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ZODIAC

Found 216 results

  1. Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. But, despite their troubles in recent past, their 15-man squad is not the one to be underestimated. The power-packed entertainers like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell are more than capable of winning the matches for their side single-handedly. The two super stars will also have adequate backing from swashbuckling Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Darren Bravo. © Reuters The Windies also have the luxurious services of Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse and Carlos Brathwaite at their disposal. These men will not only provide depth to their batting, but are more than capable of giving the ball a fair tonk. The pace attack, that has been their weapon of mass destruction in the early years, looks intimidating and dangerous with the availability of Shannon Gabriel, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach and Sheldon Cottrell. On paper at least, the Windies do look like a side that can not only cause problems to the tournament favourites, but can also potentially reach the final. But, for that to happen, the following individuals must step up to the task: Chris Gayle © Reuters One of the most feared and a destructive opening batsman, Chris Gayle has undoubtedly lived up to his reputation as the 'Universe Boss'. The Jamaican marauder has been a force to reckon with in the limited-overs format, clearing the fence and tormenting the opposition bowlers at will. He might have struggled with his running between the wickets, but who cares about taking singles when you can send almost every ball in the stratosphere. A vital cog in the batting line-up for the Windies, the 39-year-old powerhouse has been in ominous form since his return to the ODI set-up after seven months in February this year. In his last five ODI innings, the left-hander has scored 424 runs including two hundreds and as many fifties. And, the fact that the Jamaican marauder is set to retire from ODIs after the World Cup further makes him a threat for the opposition. Andre Russell © Reuters While Gayle has reigned supreme at the top, Andre Russell has carved his own niche to become a key member in West Indies' middle-order. A sweet timer of the ball with enough experience to mould his innings, the 31-year-old's versatility to literally bat anywhere in the middle-order gives his team that extra cushion they'll need in crunch situations. But, that's not the only thing Russell is good at. Sprinting in to deliver his medium-paced deliveries, the right-arm bowler can also be more than handy with the ball. His cunning variations and testing lengths can give the Windies vital breakthroughs in dire situations. For the Windies to launch a stern title charge this year, Russell must carry on his fine form from the IPL to England & Wales. Shimron Hetmyer © Reuters One of the youngest members in the squad, Shimron Hetmyer might lack experience going into the World Cup, but make no mistake, this young gun is more than capable of running away with the game single-handedly. His brutal hitting abilities saw him rapidly gain a reputation as one of most destructive batsmen in recent times. Though the Windies batting line-up has numerous hard-hitting batsmen aiding their cause, but the presence of Hetmyer further bolsters what appears to be a solid middle-order. The youngster has already proven how devastating he can be against the quicks, but negating spin has proved to be a challenge for him in the recent past. With the Windies gunning for the title this year, Hetmyer will surely be expected to come to the party. Jason Holder © Reuters Tasked with the responsibility of leading the side at the age of just 23, Jason Holder might have taken his time, but he has surely emerged as the potent leader of the Windies brigade. A reliable lower middle-order batsman and a steady medium-pace bowler, Holder is also level-headed and mature - something that makes him a befitting captain. In this year's World Cup, Holder will not only be expected to deliver with ball (and bat, if required), but his decision-making abilities on the field and finding the right team balance will have on mark if the Windies intend to give their opponents a run for their money. Carlos Brathwaite © Reuters For someone who wrote himself in the history books by smashing Ben Stokes for four successive sixes to seal the World T20 title in 2016, Carlos Brathwaite has been relatively quiet in the recent years. But, the big Windies all-rounder remains key to his team's success in this year's World Cup. Owing to his explosive batting skills, Brathwaite is more than capable of providing the final flourish to West Indies in the death overs. His hitting abilities can help his team get that extra leeway over their opponents, while his innings can make all the difference in a crunch match. When it comes to bowling, Brathwaite might not be the West Indies' go-to wicket-taking option, but his medium-paced deliveries surely provide them an extra bowling option.
  2. The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli left for England in pursuit of their third World Cup title a couple of days ago from the Mumbai International Airport. With a balanced blend of a talented batting order and a fierce bowling attack, the Men in Blue are going into the ICC World Cup 2019 as one of the favourites. The 25-year-old Hardik Pandya comes in as an important part of the roster with his abilities to bowl in the death overs and bat in the middle to lower order for Team India, a segment of the game, they usually suffer in. Ever since making his ODI debut against New Zealand in October 2016, Pandya has quickly climbed the success ladder with the national cricket squad and has seen successful in all formats of the game. So when Pandya shared this picture of his from 2011, it made us realise that time flies and how: From cheering and celebrating India's World Cup triumph in 2011 to representing #TeamIndia in World Cup 2019, it has been a dream come true ðð®ð³ #cwc19 pic.twitter.com/6fDyB29y5r — hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) May 24, 2019 “From cheering and celebrating India's World Cup triumph in 2011 to representing #TeamIndia in World Cup 2019, it has been a dream come true #cwc19,” tweeted the Indian all-rounder. Honestly, it took us a moment to figure out who amongst the lot Hardik Pandya really was. Eight years ago, the Surat-born would have been 17 years old, cheering with his friends as the MS Dhoni-led Team India lifted that trophy at Wankhede Stadium, the home stadium to the winning side and to the aspiring cricketer. Twitter reacted in disbelief when they saw the younger avatar of Pandya and wished him and the rest of the Indian cricket team good luck for their 2019 World Cup journey: Its all due to your hardwork and struggle ! Success isn't an overnight achievement, it's a result of all the hard work , late nights , early morning and practice sessions , broken hands and injured legs ! Very well deserved. Can't wait for you to be the best. All the very best.â¤ï¸ — Mahima Parmar ð»ð» (@sarcasticmaniac) May 24, 2019 All the best, Pandya!!! Bring that trophy back to Indiaðð — Mohammed Ibrahim Farooqui (@iBM1105) May 24, 2019 I see u in this World Cup As next generation Kapil Dev ur going to get us that cup — Vinð³ðª (@vinodnair68) May 24, 2019 Best 8 yr challenge. — arun (@balu9932) May 24, 2019 Comeback with glory and cupððð — Suganthibala (@Suganthibala4) May 24, 2019 Hardik broo play well and keep rocking. World Cup and other records will come to our own way..... So leave all unwanted tensions and pressure... Just play the cricket — ANAND NAIR (@ANANDNA88924229) May 24, 2019 Pandya has played in a total of 45 ODIs in his career during which he has made 731 runs with a superb strike rate of 116.59. 2019 began roughly for the young cricketer due to a recurring lower back injury and a controversial episode of a talk show due to which he was banned from playing the sport for a month. As soon as Pandya returned to the field, he skills and talent took him to the top of his career and an extremely successful season of the Indian Premier League which ended with his team, Mumbai Indians winning their record fourth title, brought back the lost confidence. Here's hoping that Hardik Pandya and the Men in Blue bring home the trophy.
  3. The ICC World Cup 2019 begins in less than a week and fans from all over the world have begun to touch base on the English soil to watch some of their favourite cricketers take on each other in the quest for the greatest honour in the world of the sport, the World Cup trophy, which currently rests with Aaron Finch's Team Australia. In what has come to become more of a ritual than a rivalry between the neighbouring cricketing giants in India and Pakistan, the sledging between the fans from either countries has already begun. Chants of “Mauka Mauka” for example are on the rise yet again. Eagerly awaiting #MaukaMauka series during the #ICCWorldCup2019 @StarSportsIndia @cricketworldcup — Aditya Dharmadhikari (@AddyDharma) May 23, 2019 Having said that, there also exists a feeling of mutual respect and love amongst the people from both the countries for the players who albeit wear different jerseys, are considered the best in the business due to their superhuman efforts in the field through the years. One such fan from Pakistan, namely Shehzad Ul-Hassan, decided to show his affection for the former Indian skipper and veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni by engraving the athlete's name on a green Pakistani jersey. Thankyou @TPLUS for making my day... ðð@msdhoni pic.twitter.com/nsscagDLWw — Shehzad-Ul-Hassan (@shehzad441) May 23, 2019 Such gestures only suggest that regardless of whatever turmoils the two nations share on the political front, there is good in the common people like you and I, who rise above hate to appreciate greatness in the game that we love, regardless of the colours that the athletes wear on their uniform. As soon as Ul-Hassan uploaded this image online, MS Dhoni fans from both the countries took to Twitter to show their appreciation towards his stance: COUNTRY CHANGES BUT THE LOVE OF THALA DOESN'T CHANGE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THALA — MOHAMMED IBRAHIM (@MOHAMME92244625) May 24, 2019 Cricket Has been beyond boundaries !!! MSD & Virat have a Huge Fans base in Pakistan !!! Great Sportsmans to grace the game of cricket !!! Peace N love always first !!! — à¤à¤¤à¤¿à¤« Aatif عاط٠(@meaatee) May 24, 2019 Countries knew no boundaries to love #MSD! #ForeverMSDian — B.Sharon (@BSharan1) May 24, 2019 MSD is a very unique person who rose up the ranks. That's the reason why we from CSK shower him so much of love to this cricketing living legend. Hats off to you bro for sporting dhoni jersey. — C R SHANKAR (@CRSHANKAR3) May 25, 2019 Bhai un logo kya pta hum pakistani Ms dhoni ko kitne chahte hain. #LovesFromPakistan ðµð° — Msd/Arijit/Muntashirâ (@itx_thakursahab) May 24, 2019 Although, the Men in Blue have had the upper hand against Team Pakistan when it comes to World Cup duels, as they have one every single game, the level of excitement throughout the stadium never seems to dim even a little whenever these titans clash. India and Pakistan are scheduled to lock horns on 16th June 2019.
