICC Champions trophy two years ago. That result expels the idea that they’ll struggle in English conditions and they’re sure to go deep again.
Key Player: While Jasprit Bumrah will be key in leading the attack, if Virat Kohli has a good tournament, then India will go close. He was sensational leading his country over here 12 months ago and he’ll be determined to lead them to World Cup glory, if only to increase his legend. He’s an outstanding white-ball batsman with impeccable technique that allows him to score runs in any condition, should there be variable conditions in the latter stages.
Batsman: Kane Williamson (C), Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Nicholls, Ross Taylor,
All-rounders: Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner
Bowlers: Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee
Always everyone’s favourite dark horse and again it’s a case of New Zealand coming in slightly under the radar. Four years ago on home soil was their golden opportunity to win the World Cup, but they fell short in the final against rivals Australia. They arguably have a stronger team this time around and again looked over-priced at double-figures.
Their side is well balanced. They’re led superbly by the astute Williamson and they’ve added depth to their batting with the likes of Latham, a very useful wicket-keeper batsman, and Neesham, a genuine all-rounder. They no longer rely on just Guptill, Williamson and Taylor for runs. What’s more, they possess an excellent pace attack which is spearheaded by Boult – who only lies behind Bumrah in the ODI bowling rankings. Over the last two years, the Black Caps have produced the best bowling strike-rate on the international circuit, along with the fourth best economy. However, there is an over-reliance on their pace attack as neither spin option, Santner or Sodhi, are world beaters.
Key Player: Ross Tayloris truly a world-class talent that averages just shy of 50 in ODI’s. He’s third in the rankings behind Indian duo Kohli and Sharma and of the players competing at this year’s tournament, only Kholi, Dhoni and Chris Gayle have scored more ODI runs in their careers.
Batsman: Sarfaraz Ahmed (C), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Fakhar Zaman
All-rounders: Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim
Bowlers: Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Wahab Riaz.
Pakistan’s recent ODI series with England has been a chastening experience, but they’ll still have confidence they can go well this tournament having won the Champions Trophy on English soil in 2017. It was their bowling that won them the title two years ago, but they went around the park against England recently. In his absence, Amir’s stock certainly rose, but the late call-up for Wahab Riaz, who last played an ODI in the group stage of the Champions Trophy, indicates the growing alarm at the steep decline of their bowling performances.
On the plus side, they scored 340-plus on three occasions and their top-three looks very strong with Fakhar, Iman-ul-Haq and Babar all averaging over 50. However, they lack depth thereafter and don’t have enough players who can clear the ropes lower down the order. As they’ve proven on many occasions, Pakistan should never be discounted, but a record of just four victories and 21 defeats against the other teams involved in this World Cup since the beginning of 2018, suggests they may fall short.
Key Player: Mohammad Amir couldn’t take part in the ODI series against England due to a case of chickenpox and it’s ended up being a blessing in disguise for the left-arm quick. Like the whole of the Pakistan bowling unit, his form has dipped and remarkably, he’s picked up just two wickets in 14 ODI’s in the last two years. His economy rate though, has been excellent, going at just 4.58. As he proved in the Champions Trophy final, he is the man for the big occasions and if he rediscovers his mojo, then Pakistan will be a threat.
Batsman: Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Aiden Markram, David Miller, Rassie van der Dussen
All-rounders: JP Duminy, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorious
Bowlers: Lungi Ndidi, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shami, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir
Ever since the 1999 World Cup, South Africa have had a reputation for bottling it on the big stage, but for the first time in a long while, they enter a major tournament without being amongst the favourites. There is no AB de Villiers anymore, and whilst that weakens their batting, there is less expectation on their shoulders.
The batting unit looks a little light and not particularly deep. Amla is out of nick, so there will be a huge amount of pressure on de Kock, du Plessis and Miller to deliver. However, if Amla – who averages 56.73 in 18 ODIs in England – returns to form and the batsmen rise to the occasion, they stand a great chance with arguably the strongest bowling attack in the competition.
They have the two highest wicket-takers form the IPL as Tahir just pipped Rabada at the end, with the latter taking an impressive 25 wickets in 12 matches. The right-arm quick suffered an injury while on duty for the Delhi Capitals, but he’s expected to be fit and firing for the tournament curtain-raiser against England. Along with Rabada, Ndidi regularly bowls in excess of 90mph and is a genuine wicket-taker and the South African’s are also able to call on the highly experienced Steyn and all-rounder Phehlukwayo, who has terrific variations. Tahir’s skill and mystery spin draws a very well-rounded attack to a close. Conditions may not favour bowlers, but the Proteas head coach, Ottis Gibson, is the former bowling coach of England, so can provide extra insight on how to get the best out of every venue.
Key Player: It’s essential South Africa provide a platform for their high-class bowling attack and Quinton de Kock will be imperative to this. The keeper-batsman can be explosive from the off and arrives having won the IPL with the Mumbai Indians and finishing as their top scorer. Prior to this, he’d struck three 50s and century in an ODI series against Sri Lanka and he has also had good experiences of batting in England during their 2017 tour.
