ICC World Cup Preview: The Contenders

ICC World Cup Preview: The Contenders

The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 is less than a week away and the excitement is reaching its peak with every passing day. In the second of our two-part tournament preview, we bring you a list of five teams who we think will enter the contest with the tag of the contenders and who are expected to qualify for the last-four.

Australia

Australia are a real powerhouse in the world of cricket, especially in the mega events. The Kangaroos are by far the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, lifting the trophy five times, three more than any other country in the sport. The Aaron Finch-led unit will be defending their crown after lifting the trophy in the 2015 edition under the leadership of Michael Clarke. This time, the team's strength is their versatile bowling unit where the presence of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon is more than enough to dismantle any batting lineup. On the batting front, Australia have already received a major boost with the return of former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, both of whom are in great form with the bat in hand of late.

England

England are the red-hot favourites in this year's World Cup. The hosts are the number one-ranked side in the 50-over format and are currently going through a purple patch in white-ball cricket in their history which is full

The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 is less than a week away and the excitement is reaching its peak with every passing day. In the second of our two-part tournament preview, we bring you a list of five teams who we think will enter the contest with the tag of the contenders and who are expected to qualify for the last-four.

Australia

Australia are a real powerhouse in the world of cricket, especially in the mega events. The Kangaroos are by far the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, lifting the trophy five times, three more than any other country in the sport. The Aaron Finch-led unit will be defending their crown after lifting the trophy in the 2015 edition under the leadership of Michael Clarke. This time, the team's strength is their versatile bowling unit where the presence of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon is more than enough to dismantle any batting lineup. On the batting front, Australia have already received a major boost with the return of former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, both of whom are in great form with the bat in hand of late.

England

England are the red-hot favourites in this year's World Cup. The hosts are the number one-ranked side in the 50-over format and are currently going through a purple patch in white-ball cricket in their history which is full of disappointments. Eoin Morgan-led side will be hoping to become to lead first-ever English team to lift the title come July 14 as previously thrice they came one step short of the ultimate glory. England's strength going in to this year's competition is their explosive batting lineup, which many believe is the best-ever fielded by any team in the history of the competition. With such expectations on their shoulders, it will be interesting to see if this side have what it takes to achieve something which no team from the country achieved in the past.

India

India are perhaps the second-most favourite going into the World Cup. The team from the subcontinent are the one of three teams to have lift the title twice. In the tournament's previous edition, the Men in Blue finished in the last-four, losing out to eventual winners Australia in the semi-finals. The team is led by star batsman Virat Kohli and have some outstanding power in the batting department where the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and captain Kohli himself can dismantle any bowling lineup. Surprisingly, this time around, India possess the best bowling attack in the world as well which is not only versatile, but are full of wicket-taking options. Therefore, as it stands, it will take some doing to stop this Indian side from lifting their third World Cup.

New Zealand

New Zealand are perhaps a team which always turns out to be a surprise package in every ICC mega event. But this time around, the Black Caps will enter the contest as one of the favourites as they have a really balanced squad. The team, led by Kane Williamson, have their all bases covered and all the sides will know that they are a real force to be reckoned with in the tournament starting from May 30. In the tournament's previous edition, Kiwis had a really successful outing as for the first time in their cricketing history, they've managed to qualify for the final but lost to eventual winners Australia.

South Africa

South Africa are undoubtedly the most frustrating team to watch in the mega events, as pretty much on every occasion they let their fans down with reckless decision making. This time around, the Proteas will once again start the competition as one of the strong units who are expected to be involved in the mix to qualify for the final-four. From the selected squad, South Africa's strength will be their bowling department which consist of match-winners like Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn (who will miss the first several matches as he recovers from injury), Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Proteas' best achievement in the ICC World Cup is reaching the semi-finals stage, which they achieved in 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Passionate sports follower in the field of sports journalism for more than five years. Loves writing about cricket, football, and tennis.
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