  4. Coming from a small village of Kheri Kalan in the suburb of Faridabad, Sargar 'The Sher' Narwat is undefeated in the super welterweight category and boasts a record of 9 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw with a knockout rate of 30%. One to consider winning and losing is part of the game Narwat is a believer of continuous training and constantly putting in his best effort in practice. “It is only because of my dedication and passion for boxing that I am undefeated right now,” he says. In his journey to national and eventually international glory, Narwat has received a lot of support from nation, especially ever since one of his amateur bouts went viral on social media and people began to take notice of the pugilist. “I considered myself to be extremely lucky to have the support of so many boxing fans of India. While it adds a lot of pressure on me to perform better inside the ring, it also gives me great honour to represent my country in grand, international events.” View this post on Instagram When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less.” @megaboxing_in @royalsportspromotions @nitesh_narwat @lzpromotions @ankitnarwatphotography @siddhantkapoor_photography #theshernarwat #sagarnarwatboxer #india #crossfit #crossfitboys #backontrack #crazyfrmypassion #usaboxing #bigaim #hardwork #fitnessmotivation #fitnessmodel #athlete #strength #beliveinhardwork #boxingtraning #boxinglegend #boxinghype #boxeo #boxinglife #boxinggym #knockout #sport #ko #taekwondo #kickboxing #jiujitsu #muaythai #fightnight A post shared by Sagar Narwat ð®ð³ (@sagarnarwatboxer) on May 5, 2019 at 7:18am PDT Ever since turning pro, Narwat has played in several Boxing leagues in India, Super Boxing League being one of his first. “During my tenure with SBL, one of my fights was against a great Army boxer who had won a lot of professional matches in the past while I was a complete nobody at the time,” Narwat recalls. After dodging his massive swings and throwing timely punches while constantly trying to calm my nerves, I was finally able to beat him. That is when I got the name 'The Sher'”. “I love this name that the boxing brethren has given me and I hope to continue to do justice to it in the future.” Currently, Narwat is under contract with Mega Boxing, India's first Professional Boxing Intellectual Property, which is recognised by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) with an aim to position professional boxing as a premium sporting entertainment entity and under the guidance of the world class coaching the organisation provides, is training to contest for the World Championship title in super welterweight category that currently rests with Mexico's Jaime Munguia. View this post on Instagram @lzpromotions and @sagarnarwatboxer are pleased to announce an USA management contract. Super Boxing League Middleweight Champion Sagar will continue to fight in the SBL. He brings a perfect nine fight unbeaten Professional record, ranked #1 Super Welterweight in India and an impressive amateur background with competition wins all over the world! @proboxtko @lzpromotions are pleased to be working with Sagar, the SBL @billdosanjh and India Boxing. Taking Boxing and Sports to #1 Globally Together #ð®ð³ GTown #boxing #news #jat #jaat #life #theshernarwat #sagarnarwatboxer #bullet #delhi #usa A post shared by Sagar Narwat ð®ð³ (@sagarnarwatboxer) on Feb 22, 2019 at 8:06am PST Narwat sees a lot of potential in the younger kids of his village as boxers, and has taken upon himself to train them to one day become world class fighters. “Every day, I train the kids of my village both in the morning and the evening. Kids in my village have always wanted to box. Back when I was their age, we have no boxing rings or academies. We used to get together at any 'chowki' and begin sparring. If under such untrained conditions, boxers from Kheri Kalan have gone to do so well. Imagine what can happen if they are trained professionally!” View this post on Instagram @singhvijender @pardeepkharera1 @roshan5256 @sachin_dekwal_official #team #Roshan A post shared by Sagar Narwat ð®ð³ (@sagarnarwatboxer) on Dec 14, 2017 at 7:57am PST Even though, the better half of Narwat's day is spent working with the kids, his vision of becoming the greatest boxer in the world remains unshaken. “I train the young fighters every morning and evening to the best of my abilities and I train myself in between the sessions, in the afternoon.” “Boxing is such a game that the day your training gets flawed and you stop giving your 100% in the ring, the next aspiring boxer will replace you within a split second. Even if I do not have a match scheduled for the next day or the next week, my training continues with the same intensity.” He finally urges the upcoming boxers to never settle. “If you've won a match, great. Move on to the next one where the stakes are higher. People get way too relaxed after winning a bout. they become casual about their training, the food they eat. Never be satisfied with what you have achieved till now, always reach for the stars.”
  5. Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, South Africa's 15-man squad is a healthy composition of youth and experience. From batting to bowling, the Proteas have a lot of options to choose from but the key will be to find the right team balance to launch a strong title charge in England & Wales. © Reuters The availability of Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Du Plessis, David Miller, JP Duminy and Rassie van der Dussen in their squad allows the Proteas to forge a strong batting line-up. On the other hand, the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi should make up for a competitive bowling attack. When it comes to all-rounders, the expertise of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris will also come in handy for South Africa. On paper, the Proteas look solid but a lot will depend on their key players if the Du Plessis brigade aims to break the duck this year. Quinton de Kock © Reuters Arguably one of the most destructive openers in the world, Quinton de Kock needs no introduction to hitting the ball hard and long. The left-handed batsman has made the opening slot his own on the back of consistent performances for South Africa over the years. Going into the World Cup, he will surely be South Africa's first-choice for the opening slot, while Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram will be seen fighting to be his partner. Going by his form, De Kock is coming off a successful IPL campaign with Mumbai Indians (MI) who romped to their fourth title earlier this year. De Kock was key to their success while batting at the top and the Proteas will hope he carries his fine form into the World Cup. Given his batting might, De Kock will be bestowed with the responsibility of getting his team to a flying start and then build on his innings to propel South Africa to a big total (or chase down a target). Faf du Plessis © Reuters One of the most experienced candidates in the squad, Faf du Plessis will be seen leading the charge for South Africa in the World Cup. The 34-year-old has proved his credentials as a potent leader with favourable results for his side over the years. And, in England & Wales, the Pretoria-born cricketer will once again be expected to lead from the front to aid his team's cause. Apart from rallying his troops and making decisive calls on the field, Du Plessis has another key role in the South African side which is chasing the elusive title this year. Du Plessis' experience and craftsmanship with the bat will see him stabilising the middle-order. And, in case of a batting collapse, Du Plessis can surely come in handy to hold fort at one end. Chris Morris © Reuters Chris Morris might have been included in the South African squad as a last-minute replacement for injured Anrich Nortje, but that shouldn't overshadow his capabilities as a proven all-rounder. The 32-year-old possesses the pace and death-bowling skills that adds teeth to the Proteas' bowling attack, while his explosive batting provides the much-needed depth to their batting. Going into the World Cup, Morris will be seen providing adequate support to the likes of Rabada, Steyn and Ngidi in the middle overs. And, his role as a deadly finisher should also help the Proteas to accelerate the innings in the death overs. Kagiso Rabada © Reuters In recent years, no other fast bowler has managed to capture the imagination of fans the way Kagiso Rabada has. At the age of 23, Rabada has already established himself as one of the most consistent fast bowlers in the world. Tipped to be a South African great, Rabada has topped the ICC's bowler rankings in both Tests and ODIs, making him South Africa's key figures at this year's World Cup. Clocking speeds of 150kmph with a languid action, Rabada's ability to swing the ball both ways and delivering yorkers with pinpoint accuracy makes him Du Plessis' go-to man to get a breakthrough in dire situations. If that's not enough, Rabada's scintillating form (25 wickets in 12 IPL matches this year) further makes him a deadly weapon for the Proteas. Imran Tahir © Reuters Aged 40, Pakistan-born South African spinner Imran Tahir might seem old, but the age-factor takes a backseat every time you throw a ball at him. Known for his biggest weapon - the googly, Tahir has earned a reputation for being able to dictate the middle-periods of games while providing vital breakthroughs to his side. And, over the years, Tahir has proved to be a valuable weapon for the Proteas. A spinner whose celebratory run lasts longer than most fast-bowler's run-ups, Tahir has undeniably established himself as one of the best limited-overs leg-spinners of his time. Playing his last ODI tournament, Tahir carries his brilliant form from the IPL to the World Cup. Taking 26 wickets (most in IPL this season) and almost propelling Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the title, Tahir could very well turn out to be the deciding factor for South Africa in the World Cup.
  6. Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. But, under the leadership of Brendon McCullum, the Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Irrespective of their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand has been in good form and are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. Their 15-man squad is comprised of proven match-winners who are more than capable of powering them to the all-important final of the ICC spectacle. In Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the Kiwis have a deadly seam-bowling combination that is potent enough to trouble opposition batsmen on the seaming surfaces of England & Wales. The spin-bowling department is bolstered with the presence of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi - a duo that has proved its mettle in the past. © Reuters When it comes to the batting line-up, Martin Guptill is an obvious choice for the opening slot, while the likes of Colin Munro and Tom Latham could be seen fighting for the other spot at the top. Captain Williamson is a preferred option at No. 3 and the availability of experienced Ross Taylor is likely to bring stability to their middle-order. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham and Munro - whose presence doesn't just bolster their batting, but also add teeth to the bowling department. In the last edition, Guptill was the leading run-getter for the Kiwis with 547 runs, including two hundreds and a fifty, in nine matches. On the other hand, Boult was their leading wicket-taker with 22 scalps and an impressive economy of under 5 in nine matches. Going into the mega event, Williamson will need to rally his troops and ensure they click as a unit when they begin their campaign against Sri Lanka on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.
  7. The buzz around the ICC World Cup 2019 has already started with the first day of warm-up games taking place yesterday, during which South Africa won their match against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan were able to defeat Pakistan in an action-packed run chase. Sure, these games are really exciting but when it comes to the cricket World Cup, the rivalry between India and Pakistan through the years and decades, always comes to mind. And even though the cricketers from both sides have been giving the same politically correct answers throughout history, people still can't get enough of it. In the pre-World Cup, Captains' Press Conference at the Film Shed in London, a reporter asked Virat Kohli and Sarfaraz Ahmed a question about the kind of pressure the 'India-Pakistan' rivalry puts them under. Kohli replied with a very diplomatic answer. He said “India versus Pakistan is always a very anticipated match… but if you ask the players, it is very different from how the fans look at the game compared to how the players play it. Yes, you feel the anticipation and the excitement of the fans when you enter the stadium but when you enter the field, it is professional.” “For us, it is just another game that you need to win as a team. I am sure all the cricketers from both sides feel that as soon as you start playing the game, it eventually is a game of bat and ball, and that's all you need to focus on.” Sounds like a good answer to us. Top marks. Now it was time for the Pakistan captain to answer the same question as the reporters and the camera turned to Sarfaraz Ahmed, expecting him to say something. And like a cunning student who used to wait for the rest of the students to say the answer, Ahmed said: “My answer is also the same. Nothing different. No difference.” Now, we are not making fun of the Pakistan captain and his response, that has all the potential in the world to become a great meme, by the way. via GIPHY No, speaking English is secondary of being able to play a great game of cricket and being of use to your side that is in pursuit of a win against a rival team and the Pak skipper has done his fair share of work to bring his side to the stage they are on today. Full credit to him. The anticipated World Cup clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled to take place on 16th June 2019.