Batsman: Dimuth Karunaratne (C), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Lahiru Thirimanne
All-rounders: Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana
Bowlers: Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Jeffrey Vandersay
Gone are the glory days of Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lankan cricket has been on a slow decline since their two greatest retired and their ODI side is in a sorry state, winning just 22% of their matches in the last two years. This makes the non-selection of their top wicket-taker (Akila Danajaya) and top two runscorers (Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella) even more baffling. They still have some competent players – Matthews and Thisara Perera are dangerous down the order – but there is a lack of specialist batsmen. Malinga can be world-class on his day, but he’s 35 now and his body won’t allow him to take part in every game. There is little positivity surrounding the Lions entering the tournament and they look set to battle it out with Afghanistan and Bangladesh to avoid the wooden spoon.
Key Player: Having left out the highly experienced and previous captain Dinesh Chandimal, there is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of new skipper Dimuth Karunaratne. Not only is there a feeling amongst some that Malinga should lead the side, but Karunaratne has yet to prove himself in this format. Firmly established as a classy opener in Test cricket, he averages just 16 in 13 ODI innings, passing 50 just once.
Batsman: Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nic Pooran (wk,
All-rounders: Jason Holder (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell,
Bowlers: Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas,
There is no doubt that the West Indies will be one of the most entertaining sides to watch at this World Cup. They actually had to go through qualification to get here, but they are a much better side than that, which they proved when drawing 2-2 with England in an ODI series back in February. Chris Gayle was instrumental in that series, and they welcome back another power player in Andre Russell to form an explosive batting line-up. When Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard are amongst the reserves, it highlights the depth in quality the Windies possess. Add to this a superb captain, Jason Holder, and a fearsome pace attack, the West Indies aren’t just making up the numbers.
There are areas of weakness though. They’re very poor in the spin department and it remains to be seen whether they can translate their highly tuned T20 stills to the 50-over format. They may not have the stamina to win the thing, but they can certainly ruffle a few feathers along the way.
Key Player: Chris Gayle has been one of the main attractions of the game over the last 15 years. On flat tracks and small boundaries, the veteran could cause carnage. However, if Andre Russell can replicate the kind of form he showed in the IPL, then there will be fireworks aplenty. This year’s MVP struck an incredible 52 sixes (an average of four per innings) and scored over 500 runs at an unfathomable strike-rate of 204.81. Add in his ability to bowl yorkers and his sensational fielding and Dre Russ could be the man to set this World Cup alight.
Cricket World Cup 2019 Betting Tips
If the pitches are akin to those we witnessed in England’s warm-up series against Pakistan for the entirety of the competition, then Eoin Morgan’s men are certainly the team to beat. After the host nation failed to win the first nine World Cups, England are aiming to become the third hosts in a row to lift the trophy, after India won when sharing with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2011 and Australia prevailed when sharing with New Zealand in 2015.
They’re a very short price to do so, but it’s very difficult to win a tournament based on being just the best at one skill set. Invariably, bowling will decide the destination of most global tournaments, as Pakistan proved in the Champions Trophy in 2017 and Australia in the 2015 World Cup. Even on these flat pitches where the bat is expected to dominate, the side that can work out ways to counter-act the conditions with highly skilled bowling stands the best chance of winning the whole thing.
For their price, England concede a worrying number of runs. They also have the ability to implode with their aggressive approach, which could cost them in the knockout stages. Both Australia and India posses stronger bowling line-ups when at full-strength, but the fitness of Starc is a major concern for the former. Moreover, while their batting line-up is strengthened on paper with the return of Warner and Smith, one wonders whether team spirit will be affected. Finch and Khawaja have formed a promising opening partnership but Warner’s return will disrupt this, and Finch will have to use all of his authoritative skills to remain in charge.
That leaves India, who are the most well-rounded team in our eyes. A high-class top order, an explosive all-rounder, a keeper who is a modern great, a quality seem attack and varied spin options. They should be able to adapt to any condition and in Virat Kohli, they possess the best white-ball batsman in the world. Whereas Lionel Messi has to carry Argentina at the World Cup, Kohli can still rely on others in his team to perform but still expect the skipper to lead from the front on the hunt for World Cup glory.
Away from the market leaders, we don’t give Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or Afghanistan any hope. West Indies will be very dangerous, but it’s difficult to see them sustaining it over such a long period. Another who won’t appreciate the revamped round-robin stage is Pakistan. The shorter format of Champions Trophy worked in their favour, but this format rewards consistency – with five wins the minimum to have a chance of reaching the last four. Pakistan’s win-rate has been sub-standard over the past few years and their lapses in the field are also a major concern.
That leaves us with New Zealand and South Africa. The Black Caps are so often the bridesmaid in global tournaments, but we’re used to seeing them go off at their current price. The Proteas, on the other hand, normally go off as one of the favourites but coming in this year a little under the radar could see them produce their best cricket.
Winning has become a habit, as they succeeded in 11 of 13 ODIs this winter, and although they were nine from 10 hosting Sri Lanka and Pakistan, they beat Australia 2-1 away. Another reason we favour them over the Kiwi’s is their squad’s experience in English conditions, as well as their coaches. Aiden Markham has been in superb form for Hampshire this summer and would be a fantastic replacement should Amla not find form. Captain du Plessis was a country cricketer before he played for his country, Tahir will be representing his eighth County in the Vitality Blast after the World Cup and Steyn had a stint with Hampshire last year. We’ve already mentioned Gibson’s knowledge of England – where he still lives – but two of his coaching staff also had long stints in the County game. Given that insight, on top of their quality bowling attack, they look a little over-priced.
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*odds subject to change.