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Cricket World Cup Preview

Everything you must know about the Cricket World Cup

Australia Nets Session Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The Cricket World Cup kicks off May 30 in England, lasting until the 14th of July when the final will be played at Lord’s, possibly the world’s most famous cricket ground. This is the 12th world cup, and the first to be played without any associate members, as well as the first to be played without every test playing member. This has caused some consternation in the cricket world, as previously associate and affiliate members (think mid majors in basketball) were given a guaranteed four spots at the world cup.

A brief into to the rules of cricket

I assume my editor will cut this down, but I will try to explain cricket as briefly as possible. Cricket features two teams, a bowling team and a batting team. Unlike in baseball, where the teams rotate every 3 outs, in cricket the batting team bats until all 10 of its wickets have been taken (think outs in baseball) or, in the case of limited overs cricket, all of the overs (one over = six balls) have been exhausted. Runs can be scored via hitting the ball over the boundary (6 runs), hitting it over the boundary on the bounce or hitting the boundary on the bounce (4 runs), or by running back and forth between the stumps (one run per time ran between the stumps). There are two batsmen in the field at all times, and both need to run between the stumps to get a run (although it only counts as one run).

Outs can be made in a variety of ways. The most common are a fielder catching the ball in the air after being hit by a batsman, a bowler (pitcher), bowling the ball past the batsman and hitting the stumps, or via lbw, which stands for leg before wicket. This is the most confusing rule, but literally means when the ball hits the leg pad of the batsman when it would have gone on to hit the stumps. A more comprehensive explanation can be found here. Also worth noting is that unlike in baseball, when a hitter will hit multiple times per game, once you have been dismissed in cricket, that is it until the next match (or the next innings in the case of test cricket, but that’s for another day).

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments although keep in mind I am far from an expert.

The Format

The format will be one day internationals (ODIs), which are matches where each team gets to bat for a fixed number of overs, usually 50, or until they lose all 10 wickets, whichever comes first. There are a few other differences in ODIs, most notably powerplays for the batting team where the fielding team is forced to have a certain number of players within 30 yards of the batsman. All 10 teams will play each other once in a round robin format, with the top 4 teams advancing to the semifinals.

The Teams



The hosts are the current top ranked ODI side in the world, and it’s easy to see why. They have probably the best batting attack in the world at the moment, and while their bowling isn’t as good, they could get a boost from the addition of 24 year old sensation Jofra Archer. Captain Eoin Morgan has played more ODIs than anyone in England’s history, and is one of just two people to hit for a century (scoring 100+) for two countries. Other players to watch are Jos Buttler, Joe Root, and Moeen Ali.


India features Virat Kohli, probably the most famous cricketer in the world at the moment. He’s also the best batsman in the world currently, and possibly ever (although the relatively recent introductions of ODIs and T-20 cricket make that a difficult claim to back up). Kohli is the only person ever to average more than 50 in all three cricket formats (test, ODI, t-20). He has 40 centuries all time in ODI cricket, second most to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. They also have legendary MS Dhoni, one of the best innings finishers of all time (someone you can bring in with a couple overs left to hit boundaries as quickly as possible). Bowling wise, India has, as you’d expect, a deep and talented attack.


Rocked by a ball tampering scandal fewer than two years ago, Australia have potentially the best top 4 bowling attack in the tournament, and they do have 5 great batsmen as well. However, their bottom of the order isn’t as good as some of the other top sides, so they’ll rely on the top to not only get off to fast starts but also remain in the middle for awhile.


West Indies

The only cricketing nation that isn’t just one nation, the West Indies have won the World Cup twice, but not since the 70s. They have maybe the most aggressive batsmen in the entire tournament, led by Chris Gayle, who has the fastest 50 in cricket history. They probably don’t have the bowling to be a true contender, but on its day their batting can chase down any total.

New Zealand

The Kiwis are probably the best relatively anonymous team in the world. They don’t have any megastars, but other than a recent poor series against India, they have been rock solid as of late. Kane Williamson is one of the best batsmen on earth, and their bowlers are deep and in form. If they can keep scores low, New Zealand might sneak into the semis.


Pakistan’s bowling struggled in their recent series against England, but Mohammad Amir is one of the better opening bowlers in the world, and a couple quick wickets against other team’s top batsmen could make a huge difference against the other contenders for that last semifinal spot. Of note, bowler Wahib Riaz hasn’t played one day cricket for Pakistan in roughly 2 years.

South Africa

The South Africans have probably the best bowling attack in the tournament, led by Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, and Imran Tahir. Their batting is sorely lacking, however, and with this looking to be a batting world cup, I think they’ll be on the outside looking in. South Africa was expected to be led batting wise by AB de Villiers, one of the best batsmen of his generation (and highschool mate of the South African captain), but he shockingly retired last year. South Africa have won their last 5 ODI series, but only two of those have been against semifinal contenders.

Probably not contenders

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has my favorite bowler of all time, Lasith Malinga, who hunts wickets like few other bowlers, and has a truly unique style. But that’s about it. Their captain hasn’t played ODI cricket in roughly 4 years, and they’ve lost 8 of their last 9 ODI matches.


They’ve won their last 4 ODI series, and have one of the best all rounders currently in Shakib Al Hasan. I’d be lying if I said I knew much else about them. They’ll need to beat South Africa in their opener to have a chance of advancing.


The 12th and newest test playing country, Afghanistan is in its second cricket world cup, having gone 1-5 four years ago. I don’t think they will fare too much better this go around, although they could potentially finish above Sri Lanka.


I am going to take England, India, Australia, and New Zealand to make the semis, and I will go with India defeating the hosts England in the final.