  8. Ever since they made their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have managed to stick around the quadrennial event. Their best finish at a World Cup, however, came in the 2015 edition, during which they reached the quarterfinals whilst also defeating England once in the group stages. Their journey only came to an end, once they locked horns against neighbouring rivals, India in the quarterfinals. Heading into the ICC spectacle, the Tigers seem to be a well-balanced team and their fierce bowling attack might be their strong point. Here are the five key players of the Bangladeshi team the world needs to look out for: 1. Mashrafe Mortaza © Reuters Captain Mashrafe Mortaza has to be the most valuable cricketer in the Bangladeshi lineup. The amount of experience he has gathered in the past 18 years ever since he made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2001, will come to good use here. It is under his leadership that the talent-laden yet fragile team has done whatever good that they have in international cricket. The right-arm pacer has been a part of 209 ODI matches and has taken 265 wickets with a moderate economy of 4.82. While the fast bowler's numbers have become worse with time and he missed out on a couple of matches thanks to multiple knee injuries, his presence in the roster has to do a lot with his ability to guide the younger players. 2. Shakib Al Hasan © Reuters The ODI tri-series between Bangladesh, Ireland and the West Indies not only saw the team make a comeback to their form after being dominated by New Zealand in February but also saw the rise of Shakib Al Hasan to claim the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings for all-rounders. Having played in 198 ODIs throughout his career, Hasan has scored 5717 runs and has taken 249 wickets too. In 2019 so far, he has played three ODIs, hit 140 runs and has taken two wickets. 3. Rubel Hossain © Reuters The 29-year-old pacer is known for his ability to limit the batsmen from putting up big numbers, especially during batting power plays and death overs. The presence of Hossain in the team gives Bangladesh the high pace that they otherwise lack. Getting alongside Mustafizur Rahman, he can produce some great bowling spells late in the game. Ever since he debuted for his team as a teenager, a decade ago, Rubel has played in 97 ODI games and picked up 123 wickets in the process and is currently ranked at the 63rd spot in ICC Rankings for ODI bowlers. 4. Mahmudullah Riyad © Reuters After Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah Riyad is expected to do wonders both as a batsman and with the ball. Due to the lack of good hitters in the sixth and the seventh spot in the Bangladeshi batting order, Riyad might feel a certain amount of pressure while heading towards the crease if the batsmen ahead of him fail to provide. He has played 175 ODIs till date in which he has made 3757 runs while also taking 76 wickets. IN 2019, Mahmudullah has only participated in six games, during which he has made 120 runs and scalped just one wicket. 5. Tamim Iqbal © Reuters Yet another veteran with World Cup experience in his pocket. After making his debut in 2007, Iqbal was called for the World Cup 2007 and then made a return for the 2015 World Cup. As a vital cog of the Tigers' batting order, Iqbal has spent more than a decade's worth of time on the crease. In 193 ODI games, Iqbal has scored a staggering 6636 runs and is having a great 2019 season during which he has scored 186 runs in just seven innings which includes two half-tons and an 80-run-performance.
  9. If you haven't grown up watching the mystical city of Agrabah and imagining what would it feel like to have a flying carpet as your ride and a genie as your best friend, then you have clearly been living on another planet. Guy Ritchie's much-hyped millennial adaptation of 'Aladdin' finally released today and the reviews and reactions are pouring in. Fans were obviously concerned if their favourite childhood tale will be over-glorified or if it would survive the hype, but looks like everyone is pretty elated with what they watched. #Aladdin !!!!!!!! 10/10 I can't say enough good things about it. Literally my favorite childhood movie recreated thus far!!! ðð — brea varnell (@breauhhh_8) May 24, 2019 I was so worried that they were going to ruin my favorite childhood movie but the live-action version was EVERYTHING!ðð #Aladdin — its24karat (@its24karat) May 24, 2019 I've never smiled as much in a movie in my life until I watched #Aladdin. It met my expectations and passed them. This is the best Disney live action they've done hands down. ð — Alan (@GustheBuz23) May 24, 2019 From Will Smith's acting to Naomi Campbells' screen presence and even the background score, fans are thrilled to re-live their childhood on the big screen. The Aladdin remake had effects from out of this world, the soundtrack was incredible, Naomi Scott's Speechless gave me goosebumps. Definitely a masterpiece of a remake, the best remake Disney has done thus far. Let's see if The Lion King can top this. #aladdin — Bader (@26bloushi04) May 24, 2019 Leaving #Aladdin and: • Will Smith makes a FANTASTIC Genie. • Naomi Scott is our new supreme. • Mena Massoud's million dollar smile can power all of Agrabah. — Julius (@jbridge4th) May 24, 2019 They actually find a way to shoehorn some white people into #Aladdin. I'm honestly kind of impressed. — Unnamed Prince of Dorne (@thelindsayellis) May 23, 2019 In case you still don't know if you should book your tickets or not, here's something that will convince you. Loved, loved #Aladdin #WillSmith is absolutely delicious and does honour Robin Williams legacy ð§‍âï¸ð — Cremildaâ° (@cremildatwit) May 24, 2019 Do yourself a favour and watch this over the weekend.
  10. Ever since winning the 2015 World Cup, the Australian cricket team has found themselves amidst controversies, bad reputation and spiralling form. The suspension of two of their finest cricketers in Steve Smith and David Warner in the infamous sandpaper gate in South Africa last year, the resignation of Darren Lehmann after the news of a toxic environment in the dressing room broke out and Cricket Australia being reprimanded for forcing the athletes to “win at all costs”, are only some of the problems that shook the core of cricket Down Under in the past year or so. Nonetheless, Australia looked like their old self during their tour to India when after losing two ODIs, they made an unbelievable comeback to win the next three and the series too, and they achieved this feat without Warner and Smith. Now that they are here, they might just be able to give major teams like England and India a run for their money if they want to take away the title from the reigning champions. Here's a list of five Australian key players this World Cup: 1. David Warner © Reuters Let's not kid ourselves here. Despite being suspended for a year, David Warner is probably the best batsman on the Australian roster right now and has enough skills to single-handedly take Australia to a respectable finish this World Cup. Making appearances in 106 ODIs for his country, Warner has scored a total of 4343 runs. Being one of five players with prior World Cup experience, Warner starting the batting order with skipper Aaron Finch will help the team be better. 2. Aaron Finch © Reuters Being the captain of the reigning championship team brings added pressure on Aaron Finch's shoulders. However, keeping in mind his new found form in the ODI format against Pakistan surely gives him a sense of confidence in his leadership. Although Finch had a great opening partner in Usman Khawaja, Warner certainly is an upgrade and will allow Finch to settle in and play in a more composed manner. In his career, the skipper has played in 109 ODIs and scored 4052 runs and has had a great year till now, putting up 634 runs in 13 ODIs. 3. Pat Cummins © Reuters With Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood sitting out of the competition due to injuries, Pat Cummins will be leading the bowling attack with the new ball with which he has been absolutely deadly, bringing in variations in his speed, swing and seam. Having played in just six ODIs, Cummins' bowling performance has been exceptional as he has bagged 17 wickets while giving away a moderate 4.39 runs per over. His middle to lower order batting prowess also adds to the Australian batting muscle and could be useful if his side finds itself in wicket-trouble. 4. Glenn Maxwell © Reuters Be it T20s or ODIs, when the captain of the fielding side sees Glenn Maxwell walk up to the pitch and practice his big shots in the air, he ought to send a couple of his boys to the boundary. Such is the terror of this 30-year-old athlete. In the bowling department, Maxwell is ready to take the charge for the spinners alongside Adam Zampa. His strike rate during the previous World Cup was a scary 182 and has scored 2,700 in 100 matches that he has been a part of throughout his career. In 2019, Maxwell has scored 458 runs in 12 ODI matches. 5. Mitchell Starc © Reuters One of the scariest bowlers of the cricketing world, Mitchell Starc is bound to leave a mark in England and Wales this World Cup. Even though he played his previous ODI in November 2018, his ability to deliver the yorker along with enough skills to hold on to the crease as a lower-order batsman make him a perfect fit for the Australians. Starc has played 75 ODIs and picked 145 scalps including five mind-boggling 5-wicket hauls. He also happens to be the only Australian bowler to make the squad for both 2015 and 2019.
  11. So the elections are over and the results are out, great. We now move on to the next big event marked in our calendars, maybe even bigger than the voting day for some of us - the ICC World Cup 2019 that begins 30th May 2019 - with all the qualified teams now present in England, trying to get in the groove with the warm-up games scheduled to begin today. Sarfaraz Khan's Pakistan Team had arrived in England exactly a month ago for their bilateral ODI series against the hosts, during which they got absolutely obliterated by Eoin Morgan's side, losing all four matches the two teams played. On the other hand, Virat Kohli's Men in Blue left for the venue from the Mumbai airport on 22nd May, after a strenuous two month long season of the Indian Premier League, which ended with the Indian vice captain, Rohit Sharma lifting the championship trophy for the Mumbai Indians for a record fourth time. Jet set to go ââ#CWC19 #TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/k4V9UC0Zao — BCCI (@BCCI) May 21, 2019 And yes, a lot of players on the Indian roster and the members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are concerned about the fatigue Indian athletes are feeling because of the IPL and the lack of time to recuperate, our major concern is about the matchup between India and Pakistan which falls on 16th June 2019, according to the World Cup fixtures. After the unfortunate Pulwama attack that took place on this year's Valentine's Day, during which numerous CRPF Jawans were killed in a terror attack planned and executed by the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, BCCI urged the International Cricket Council to “sever ties with the nation from which terrorism emanates.” © Reuters ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar, however, refused to do so whilst saying that he did not enjoy such authority over the Pakistan because of their 'Permanent' status in the Council. But ever since, both the Board and the fans of Indian cricket seemed to have forgotten about the whole chapter. Was it because of the elections? Was it because of the IPL? We do not know. © Reuters Remember, the final decision of forfeiting the match against Pakistan lies completely at the hands of the Indian cricket board. Letting go of a single match, during the initial rounds to make their protest heard is all well and good but what if the two teams meet again during the latter half of the tournament or maybe even the World Cup final? Is the BCCI willing to roll over the dream of skipper Virat Kohli of winning his first World Cup as the leader and the dream of MS Dhoni of lifting the trophy one more time before retiring, just to prove that one point? Alternatively, will Team India just forget about Pulwama and all the hue and cry the board created about boycotting the neighbouring rivals and play the match like any other?
