2019 ICC Cricket World Cup: Team Preview Part-1

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Let’s first have a look at the Afghanistan team who are set to appear in their second World Cup. For a team that relies heavily on spin bowling, the English conditions might not be in favour of the lowest-ranked side in the tournament


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2019 ICC Cricket World Cup: Team Preview Part-1


Afghanistan (ICC ODI Ranking: 10) Captain: Gulbadin Naib (BOW-AR) Coach: Phil Simmons Key Player: Rashid Khan WC Best Finish: Group Stage (2015) First Match: Australia,1 June, 6 p.m. IST at Bristol Let’s first have a look at the Afghanistan team who are set to appear in their second World Cup. For a team that relies heavily on spin bowling, the English conditions might not be in favour of the lowest-ranked side in the tournament. The spin trio consisting of ICC #1 all-rounder Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will have their work cut out for them. On the flat English wickets posting a formidable total will inarguably be the biggest challenge for the Afghans. Strangely, just a month before the World Cup, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) decided to replace their eponymous captain, Asghar Afghan — A veteran of 56 ODIs, 46 T20Is and two Tests with Gulbadin Naib . The 28-year-old pacer had never been able to cement a place in the national side since the age of 18. Putting such a huge responsibility on his shoulders was questioned by team veterans Nabi and Rashid initially, but the ACB believe this sudden decision would be beneficial to the side.


Sri Lanka (ICC ODI Ranking: 9) Captain: Dimuth Karunaratne (BAT) Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha Key Player: Angelo Mathews WC Best Finish: Champions (1996) First Match: New Zealand, 1 June, 3 p.m. IST at Cardiff The past few years haven’t been the best for Sri Lankan cricket. Going by form, the Lankan Tigers have not won a single bilateral limited-overs series since 2016. The 2018 Asia Cup saw them finish at the bottom with the likes of Bangladesh and Afghanistan. This was followed up by a series defeat to England and two consecutive whitewashes in New Zealand and South Africa respectively. It’s safe to say their prospects heading into the World Cup do not look good at all. But their problems do not stop there. Looking at the squad, the decision to drop Dinesh Chandimal , Akila Dananjaya and Niroshan Dickwella is perplexing to say the least. Stripping captaincy from the mightily experienced Mathews and handing it to Karunaratne , whose ODI record isn’t the most acclaimed, is also a puzzling move. But Sri Lankan fans do have one glimmer of hope: track record. The Asian side has a knack of punching above their weight in ICC competitions. Right from the landmark victory in the 1996 edition to reaching consecutive finals in 2007 and 2011, the element of surprise is keenly in their favour .


West Indies (ICC ODI Ranking: 8) Captain: Jason Holder (BOW-AR) Coach: Floyd Reifer Key Player: Chris Gayle (BAT) WC Best Finish: Champions (1975, 1979) First Match: Pakistan, 31 May, 3 p.m. IST at Nottingham For a team that hasn’t won an ODI series since 2014, the West Indies are the dark horses of the 2019 ICC World Cup. The Windies ’ triumphs in the shortest format of the game (2012 T20 WC and 2016 T20 WC) are evidence of the development that is occurring behind the scenes. Their recent series stalemate with England brought to light the immeasurable young talent the Caribbean side possesses. Powerful displays from Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope ahead of the tournament will strengthen their resolve. Interestingly, it is this team that boasts the biggest X-factor among all other sides — The Universe Boss Chris Gayle. Two centuries in the series against England reminded the world that the big-hitter still has quite a lot left in the tank. In what will be Gayle’s final World Cup before he bows out, the team will look to him as a source of inspiration to reach the long-end of the competition.


Bangladesh (ICC ODI Ranking: 7) Captain: Mashrafe Mortaza (BOW) Coach: Steve Rhodes Key Player: Shakib Al Hassan WC Best Finish: Quarter-finals (2015) First Match: South Africa, June 2, 3p.m. IST at London Bangladesh has a solid blend of experience and youth in their ranks. Led by 35-year-old skipper Mortaza , the Asian side have proved time and time again that they’re capable of trouncing any team that challenges them. An encouraging performance in the recently concluded tri-series in Ireland with the Windies means form is on their side as well. The 2015 World Cup quarterfinalists rely on strong starts. With Shakib being promoted to #3 and the superbly experienced Tamim Iqbal opening the innings, Bangladesh would be banking on being steady till the 35th over, before cutting loose in the death overs. The only frailty is the lack of an all-out hitter in the lower-middle order, which puts extra pressure on Mahmudullah to consistently deliver. The side also has a knack of restricting opponents to below 300 totals. Pacers Mustafizur and Rubel Hossain have the ability to limit scoring in the death overs. With how rapidly the side has improved in recent years, taking out the big names in the competition would no longer be dubbed an upset.


Pakistan (ICC ODI Ranking: 6) Captain: Sarfaraz Ahmed (BAT-WK) Coach: Mickey Arthur Key Player: Babar Azam WC Best Finish: Champions (1992) First Match: West Indies, 31 May, 3 p.m. IST at Nottingham Though Pakistan is seated comfortably at the #1 spot in the ICC T20I rankings, their ODIs form in recent times is a complete antithesis of their T20 prowess. Ten consecutive ODIs losses should be a worrying statistic ahead of the World Cup but fans could argue that the management never fielded a full-strength line-up. The biggest plus in the series defeats against Australia and England has been the emergence of Babar Azam as a force with the bat. The batsman averages 52.44 this year and has expertly combated fearsome bowlers like Steyn and Rabada in the past. With Imam ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman to accompany him in the top order, and an experienced middle-order boasting the likes of Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed, not to mention talented left-hander Haris Sohail as well, Pakistan has a powerful batting unit at their disposal.


The worry lies in the misfiring bowling line-up, which comes as a surprise considering the side has traditionally been renowned for their bowling. The bowlers were smashed all over the park in the recently concluded England tour, shockingly conceding 300+ totals in four consecutive ODIs. Though veteran Wahab Riaz makes a comeback after two years, Pakistan would be praying their bowlers click in the World Cup. Besides bowling, their poor fitness and lacklustre fielding, as evidenced from their England tour, will likely plague their World Cup campaign . Stay tuned for Part 2 as we analyse the other sides! While you’re here, check out FairPlay999. Ranking among the top Indian cricket betting sites, FairPlay999 is a safe and reliable platform for all your online cricket betting needs. As a special treat for new users, we’re offering an exciting 100% Welcome Bonus. Hurry up and join in on the fun!


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