The 13th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is set to get underway in India on Thursday.
The world’s top 10 cricket teams will compete for the most prestigious prize in white-ball cricket amidst what is sure to be incredible fanfare in the cricket-loving nation of India.
Aside from the world champions tag, there is also $4million up for grabs for the team that emerges victorious from the final at the epic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Here, we take a look at five favourites to lift the trophy in India on November 19.
The five-time world champions are consistently a force to be reckoned with at the global showpiece.
With the help of some of the legends of the game like Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, the Baggy Greens won three World Cups on the bounce from 1999 to 2007, putting a stranglehold on white-ball cricket.
Fast forward to 2023 and the men from Down Under are in decent form once again. They have won eight out of their last 11 ODI series, including two 3-0 whitewashes of England and New Zealand.
Australia were recently beaten 3-2 in a series in South Africa, where they blooded several fringe players to build squad depth for the World Cup.
However, they were ruthless with the willow, with run rates touching 15 an over for some periods thanks to the likes of veteran David Warner.
Come their first match against hosts India, Pat Cummins’ men will undoubtedly be firing on all cylinders.
Odds to win the Cricket World Cup:
The defending champions have shown a mixed bag of form since their incredible 2019 triumph.
England have won just six out of the 13 ODI series – with two draws – since that fateful day at Lord’s.
However, England did manage clean sweeps of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while also navigating a tricky series in Bangladesh 2-1 at the start of the year.
More recently, they defeated perennial World Cup contenders New Zealand 3-1 in England.
Personnel-wise, England welcomed talisman Ben Stokes back to the fold for the series against the Black Caps – and he announced himself with a stunning knock of 182 off 124 balls.
Dawid Malan, the player of England’s most recent series, has been in fine form with the bat.
Veteran spinner Moeen Ali, who also found form, will be key in Indian conditions.
India play an incredible amount of cricket. The host nation has featured in no less than 19 ODI series since the last World Cup, winning 13 of them.
Perhaps more importantly, they’ve won six out of the seven home series.
They also have a good World Cup record on home soil, making two semi-finals and then winning the tournament in 2011.
On that fateful day in Mumbai, MS Dhoni guided his team to their second World Cup title with a man-of-the-match performance in the final.
Indian supporters will hope strike bowler Mohammed Siraj continues his red-hot form.
The quick picked up a career-best 6/21 against Sri Lanka in September, taking his average to a miserly 19.11. In addition, runs are flowing for batters Virat Kohli and Shubman Gill.
New Zealand 🇳🇿
Somehow, the Black Caps always find a way to get over the line.
Rarely talked up as pre-tournament favourites, New Zealand still have a proud World Cup record.
They have reached no less than six semi-finals and finished runners-up at the last two editions.
However, what will be a concern is their recent form on the subcontinent.
Adjusting to life without Kane Williamson has proved difficult, as New Zealand managed only one victory in eight matches in the recent tours of India and Pakistan, where they lost 3-0 and 4-1 respectively.
This was followed by another series loss in England.
Opening bat Devon Conway has provided a ray of hope for the Kiwis, scoring three centuries in his last nine outings.
All-rounder Rachin Ravindra has also proved quite a find, with the left-arm spinner picking up regular wickets and contributing with the bat.
South Africa 🇿🇦
The four-time semi-finalists have lost just one of their last five ODI series – going down 2-1 in India – and may have peaked just at the right time.
After a trying start to Australia’s visit, the hosts rattled off three impressive wins in a row to seal the series.
Captain Temba Bavuma has been leading from the front, averaging an impressive 79.62 in his last 10 innings thanks to three centuries.
Veteran David Miller is back to his bludgeoning best and Heinrich Klaasen is fresh off a sensational 174 off 83.
Spin twins Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, both of whom picked up key wickets against Australia, will be key on the Indian pitches.
The long-suffering Proteas are relishing another chance to exorcise the many, many Cricket World Cup demons – and this may prove the last chance for some of the team’s veterans.