  12. A couple of weeks ago, the Indian Premier League finished on a high with Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians winning the championship for a record fourth time. Lasith Malinga's final over heroics and an unpredictable bowling spell not only shocked Chennai Super Kings but also saved the match for the MIPaltan. With the stakes so high and the entire season on the line, players, team owners and fans from both sides were sitting at the edge of their seats during the final moments of the game. We even saw the MI team owner, Nita Ambani, chant her famous mantra just seconds before Malinga bowled that slower final delivery that won them the title. Curious as we were, we got in touch with Ambani's pandit, Chandra Shekar Sharma, to know whether the team and its owners received some supernatural assistance in the game and here's what he said: “It was a perfect stage for an IPL final with an intense feeling about the fate of the game, but I knew that Mumbai (Indians) had the potential to handle such a situation.” “We do the 'Chandi paath' ahead of every match and yesterday, we performed it during the entire match, until Malinga's final ball. It is lord Durga's 'paath' and is performed in order to enhance one's luck. It gives you the power and the energy to do something in the way that it was meant to.” So, it was obvious that we had to contact Pandit Sharma and know his thoughts on Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team and their ICC World Cup 2019 journey, which begins 5th June 2019 against South Africa. Here's what he said to the MensXP Hindi team about India's chances of winning their third World Cup: "The expectation of winning the World Cup 2019 is very high if the Indian cricket team's performance, team bonding and planets and constellations are high.” "This colour is absolutely right for the Indian team with blue jerseys. This color is a symbol of the sky, which has no limit. It is very lucky for Team India,” he added. However, he clarified that the talks of planets and constellations are mostly for boosting the athletes' motivation and morale and that there is nothing more important than the Indian cricketers' hard work and efforts that they put in all year long which results in their success internationally. The athletes (and the fans) are free to choose to believe in it, or not. Pandit ji also put up a major disclaimer: “Do not take my words as a prophecy.” You can read the full interview, here.
  13. Making their second appearance at the ICC World Cup this May, the Afghanistan cricket team is full of surprises with young talents taking the competition to another level altogether. Even though the Afghanistan Cricket Board shockingly sacked the experienced captain, Asghar Afghan less than a month before the tournament began, they still have a lot of talent in the squad. Here is a list of the five key players of the team who can make a difference during their World Cup journey: Mohammad Shahzad © Reuters The righty wicketkeeper-batsman, Mohammad Shahzad is an explosive batsman who can change the momentum of the game in a hurry. Having made his ODI debut a decade ago in a game against the Netherlands, Shahzad has scored a total of five centuries and 13 half-centuries. Opening the batting order to Afghanistan, a lot will be riding on Shahzad's shoulders with the hopes of providing his side with a flying start, especially under pressure against big teams like India and England. Rashid Khan © Facebook/Rashid Khan One of the top all-rounders of international cricket, Rashid Khan made a staggering start to his ODI career against Zimbabwe in 2015 and has never looked back since. Till date, Khan has played 57 ODIs and picked 123 wickets in his relatively young journey in international cricket with an amazing economy rate of just 3.90 runs per over. Mohammad Nabi © Reuters The most experienced player on the Afghan roster in ODI cricket, Nabi has participated in 111 matches and has scored a total of 2565 runs with the career best individual score of 116 runs. Coming in to bat in the middle of the batting order Nabi is accustomed to playing under pressure and leading his side to victory. In the bowling department, Nabi has bagged 118 scalps with a good economy rate of 4.25 runs per over. Alongside Rashid Khan, Nabi will be leading the Afghanistan bowling attack as well as act as a last resort on the crease, in case things go south for the team. Gulbadin Naib © Reuters Being promoted to the role of the captain of the Afghan side, Gulbadin Naib was put under the microscope. The selectors clearly feel that Naib's medium-fast bowling would fit perfectly with the conditions of the English pitches. Naib is also believed to be comfortable batting on any position across the order which is an added benefit of having him as the decision maker of the squad. Ever since his debut in 2011, Naib has scored 807 runs off 52 matches with a personal best of 82*. As far as his bowling is concerned, the skipper has 40 wickets under his name. Hazratullah Zazai © Twitter/Hazratullah Zazai Making his World Cup debut, the 21-year-old batsman, Hazratullah Zazai is famous for hitting big shots and has come to be known as “the Afghan Chris Gayle”. His the six one-dayers that he has played, Zazai has scored 155 runs with the career best of 67 and a strike rate of 106.89. Opening the Afghan innings alongside Mohammad Shahzad, Zazai may turn out to be that X factor that allows the team to create upsets by defeating at least a couple of top-tier teams.
  14. MS Dhoni is too old to still be playing for Team India. He can no longer hit the ball at will. The finisher that once enthralled fans is finished now. Just look at the number of deliveries he eats up in his innings. He's surely a liability for the Indian team. Dhoni is just occupying a Team India spot which can very well be used to accommodate a player that actually deserves it. Surely, we can't win the ICC World Cup with Dhoni in the side. All these comments haunted the former Indian captain in 2018, making it almost imperative for Dhoni to call it quits. But, there is a reason why this man is called 'Captain Cool'. The Jharkhand cricketer is one of those rare breeds of cricketers who thrive under pressure. You knock them down, they get right back up. You push them back, they come forward with rediscovered strength. For someone who remains India's most popular and definitely the most scrutinised cricketer (barring Sachin Tendulkar), Dhoni was out of form and sorts before he travelled to Australia for the three-match ODI series earlier this January. With the critics watching his every move, waiting for him to fall, right before embarking on 'we hate Dhoni' bandwagon; the 37-year-old had everything to lose - his career, place in the side and, more importantly, a chance to play the 2019 ICC World Cup. © Reuters But, in the past four months, Dhoni has not only managed to silence his critics with a brilliant showing, but has rightly made the World Cup spot his own. More recently, his exploits in the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) almost powered Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to their fourth title, if it wasn't for a rampaging Mumbai Indians (MI) brigade. Apart from a rediscovered form in his batting, Dhoni has so many other roles in the team which makes him a vital cog in India's dreams of capturing their third World Cup title. Here's a look at what makes Dhoni a key ingredient in India's title aspirations at this year's World Cup: Middle-Order Stability © Reuters Unlike the T20 version, the ODI format is an extension that cannot be dictated just by hammering the ball out of the park. It demands the batsmen to rotate the strike and stitch crucial partnerships in the middle overs before launching the all mighty attack on the opposition bowlers in the final stages of the game. While India might boast of a strong batting line-up, no one is best suited to stabilise the innings than Dhoni. The Jharkhand cricketer might not be the finisher we once knew, but, as India's batting line-up evolved over the years, so did Dhoni's role. From being the most consistent finishers in the sport, Dhoni has now adapted to his new role of being a sheet anchor for the team. The new-age MSD allows the batting to revolve around him as he holds the fort at the other end. And, once the game nears its end, Dhoni swaps his role and the finisher takes over. Going into the World Cup, India have thrived on the form of their top three, with the middle-order yet to be tested, which makes Dhoni's presence furthermore crucial for Kohli's men in England & Wales. Lightning Quick Glovework © Reuters Cricket, like other sports, is a game dictated by rules and there are numerous ways in which the coaches emphasise on its importance across the globe. Technique does not end with batting alone, as noticed with wicket-keepers who are equally expected to follow certain guidelines to reap better returns. Amongst others, one major rule related to wicket-keeping or fielding, in general, is inertia. With the ball travelling to the fielder's hands at a rapid pace, a cricketer is expected to catch the ball and let it slide with the momentum for some time before resisting the motion. The idea is to absorb the momentum of the ball slowly in a bid to avoid chances of it popping out of their hands. While most wicket-keepers follow this tactic against seamers and spinners, Dhoni follows a completely different ideology. He believes in attacking the ball and throwing his hands at the stumps as quickly as possible. When he keeps to the spinners, Dhoni moves his hands towards the ball and - without moving his hand back for even a second - guides it to the stumps. So what does he achieve by doing that? As noted on one of his stumpings, a reaction time of a staggering 0.38 seconds. When it comes to run-outs, Dhoni has evolved from traditional techniques even more. While the age-old wicket-keeping technique would state that a keeper needs to be behind the stumps to collect a throw, the Jharkhand cricketer feels otherwise. Rather than standing behind, Dhoni stands right in front and flicks the ball onto the stumps using the momentum of the throw. That technique might not be listed in any rule book, but the Indian wicket-keeper has made it work over the years. Setting Up The Field © Reuters A wicket-keeper enjoys the luxury of having one of the best views on the field. And, Dhoni makes the most of it with his shrewd awareness behind the stumps. Keeping a close watch on the contest between the bowler and the batsman, Dhoni is often seen setting up the field according to the situation. Such has been his know-how of the game that Dhoni, almost like a seer, ends up predicting the shots which are yet to be played by the opposition batsmen. There have been numerous instances where, after anticipating the batsmen's shot selection, the former Indian captain's field settings have led to a breakthrough. And, that added skill-set is likely to come in handy for India in England & Wales. Guiding The Bowlers © Reuters The close proximity of a wicket-keeper with the bowlers allows them to pass on vital information about the batsman's play. If the batsman falters in footwork, the wicket-keeper is probably the first one to notice and advise the bowler to use it to his own good. And, Dhoni is no different. The Indian wicket-keeper has been the guiding force behind the rapid rise of Indian spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and YuzvendraChahal in limited-overs cricket. The stump-mic chatter from numerous ODI games India has played in the past has been a testimony to how Dhoni has helped the Indian spinners to get the better of the Proteas. "From behind the stumps, Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) always keeps advising you. He knows what the batsman is going to try. It makes it easier for us," Chahal has been quoted as saying in the past. India's Go-To-Man For DRS © Reuters With the advent of the Decision Review System (DRS), the cricket teams have an option to challenge on-field decisions. While most teams have struggled to properly use the review, India seems to be doing pretty damn well - thanks to MSD. Such has been his awareness behind the stumps that he has developed a knack for getting the review right, almost every time. His impeccable judgement on the DRS has aided Team India on multiple occasions in the past. While many of his teammates, including captain Virat Kohli, have struggled to identify a potential opportunity, Dhoni has made DRS his own forte. In the modern era of cricket, where every opportunity is crucial in the bigger scheme of things, that is one additional skill a keeper needs and Dhoni leads the way, yet again.
