ICC World Cup 2019: Teams, Predictions, Favourites & Underdogs.

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The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup is slated to be played from May 30 to July 14 in England and Wales, and the 10 participating teams will have a busy time in the build-up before they stake claim to the most coveted title in the world of cricket. What makes this world cup more exciting is the slight change in its format. ICC has opted to follow the round-robin format which ensures each team playing against the rest at least once to prove and find themselves a spot in the Knockout stage.

This eventually means more action-packed and nail-biting entertainment for the audience. The format also gives a decent chance for the underdog teams like Afghanistan, West Indies and Bangladesh to create major upsets and have a fairytale world cup. So before you block your calendar and plan the coming next one and a half months, XploreSports plans to give you a complete summary, from primary squad details of every team to the best batsmen and bowlers in World Cup to picking up 3 favourites and 2 underdogs who could snitch the 2019 World Cup, all summed up here.

Provisional squads for all the 10 participating teams:

May 23rd is the deadline for making any changes to the 15-member squad.
Most squads are likely to remain unchanged but there are few teams who have their stand by players to prove their mark and get into the final squad.

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ICC World Cup 2019 schedule
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INDIA-
Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami.

AUSTRALIA-
Squad: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon.

ENGLAND-
Squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Dawson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Jonny Bairstow, James Vince

PAKISTAN-
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz

SOUTH AFRICA-
Squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi.

NEW ZEALAND-
Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Jimmy Neesham.

WEST INDIES-
Squad: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Kemar Roach, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer.

BANGLADESH-
Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan (vc), Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed

AFGHANISTAN-
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, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

SRI LANKA-
Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffery Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana.

Prediction:

It is about few days before the most coveted tournament of this era kickstarts and predictions from cricketing legends and pundits have already made their way in the media. Although deciding the eventual winners may seem a far fetched idea, here we’ll try presenting a straightforward interpretation with statical analysis of the top 3 favourites for the title and the 2 underdogs who could snitch it from the champions.

#1 ENGLAND

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England squad for the World Cup
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After a disappointing world cup in 2015, England has inarguably embarked themselves as the standout favourites to clinch this title on home soil. Coach Trevor Bayliss has revolutionized the England cricket after their loss in the 2015 world cup. Eoin Morgan leading from the front holds an impressive record by winning 13 of the last 16 ODI series against the top teams like India, Australia, Pakistan and almost every team that they will face in the coming world cup. England’s most impressive performance in global 50 over cricket has come on its home soil. Whether it is by progressing to the semi-finals in 2017 ICC champions trophy or runners up in 2013 and 2004 in the same competition.

England has a deep batting line up with players like Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, having an average strike rate of 150 can rattle the bowling lineup of the opposition teams. The middle order also looks sorted and with an attack of pace and spin from both ends, the team line up of England is ready to bring nightmares for the opponents. Looking at their recent clash against Pakistan where their prime batsmen have shown their top form at their own turf gives a clear indication that England will be the favourites to start the World Cup.

#2 INDIA

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Indian Squad for the ICC 2019 World Cup

India is currently ranked No.2 in the men’s ODI ICC ranking behind England. But witnessing the impeccable form and the team performance in all the 3 departments there are no second thoughts about India starting as favourites for the world tournament. Statically going, India has won 13 ODI series against all the top teams from 2015 and has also proved themselves in majors tours and competitions. Winning the Asia cup in 2018 and then trashing Australia and New Zealand on their home ground, India is currently the top favourites in the cricketing world. Not only have they been dominant but they have looked uncannily convincing in their triumphs.

Being crowned champions twice and notably proving themselves on the English soil by defeating none other than England in the 2013 Champions trophy and being the runners up in 2017, there is no doubt that the team has read the conditions of the English soil very well. The top 3 batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma & Virat Kohli have shown their ‘A-Class’ game in the ICC tournaments. The trio already features in the top 10 batsmen in the ICC ODI ranking with Dhawan and Rohit being the only opening pair to be featured in top 10.

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Virat Kohli stats 2018
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India holds the highest batting average of 46.88 per wicket in the last two years. With captain Kohli leading the way from the front and being termed as the greatest batsmen of this generation, he is currently expressing the best form of cricket to the audience. Passing the 1000 run mark in a calendar year, he scored 1202 run at an average of 133.55 in the year 2018. He has always been prolific in leading the team to victory and the bowlers clearly know the importance of this man’s wicket in the game.

India’s bowling line up is also impressive and balances the team to defend a handy total. With the pace of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar the image of Indian bowling attack has been revolutionized. In addition, India also has the best wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Master tactician and the architect of Indian cricket MS Dhoni is undoubtedly the best brains on the cricketing field. His mentoring, experience and contribution to the Indian team will unite the players on field to win the world cup and dedicate the win to the man who changed the outlook of Indian cricket.

#3 AUSTRALIA

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Australian Squad for 2019 World Cup
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The reigning World Champions can’t be neglected in any manner. After winning the 2015 world cup things have certainly gone down for Australia with the disturbing ball-tampering scandal. They have experienced their lowest ODI ranking in the last 34 years. But, World Cup’s and Australia have a different love affair, they are the only team to have lifted the coveted trophy 5 times and reach finals of the world cup for a record 7 times. They have won the World Cup in every continent where cricket is played and have also won a hat-trick of world cups from 1999-2007.

As the big boys, David Warner and Steve Smith have returned they can be lethal in the aftermath of the return. We witnessed David Warner during the IPL 2019 and he’s clearly shown the world why he is the most aggressive batsmen in the world. Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon have always stood out for their team and Aussies have been the most consistent performers on the global level. The men in yellow certainly know how to win big games and conquer the trophy.

#4 AFGHANISTAN

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Afghanistan Squad for ICC World cup 2019
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Afghanistan has marked its presence in all formats of the game. They have moved through the ranks to emerge out as a team that can upset the top chart leaders of the game. Afghanistan did extraordinarily well to reach the world cup after a hard-fought qualifying round. They will be desperate to prove the cricketing world that they stand a chance to stumble the experienced teams and are worthy to compete for the most prestigious trophy in Cricket.

Looking at the statical report, Afghanistan has a standout bowling average of 24.03 and strike rate of 33.5. The havoc that Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi have caused by their spin attack, this will certainly give nightmares for the spin-struggling English, Australian and South African sides. Afghanistan will be the dark horse to watch out for in the coming 2019 world cup.

#5 PAKISTAN

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Pakistan Squad for The World Cup 2019
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Pakistan shocked everyone by clinching the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy that was held in England. Pakistan is notoriously mercurial and unpredictable, but on their day there’s no doubt that they can beat anyone and everyone, thus upsetting the betting odds. They haven’t been in the same form after winning the 2017 Champions Trophy, but the deadly and versatile pace attack they have has always been lethal and a game changer. The conditions in England are most suited for pace and seemers are going to play an indispensable part according to the pitch conditions.

The presence of Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez gives a boost to the team morally. They have been slated as underdogs for this tournament but Pakistan has always managed to upset the cricket fraternity.

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