  15. As the ICC World Cup 2019 approaches, the Justin Langer-coached Australian cricket team has had quite the journey. With the infamous 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa leading to the suspension of two of their greatest assets in Steve Smith and David Warner, and then the struggling stint in Test cricket under the leadership of Tim Paine, the team with the most World Cup titles under their belt are surely the underdogs this year. Thanks to a couple of series between their ban being lifted and the upcoming tournament, and some added help with the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League, Warner and Smith have provided a small boost to the squad, but the Aussies' bowling lineup could become their Achilles heel, especially with Josh Hazlewood missing from the roster. © Reuters Starting out their World Cup campaign against Rashid Khan's Team Afghanistan at the Country Ground in Bristol on 1st June 2019, skipper Aaron Finch's strategy must include taking big wickers in a hurry. The loss of Jhye Richarson to injury along with the off-form of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins with the bat, Team Australia cannot afford to let the opposition score big totals in the 50-over format of the game. Keeping in mind the bad performances put up by the fast bowlers in the 5-game ODI series between Pakistan and World Cup hosts, Team England, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Coulter-Nile might not be the best bowlers for the five-time champions. Under such circumstances, Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa might be the key players for the team. Spinners with the ability to hit big shots, the duo might turn out to be crucial for a team short on firepower. Maxwell's strike rate during the previous World Cup was a scary 182 and went on to make a name for himself as one of the most terrifying batters from Down Under. © Reuters Finally, the chances of Langer's boys winning the championship look to be extremely slim. While players like Smith, Warner, Starc and Maxwell would have made for an All-Star team, they are being haunted by something or the other, be it bad form, serious injuries or simply the lack of will to win. Hopefully, under the guidance of Langer and a divergence from the 'win at all costs' mentality inside Cricket Australia, the mood inside the dressing room has brightened up a little, especially with the display of consistency by the team of lately. Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa.
  16. The newest team that will have the honour of playing against some of the greatest names in the world of cricket such as Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan and others, Afghanistan could take the ICC World Cup 2019 by storm this June. For a squad that recorded their first Test win in just their second game, albeit against Ireland, the Afghan side is full of surprises and can not be overlooked by any of the favourites, if they wish to bring home that title with them. The Afghanistan Cricket Board did create shockwaves internationally by sacking captain Asghar Afghan a month before the World Cup, with Gulbadin Naib taking the high chair. Prior to becoming the leader of the team, Naib struggled to find himself a spot in the roster. What makes his appointment a lot more interesting is the kind of comparisons that were made between Naib and Karim Janat, the younger brother of the former skipper, and he is now no more than a reserve for the final Afghan squad. A few logical reasons that come out of giving Naib the highly prestigious spot in the team are the bowling conditions of the English pitches that are in favour of the 28-year-old medium-fast bowler and his fatal off-cutters. His ability to bat on almost any position down the batting order also adds to his resume. © Reuters A negative byproduct of appointing Naib as the skipper is the weak leadership quality at the top. Inexperienced in leading a senior team, the bowler is bound to face a little bit of turbulence, at least in the beginning, just like the 21-year-old Rashid Khan did, during Afghanistan's World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe. Even though Naib will lead the team to England and Wales, the World Cup journey of Afghanistan will major depend on Khan, who is currently the world No 1 ranked one-day allrounder according to ICC Player rankings. © Facebook/Rashid Khan 21-year-old Hazratullah Zazai aka “the Afghan Chris Gayle”, has also made a name for himself for hitting big shots in his short ODI career with the national team. A fine example of his explosiveness was witnessed by the cricketing fraternity in February when he smashed the second highest T20I total, hitting 16 sixes in a 162* run innings against Ireland. Having said that, the team's batting lineup is still a bit raw and highly volatile and in dire need of some balance. This is where Rahmat Shah steps in. A consistent batsman with the highest average in the roster in both ODI and Test formats of the game. While not a lot of people are expecting Team Afghanistan to win the World Cup championship this year, they are still more than capable of ruining the chances of winning for favourites like Virat Kohli's India or Eoin Morgan's England, especially in the 10-team format that quadrennial tournament is following this time over. 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 and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
  17. Over the years, the world of cricket has enthralled fans with numerous competitions. From day-night Tests to the advent of T20 cricket, the sport continues to thrive with its continuous evolution to cater to the ever-increasing fan-following. But, amongst the multiple events that cricket has to offer, nothing comes close to the fanfare or popularity of the ICC World Cup. One of the highly-anticipated sporting events in the world, the quadrennial cricket event garners public interest and captures the imagination of enthusiasts like no other. Four years after the first-ever ODI match was played, the organisers blessed the cricket fans with the maiden World Cup that was held in England in 1975. Since then, there has been no turning back for this mega event. And, this year's tourney promises to be no different. © Reuters Slated to begin from 30th May, the twelfth edition of the ICC spectacle promises to be an exciting affair with the participating nations vying for cricket's biggest honour. The mother of all tournaments (as one might call it), this year's World Cup will witness 10 teams competing in a single group. Each team will play with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals. With the World Cup just 10 days away, cricket fans have already begun pledging their allegiances to their favourite teams. From casual banter in the office to heated dinners at home, the World Cup is undoubtedly the hottest topic at the moment. But, as we count down the days for this year's ICC spectacle, here's a look at some crazy records that stand tall at the World Cup: Most Individual Runs © Reuters No player has scored more runs at the Cricket World Cup than Sachin Tendulkar; or even come close for that matter. He scored 2,278 runs at the tournament – more than 500 more than his nearest rival – at an average of 56.95. His highest score at the World Cup came against Namibia in 2003 when he hit 152, but it was his runs in the 2011 World Cup which inspired India to glory. India will be hoping the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli can emulate the Little Master in England & Wales this year. Most Wickets © Reuters Glenn McGrath lifted the coveted trophy three times and took more wickets than anyone else in the history of the tournament; it's fair to say that the Aussie great had a huge impact at the ICC World Cup. Between his debut at the tournament in 1996 and his final appearance in 2007, McGrath claimed 71 wickets in 39 games. He may have been nearing the end of his career, but his most prolific World Cup came in 2007 where he took 26 wickets - a tournament-best tally for most wickets at a single edition of the World Cup. Most Sixes © Reuters There is no surprise to see the record for the most sixes slammed at a World Cup being shared by swashbuckling AB de Villiers and marauding Chris Gayle. Gayle hit 26 of these sixes in the last World Cup in 2015, most of which were scored in his record-breaking innings against Zimbabwe. With AB de Villiers announcing his retirement in 2018, it has provided Gayle with the opportunity to go past his South African counterpart in this year's World Cup. Most Wickets In Consecutive Balls © Reuters Lasith Malinga could very well be playing his last World Cup this year, but, when he retires, the Sri Lankan great would surely be proud of his legacy at the mega event. Amongst his numerous records in international cricket, Malinga's devastating spell against South Africa at the 2007 World Cup remains one of our fondest memories of the right-arm seamer. One of the all-time classic World Cup matches, the clash between Sri Lanka and South Africa saw Malinga running through the Proteas batting order. Cruising to victory, the Proteas were just four runs away from beating the Lankans when Malinga set a new World Cup record with 4 wickets in 4 balls. While South Africa managed to hold their nerve and won the match, Malinga's fiery spell undoubtedly won hearts across the globe. Fastest Double Hundred © Reuters West Indies opener Chris Gayle hit the fastest double century in World Cup history in their victory over Zimbabwe in 2015. Gayle went on to hit a total of 16 sixes in 147 balls before he was out for 215 off the last delivery of his side's innings. The stand of 372 with Marlon Samuels was also a record partnership for any ODI wicket. West Indies amassed 372-2 from their 50 overs, and went on to beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs (D/L). Highest Team Score © Reuters At the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Australia produced a stunning performance to thrash Afghanistan in a record-breaking game. Glenn Maxwell smashed 88 from 45 balls to propel Australia to 417/6 - the highest team score at a World Cup. Other records tumbled, as Australia then went on to bowl Afghanistan out for just 142 in reply. The margin of victory was 275 runs – the highest ever recorded at a World Cup. Highest Successful Run-Chase © Reuters Another classic World Cup encounter came to the fore when England locked horns with minnows Ireland at the 2011 World Cup. Kevin O'Brien hit the fastest century in Cricket World Cup history as Ireland pulled off an astonishing victory over England in Bangalore. His 113 off 63 balls helped Ireland recover from 111-5 to overhaul the target of 328 runs with five balls to spare, making this the highest successful run-chase ever at a World Cup. Most Title Wins © Reuters Last, but surely not the least. Australia doesn't have a challenger when it comes to their rich history at the World Cup. In the 11 World Cups held so far, they have won the tournament on 5 occasions – including three consecutive wins between 1999-2007. They also hold the World Cup record for most match wins (62) and the highest win percentage of 75 per cent. Despite the recent controversy surrounding the reigning champions, they will go into this year's tournament with confidence in the knowledge that history is on their side.
  18. Arguably one of the biggest sporting events in the world, the 12th edition of the ICC World Cup is set to enthrall cricket enthusiasts when it kickstarts from 30th May, pitting the likes of hosts England and exciting South Africa against each other. Over a span of 45 days and across 48 scintillating contests, the ICC mega event is expected to bring the best of the participating nations in what promises to be an exciting affair. But, the World Cup isn't just about winning the coveted trophy. In fact, cricket's biggest tournament has a history of bringing exciting contests, fiery duels and individual brilliances to the fore. And, this year promises to be no different. From the top wicket-takers to leading run-scorers, the upcoming ICC tournament has had the cricket fans wondering who'd claim the top honours in individual performances. While we will discuss the wicket-taking heroes in another article, let's discuss the probables for the batting honours this year. © Reuters When it comes to scoring most runs in the World Cups, no one comes close to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who scored 2,278 runs across six tournaments he played. Though Tendulkar's record will take some doing, but the current batting geniuses of the game will surely be eager to make a mark at the biggest stage. Going purely by numbers, here's a look at five batsmen who might be seen ruling the charts in the list of leading run-getters at the World Cup this year. Virat Kohli © Reuters Undeniably one of best batsmen in the world right now, Virat Kohli will be the key to India's charge at this year's World Cup. The Indian captain needs no introduction to batting and the fact that, at the age of 30, he has already slammed 41 ODI hundreds - only behind Tendulkar's tally of 49 tons, shows how special and consistent this lad is. But, that's not all. Kohli is going into the World Cup with a formidable form and, for someone who takes a special liking to big events, he is surely expected to reign supreme in England and Wales. To back that claim with numbers, Kohli has scored 4,306 runs at an average of 78.29 - most by any batsmen in ODIs since the World Cup in 2015. While it's really hard to predict whether he'll actually emerge as the leading run-scorer at the upcoming event, the numbers surely tip him as one of the favourites. And, given his artistry with the willow, we might end up seeing a Kohli special this year. Rohit Sharma © Reuters One of the most devastating openers in limited-overs cricket, Rohit Sharma, having begun his career as a middle-order batsman, found his true calling at the top of the order. A preferred opener by the Indian team management, Rohit has made the opening spot his own on the back of spectacular performances in white-ball cricket. His malleable wrists and knack to find the gaps have all added to his batting masterclass which continues to evolve over the years. Just like his skipper Kohli, Rohit will also be one of the vital cogs in India's dreams of lifting their third World Cup trophy this year. Since the 2015 edition of the World Cup, Rohit has amassed 3,790 ODI runs at an average of 61.12 - only behind Kohli in the elite list. His last stint in England saw him smashing an unbeaten 137 in the first ODI in Nottingham - something that should bolster his confidence going into the World Cup. The right-handed batsman is coming off a title-winning season with Mumbai Indians who lifted a record fourth IPL trophy this season. While there is no doubt over Rohit's abilities, the Indian opener will need convert his starts into big figures if he intends to challenge other batsmen for the top batting honours at the World Cup. Joe Root © Reuters For someone who was tipped as a future England captain at the age of 23, Joe Root has not only lived up to the billing, but has also successfully managed to rally his troops in the build-up to the World Cup at home. Rated amongst the top batsmen in the world, Root, on his day, is more than capable of running away with the game. At this year's World Cup, Root will surely be a key player, providing the much-needed stability to their batting line-up. If playing at home doesn't strengthen his case, the fact that Root has slammed 3,498 runs at an average of 58.30 in ODIs (since the 2015 World Cup) further makes a probable candidate for the top batting honours in the upcoming event. The right-handed batsman will be seen leading England's charge at the ICC spectacle, but while his leadership skills will be put to test, Root's batting might cannot be questioned. Eoin Morgan © Reuters One of the batting mainstays for England over the years, Eoin Morgan will once again be seen stabilising the innings for his side while plying his trade in the middle-order. The left-handed batsman has all the experience he needs to make this event his own and playing in familiar conditions further helps his cause. Predictions apart, according to the numbers, believe it or not, Morgan is placed fourth in the list of leading run-scorers in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup. The left-hander has scored 3,039 runs at an average of 46.75 - something that surely makes him one of the probables for the top batting honours at the World Cup this year. For those who need more than just numbers to believe his batting might, Morgan, recently, broke a roof tile with a huge six during the fifth ODI between England against Pakistan at Headingley. How's that for intent? Quinton de Kock © Reuters A sweet timer of the ball who thrives on his fearless striking abilities, Quinton de Kock has established himself as South Africa's preferred opening batsman over the years. The left-handed batsman, who grew up as a baseball player, can take on any opposition bowling attack and give them a run for their money with his brutal hitting. De Kock goes into this year's World Cup with 2,971 runs at an average of 50.33 in ODIs. There's no surprise to see him at the fifth spot in the list of top run-getters in the 50-over format since the 2015 edition of the World Cup. To put things in perspective, De Kock has amassed 353 runs, including three fifties and a hundred, in his last five ODI innings. Given the conditions, De Kock is likely to cherish the challenge and tear into the opposition bowling attack. His success with the willow will be key to South Africa's hopes of getting rid of the 'chokers' tag and clinch their maiden World Cup title this year.
  19. Arguably one of the biggest sporting events, the 12th edition of the ICC World Cup is set to enthral cricket fans and set their hearts racing when it kickstarts on 30th May, pitting hosts England against South Africa at the Kennington Oval in London. The 50-over ICC spectacle presents an opportunity to cricketing giants to prove their mettle at the biggest stage and assert their domination in the sport. Unlike the 2015 tournament where 14 teams were seen participating via two groups, this year will witness only 10 teams who'll compete in a single group. © Reuters As per this year's format, each team will be seen playing with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals. But, as the participating nations gear up to launch their respective campaigns this year, the mega event, sadly, will also witness some of the biggest cricket icons fade into darkness. While the fans remain excited about the thrilling duels and scintillating performances that the World Cup has to offer, the fact that it will also bring down the curtains on the ODI careers of some decorated names in the business is just too hard to fathom. Though its going to be quite emotional for such stars in their ODI swansong, it can also act as a source of extra motivation to do good in the tournament. As we count down the days to the World Cup, here's a look at five cricket icons who, in their last ODI stint, should be on your radar in England & Wales: Chris Gayle © Reuters One of the most feared and a destructive opening batsman, Chris Gayle has undoubtedly lived up to his reputation as the 'Universe Boss'. The Jamaican marauder has been a force to reckon with in the limited-overs format, clearing the fence and tormenting the opposition bowlers at will. He might have struggled with his running between the wickets, but who cares about taking singles when you can send almost every ball in the stratosphere. The 39-year-old powerhouse has been a vital cog for West Indies and the numerous teams he plays for in the T20 format. And, it was too much T20 cricket that probably instigated him to announce his retirement from ODIs in February this year. While his announcement over retiring after the World Cup broke many hearts, it could very well prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Windies. Returning to the ODI set-up after seven months in February this year, Gayle has looked more destructive than ever in his career. In his last five ODI innings, the left-handed batsman has scored 424 runs including two centuries and as many fifties. Taking his ominous form into the World Cup, Gayle, on his way out, could very well the catalyst that ends up handing West Indies the coveted trophy for the first time since 1979. Shoaib Malik © Reuters Most notably a batting all-rounder, Shoaib Malik has almost tried to fit in every role possible for Pakistan over the last 10 years. Starting his career as an off-break bowler, Malik has proved to be a capable and adept batsman who can bat at the top, make the No 3 slot his own and be at his devastating best lower down the order. However, as all good things must come to an end, Malik is no different. One of Pakistan cricket's tireless servant is set to walk into the shadows after this year's World Cup. Already retired from Tests, the 37-year-old, in 2018, had announced that he will retire from ODIs after the ICC spectacle in England and Wales. Though Pakistan might have favoured young blood going into the mega event, but everyone knows how important Malik is going to be for their campaign. His experience will come in handy to guide the youngsters, while his know-how of the game will surely benefit his side in crunch situations. Eager to make a mark in his ODI swansong, we won't be surprised to see Malik flourish in the World Cup, bolstering Pakistan's chances to conquer the world. Imran Tahir © Reuters Aged 40, Pakistan-born South African spinner Imran Tahir might seem old, but the age-factor takes a backseat every time you throw a ball at him. Known for his biggest weapon - the googly, Tahir has earned a reputation for being able to dictate the middle-periods of games while providing vital breakthroughs to his side. And, over the years, Tahir has proved to be a valuable weapon for the Proteas. A spinner whose celebratory run lasts longer than most fast-bowler's run-ups, Tahir has undeniably established himself as one of the best limited-overs leg-spinners of his time. But, owing to a lot of T20 cricket, Tahir was understandably forced to announce his retirement from ODI cricket after the ICC World Cup. Playing his last ODI tournament, the right-arm spinner carries his brilliant form from the IPL to the World Cup. A vital cog in Chennai Super Kings set-up, Tahir took 26 wickets to emerge as the leading wicket-taker, almost propelling his side to the 2019 IPL title. Given his form, Tahir could very well be the deciding factor for South Africa in the World Cup. Dale Steyn © Reuters Dale Steyn's scary eyes, throbbing veins and a chainsaw celebration have all culminated to brand him as one of the feared pacemen in modern-day cricket. Thanks to his extreme pace, ability to swing the ball both ways and commendable accuracy; Steyn is not only considered one of the best in the business, but probably South Africa's best ever. However, over the years, his obsession of sprinting in and delivering that ripper of an outswinger seems to have taken a tolls over his ageing body. And, after a careful deliberation, the 35-year-old, last year, announced that will retire from limited-overs cricket after the ICC World Cup. While the Proteas seem to have found his long-term replacement in Kagiso Rabada, Steyn's absence will surely be a major blow for his side. Nonetheless, going into the World Cup, Steyn has rediscovered his rhythm and looks in good shape for one last hurrah. He might have been away from cricket for quite a while in his career, but Steyn is a proven match-winner who, on his day, is capable of running away with the game. South Africa will hope that his ODI swansong brings out the best in Steyn as they aim to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. JP Duminy © Reuters Another South African who will no longer be seen in ODI cricket after this year's World Cup is JP Duminy. The South African veteran has been around the circuit for almost 15 years now and thrived in his role as a batting all-rounder. With over 5000 runs and 68 wickets to his name, Duminy goes into the World Cup as one of the few experienced campaigners in the South African side. But, his injury concerns seem to have instigated his decision to announce his retirement from ODIs after the conclusion of the World Cup. Last month, the Cape Town-born cricketer had announced that he will call time on his ODI career after the ICC event. Though he will continue to be a part of the South African T20 side, Duminy will surely be hoping to make an impression in his final ODI tournament.
  20. In what has arguably been a spectacular year, the football season - comprised of prominent leagues and tournament - is nearing its fitting end. We've seen the likes of Barcelona lifting the La Liga trophy for the 26th time, Juventus clinching their eight successive Serie A title and Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick powering Paris Saint-Germain to Ligue 1 triumph this season. Also, the football fans were recently treated with Manchester City's thrilling Premier League title triumph that was decided on the final matchday of the season. Following the EPL suit, this year's Bundesliga title is also set to go down to the wire as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund (two-points adrift at the top) seek one final win to lift the trophy in the last round of matches on 18th May. And then, there is that big UEFA Champions League final in Madrid that will see English giants Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur locking horns for Europe's biggest trophy on 2nd June. But, while the highly-anticipated clash is still a few weeks away, the fans would be happy to update themselves on the latest list of most valuable and strongest football clubs in the world. © Reuters Putting some of the world's biggest football brands to test, Brand Finance has come up with this year's 'Football 50' - list of top football club brands. Taking into account a number of metrics (both financial and non-financial), the world's leading independent brand valuation consultancy firm has revealed the list of Top 50 most valuable and strongest football brands. Real Madrid might have crashed out of the Champions League and lost the La Liga trophy to arch-rivals Barcelona, but they have the title as the world's strongest football brand in 2019. With a brand value of 1.646 billion euro, the club is ahead of a peer group of a billion-euro-plus brands that includes Manchester United (€1.472bn), Barcelona (€1.393bn), Bayern Munich (€1.314bn), Manchester City (€1.255bn), and Liverpool (€1.191bn). The six clubs account for over 40 per cent of the overall brand value in the Brand Finance 'Football 50' ranking of the sport's most valuable brands, underlining the concentration of wealth and the creation of a set of 'super clubs'. They are followed by Chelsea (€968mn), Paris Saint-Germain (€914mn), Arsenal (€885mn) and Tottenham Hotspur (€758mn) to complete the top 10 spots on the coveted list. Los Blancos Reign Supreme © Reuters Real Madrid have shown this year who truly reigns supreme in the world of football. They triumph not only as the most valuable and strongest brand but their enterprise value and stadium are also ranked second to none. The club returned to the top of Brand Finance's ranking after almost a decade since it last held the title in 2010. The club's brand value has grown 27 per cent since last year, an increase partly attributable to the club winning a fourth UEFA Champions League in five years in 2018. The club had become the first in the world to break the €750 million barrier in revenues in 2017-18. Their commercial monies totalled €356 million, close to 50 per cent of overall revenues, making them the highest generator of cash from this income stream. Real Madrid also possesses the strongest football club brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 95.5 out of 100, marginally ahead of their fierce rivals Barcelona (BSI 95.4). Malaise In Manchester © Reuters Real Madrid's return to the top has pushed Manchester United into second place, as the Red Devils' brand value declined for the first time since 2016, from €1.562 billion last year to €1.472 billion (a 6 per cent drop) in 2019. Manchester United have disappointed in recent years on the playing field both in the Premier League and in the Champions League. Public perceptions of the brand have deteriorated as United ranks only 18th among the sample of the world's top clubs with regards to “playing exciting football”, as revealed by Brand Finance's original fan research. In the 2018-19 season, the club reached the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League but were easily beaten by Barcelona. Moreover, they failed to qualify for the 2019-20 competition for the third time in seven years. Such underperformance for a club accustomed to perpetual success in the Sir Alex Ferguson years is reflected in its revenue generation. Although total revenues remain among the highest, income from commercial and matchday activities has slowed up and TV income declined in 2017-18. To a certain degree, Manchester United have been cast into the shadows in their domestic market by neighbours Manchester City, who won the Premier League in 2018 and 2019. Spurs Race Ahead © Reuters Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are flying the flag for English football this year having reached the final of the UEFA Champions League. Both clubs improved their brand value by 20% to €1.191 billion and €758 million respectively, the highest growth rates in the top 10 after Real Madrid's 27 per cent and Paris Saint-Germain's 21 per cent. Tottenham in particular continue to win plaudits for their commitment to a progressive style of football and youth development. While their new 62,000-capacity home ground was being built, Tottenham were playing at Wembley, which provided the opportunity to grow matchday revenues. Their new stadium should enable them to maintain momentum in this income stream as well as monetise new state-of-the-art facilities through other non-football events. Their financial position was highlighted by record post-tax profits of €131 million in 2017-18, but their success in Europe in 2018-19 should allow the club to further invest in its playing resources and strengthen their ability to compete at the highest level. Wolves Wander Up The Ranks © Reuters While the ranking of the top clubs shows little change to 2018, one of the rising stars are Wolverhampton Wanderers, who returned to the Premier League in 2018 after an absence of six seasons. Wolves, a club with a rich heritage, ranks 28th in the table with a brand valuation of €187 million, and their impressive performance in 2018-19 and the benefits of Premier League membership should create a positive growth trajectory. This season, the club enjoyed their highest attendances at their Molineux ground for almost 50 years. Wolves are owned by Fosun International, which has close links with high-profile agent Jorge Mendes. They have leveraged these relationships to build a strong, attack-minded team of talented players as well as broaden the club's franchise in China and develop an innovative focus on eSports. The Premier Appeal © Reuters The ascendancy of Wolves and the strong presence of English clubs in the Brand Finance 'Football 50' (17 clubs in total) highlights the enduring financial power of the Premier League. The Premier's TV broadcasting revenues outstrip all the other major European leagues - €2.9 billion versus LaLiga's €1.2 billion in 2017, while commercial revenues are more than double the income of Serie A or Ligue 1. The Premier League is also the most widely followed league across Europe's main football markets, according to Brand Finance's original fan research. The Premier League is deemed to have a “superior atmosphere” and a “greater level of competitiveness” than other national competitions. However, the Premier League did not score highest on all metrics as La Liga is thought to have more “star players” and “world class clubs” than the Premier League. Brand Value By Leagues © Reuters Apart from the football clubs, Brand Finance also projected astonishing numbers in relation to the brand value in terms of competitive football leagues. There was no surprise to see Premier League right at the top of the list with a brand value of €8,683 million (a 6.9 per cent jump from last year's figures of €8,120 million). It wasn't really surprising considering the fact that it has provided all four finalists across the Champions League and UEFA Europa League this year - a feat achieved by a country for the very first time. Premier League is followed by La Liga whose brand value has been estimated at €3,998 million (a massive 23 per cent rise from last year's figures of €3,242 million) in the esteemed list. Germany's Bundesliga is at the third spot with a brand value of €3,815 million, followed by Serie A (€2,001mn) and Ligue 1 (€1,242mn).
  21. For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, needless to mention the deep infighting and disharmony, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns in desperate need for guidance and experience. Their 15-man squad lacks experience and probably the leadership to bring them all together to launch a title charge in England & Wales. The Sri Lankan selectors faced quite a challenge in finding the captain. Lasith Malinga, undeniably a match-winner for his side, has failed to thrive in the captaincy role and his inability to bring everyone together saw his lose 12 games on the trot. The other option was Angelo Mathews, who led their charge in the last World Cup, but he turned down the offer owing to his differences with coach Chandika Hathurusingha. One might wonder, why they didn't go back to Dinesh Chandimal? But, the fact that he didn't want Malinga in his World Cup squad should adequately answer that question. Thus, in the end, the selectors were left with no choice but to appoint a total outsider - Dimuth Karunaratne (coach Hobson's preferred choice) - as the captain for their World Cup side. And, the fact that Karunaratne played an ODI more than four years ago, pretty much sums up the plight of this Lankan brigade. © Reuters But, that's not the only gamble the selectors have opted for. Their first-choice wicket-keeper - Kusal Janith Perera - is actually a specialist batsman who doesn't inspire confidence in his keeping abilities. More importantly, he is injury prone and the backup option Kusal Mendis doesn't keep wickets, even in domestic cricket. Niroshan Dickwella has been keeping wickets for the Lankans across all formats over the last 24 months, but his inconsistent batting performances saw him getting snubbed from the World Cup squad. But, it's Chandimal's axing that has been hard nut to crack for everyone. Despite his strike-rate in the mid-70s, Chandimal has been a proven keeper and his omission, along with Dickwella's, might come back to haunt them in the World Cup. Lahiru Thirimanne has been a vital cog in their batting department, but in 2017, the selectors got sick of watching the left-hander fail one innings after another. He was kept at bay from the ODIs for the next 18 months, until a hundred in his last domestic game made the selectors feel otherwise. Suddenly, the Lankan think-tank feel that he can propel them into the knockout stages of the ICC event. But, the reality is completely different. © Reuters On the other hand, their decision to fly three spinning all-rounder - Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardene - to the World Cup, where the English conditions are bound to make them obsolete for their team's cause, is another riddle for us. Apart from De Silva, Siriwardene was tried as a World Cup hopeful and then dumped in October 2017, while Mendis has not played an ODI in more than four years. In totality, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has opted for wholesale changes rather than backing the players who were in the system for the last 12 months. They seem to have also gone back on the policies that were put in place to shape them up for the World Cup. While it remains to be seen how this clueless Lankan brigade fares in the ICC event when they begin their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June, the erratic selections are surely a sign of worry for their fans. Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal.
  22. Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. Placed at a lowly eighth spot in the ICC ODI Rankings, the Windies might have struggled to match the heroics of their predecessors in the past, but, going into the World Cup, they are as a big a threat as there can be for their rivals, following the script of Kapil Dev-led India's triumph in 1983. Back in the 1983 World Cup, Kapil's Devils were ranked as outsiders who weren't expected to stand a chance against the proven opponents in the tournament, let alone run away with the title. They were consistently underestimated by stronger opponents like England, Australia and West Indies throughout the event - a mistake that eventually cost them all a shot at the World title. © Reuters In 2019, the Windies find themselves in a similar situation. Owing to their dismal form in recent years, no one is expecting them to go the distance. And, quite expectedly, top contenders like India, England and Australia are likely to underrate the Caribbean giants in the upcoming event. But, can the Windies be underestimated? Not a good idea, to say the least. The 15-member squad announced by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for the World Cup is not the one we can underestimate. The power-packed entertainers like Chris Gayle and Andre Russell are more than capable of winning the matches for their side single-handedly. The two superstars will also have adequate backing from swashbuckling Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Darren Bravo. © Reuters The Windies also have the luxurious services of Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse and Carlos Brathwaite at their disposal. These men will not only provide depth to their batting but are more than capable of giving the ball a fair tonk. The pace attack, that has been their weapon of mass destruction in the early years, looks intimidating and dangerous with the availability of Shannon Gabriel, Oshane Thomas, Kemar Roach and Sheldon Cottrell. On paper at least, the Windies do look like a side that can not only cause problems to the tournament favourites, but can also potentially reach the final. But, for that to happen, the men from the Caribbean need to perform in their respective roles, and, more importantly, click as a unit. So, can West Indies finally claim their place back at the top of the heap? We'll find out when they begin their campaign on 31st May against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.
  23. Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, South Africa's 15-man squad is a healthy composition of youth and experience. The availability of Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla gives the Proteas three solid opening options. While De Kock is a sure-shot pick for the opening slot, Markram and Amla will possibly have to compete for the other spot at the top. Just like their opening options, South Africa have plenty to choose from for their pace attack. There's Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi who will surely come in handy in the English conditions. They will find adequate assistance from Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo who seem to be making the most of their opportunities lately. Reuters While the surfaces in England and Wales aren't expected to favour spin bowling, but, if need be, South Africa will be more than happy to call upon veteran Imran Tahir who is coming off a spectacular run in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL). More importantly, since the master leg-spinner has announced his retirement after the ICC World Cup, Tahir will be eager to make an impression in his ODI swansong. On the other hand, Tabraiz Shamsi has also been roped in to provide the Proteas a second spin option. The left-arm wrist spinner has been around the circuit for a while now, but the exploits of Tahir has kept him at bay. Going into the mega event, Shamsi can also use it as an opportunity to prove his credentials as a potential long-term replacement for the departing Tahir. Reuters In the batting department, South Africa's top-heavy line-up is followed by a pretty decent, but yet to be tested, middle-order which is comprised of Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller and JP Duminy, with the latter's knowledge and adaptability putting his side in good stead. For those unfavourable times, the Proteas also have the cushion of Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris to accelerate the innings in key moments of the game. All in all, the Du Plessis-led brigade has plenty of options in almost all the departments, but, at the cricket's biggest stage, South Africa will need to find their winning combination, not to mention click as a unit, if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. Can they really do it? We'll see when they open their campaign against England on 30th May at the Kennington Oval in London. Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi.
  24. Following a heavy dosage of Twenty20 (T20) action in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricketing action now moves on to the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in arguably the biggest spectacle - ICC World Cup - the sport has seen. Slated to begin from 30th May, the 12th edition of the ICC spectacle promises to be an exciting affair with the participating nations vying for cricket's biggest honour. One of the highly-anticipated sporting events in the world, the quadrennial cricket event garners public interest and captures the imagination of enthusiasts like no other. Four years after the first-ever ODI match was played, the organisers blessed the cricket fans with the maiden World Cup that was held in England in 1975. Comprised of eight teams - Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), the first World Cup was won by the Windies who got the better of the Aussies in the final at Lord's. It was for the very first time the fans got a taste of exciting competition in cricket. And, since then, there has been no turning back for this massive event. © Reuters Unlike the 2015 tournament where 14 teams were seen participating via two groups, this year will witness only 10 teams who'll compete in a single group. As per this year's format, each team will be seen playing with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals. Having dominated the tournament with a record five title wins, Australia will be eager to defend their crown when they begin their campaign this year. However, they'll have to fend off strong title contenders including the likes of India, hosts England and New Zealand. After 10 warm-up games, the coveted tournament will kickstart with England taking on South Africa at Kennington Oval in London. A total of 45 games will be played before the tournament ascertains its semifinalists, who'll square off in a bid to secure their berth for the all-important final on 14th July. Schedule Date Match Venue Time 30-May England vs South Africa Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 31-May Windies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 1-Jun New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 1-Jun Afghanistan vs Australia County Ground, Bristol 6:00 PM 2-Jun South Africa vs Bangladesh Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 3-Jun England vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 4-Jun Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 5-Jun South Africa vs India The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 5-Jun Bangladesh vs New Zealand Kennington Oval, London 6:00 PM 6-Jun Australia vs Windies Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 7-Jun Pakistan vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 8-Jun England vs Bangladesh Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 8-Jun Afghanistan vs New Zealand The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 6:00 PM 9-Jun India vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 10-Jun South Africa vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 11-Jun Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 12-Jun Australia vs Pakistan The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 13-Jun India vs New Zealand Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 14-Jun England vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 15-Jun Sri Lanka vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 15-Jun South Africa vs Afghanistan Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 6:00 PM 16-Jun India vs Pakistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 17-Jun Windies vs Bangladesh The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 18-Jun England vs Afghanistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 19-Jun New Zealand vs South Africa Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 20-Jun Australia vs Bangladesh Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 21-Jun England vs Sri Lanka Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 22-Jun India vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 22-Jun Windies vs New Zealand Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 23-Jun Pakistan vs South Africa Lord's, London 3:00 PM 24-Jun Bangladesh vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 25-Jun England vs Australia Lord's, London 3:00 PM 26-Jun New Zealand vs Pakistan Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 27-Jun Windies vs India Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 28-Jun Sri Lanka vs South Africa Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 29-Jun Pakistan vs Afghanistan Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 29-Jun New Zealand vs Australia Lord's, London 6:00 PM 30-Jun England vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 1-Jul Sri Lanka vs Windies Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 2-Jul Bangladesh vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 3-Jul England vs New Zealand Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 4-Jul Afghanistan vs Windies Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 5-Jul Pakistan vs Bangladesh Lord's, London 3:00 PM 6-Jul Sri Lanka vs India Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 6-Jul Australia vs South Africa Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 9-Jul TBC vs TBC, 1st Semi-Final (1 v 4) Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 11-Jul TBC vs TBC, 2nd Semi-Final (2 v 3) Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 14-Jul TBC vs TBC, Final Lord's, London 3:00 PM Participating Teams Afghanistan © Twitter/@ACBofficials For a team that, earlier this March, recorded their first Test victory in only their second game, Afghanistan seems to be making the most of the opportunities on the field. The young Test-playing nation is full of surprises and, on their day, they are more than capable of beating any team in the world. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) did turn a few heads when they sacked long-standing captain Asghar Afghan in April. The decision led to the appointment of three specialist captains across formats. Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah will be seen in the leadership roles for ODIs, T20Is and Tests respectively. It'll be interesting to see how Naib fares as Afghanistan's captain when they start their World Cup campaign against Australia at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. 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 and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Australia © Twitter/@CricketAus They might have been leading the list of most title wins in the ICC World Cup, but the Aussies know it fairly well that their campaign in England & Wales is surely going to be an uphill battle. The defending champions lack confidence especially after the infamous 2018 ball-tampering saw two of their biggest stars getting suspended for a year. Since that episode, Australia have been trying to rediscover that winning mentality that successfully aided their predecessors over the years. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith following their suspensions is a major boost to the Aussies, but their absence from international cricket for a year could see them struggle early in the tournament. On the other hand, the bowling department could turn out to be an area of concern for Australia, especially in the absence of Josh Hazlewood. They'll kickstart their World Cup campaign against tricky Afghanistan at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa. Bangladesh © Twitter/@BCBtigers Ever since making their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have been a familiar face at the ICC spectacle. But, their best finish came in the last edition where they surprised everyone by reaching the quarterfinals stage. They won three games including the famous triumph over England in the group stage, but found their nemesis in India in the quarterfinals. Going into the tournament, Bangladesh looks like a balanced side. Mashrafe Mortaza has proved his worth as a potent leader in the past and Shakib Al Hasan has enough experience in international cricket to be his deputy. Mushfiqur Rahim is another experienced campaigner who's not only great behind the stumps, but his presence will also bolster his side's batting line-up. They'll need the senior players to step up when they face South Africa in their opening clash at the Kennington Oval, London on 2nd June. Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Abu Jayed. England © Twitter/@ECB_cricket The mighty Englishmen might have given us the sport that we've come to know as cricket, but the cricketing giants are yet to taste success at the ICC World Cup. In the decorated history of the tournament, England have bottled away three chances to lift the coveted trophy. They lost the 1979 final to West Indies before enduring successive heartbreaks in 1987 and 1992 to Australia and Pakistan respectively. But, the upcoming edition could be their chance to redemption, especially when they have the luxury to play at home, in familiar conditions. Led by the experienced Eoin Morgan, the hosts pack a punch with a team that is comprised of potential match-winners. Though they'll have to fend off threats from the likes of India and Australia, the Englishmen might just prove a tad too difficult for the opposition to handle in the tournament. The 'Three Lions' will be seen in action when they lock horns with South Africa in the tournament opener at the Kennington Oval, London on 30th May. Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. India © Twitter/@BCCI The two-time World Cup champions are undoubtedly one of the biggest contenders to lift the coveted trophy this year. The team has enjoyed a brilliant run over the past year with favourable results in both home and overseas series. Led by the pragmatic Virat Kohli, Team India had a problem of plenty in the build-up to the ICC spectacle. The selectors had a tough time figuring out the 15-man squad, best suited for the English conditions to deliver the goods. After careful deliberation, the omission of in-form Rishabh Pant did spark some backlash which later saw him getting included in the list of stand-bys. From batting to bowling, the Indian team looks pretty solid on paper with a couple of all-rounders also in the fray. But, the long-standing No. 4 conundrum is still a chink in their armour. All the questions might get answered when they launch their title charge on 5th June against South Africa at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. New Zealand © Twitter/@BLACKCAPS Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. The Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Despite their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. The team is full of proven stars who are more than capable of turning the tide in New Zealand's favour. The likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult will spearhead their pace attack, while Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will add teeth to the spin department. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham - who will play their part in the tournament. Williamson's men will begin their campaign when they take on Sri Lanka at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 1st June. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor. Pakistan © Twitter/@TheRealPCB The 1992 World Cup champions, Pakistan, continue to remain an unpredictable brigade which is more than capable of crashing someone's party on their day. The ultimate underdogs at the ICC spectacle, Pakistan might have a fairly inexperienced squad going into the World Cup, but a mercurial side of their calibre still promises to go the distance. The youthful pace duo of Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi, who can clock 90mph at will, is expected to be a vital cog in Pakistan's impressive pace battery. But, the notable omission of Mohammad Amir, who has been sidelined due to suspected chickenpox, remains a big blow. The likes of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will surely come in handy when it comes to guiding the youngsters in the side with their vast experience. Beginning their campaign on 31st May against West Indies in Nottingham, Pakistan will be eager to build on their spectacular 2017 ICC Champions Trophy win with a similar performance in England and Wales. Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c/wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain. South Africa © Twitter/@OfficialCSA Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, the Proteas boast of three solid opening options in Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. Similarly, in the bowling department, the availability of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi provide them with great options. But, it's going to be a problem of plenty for the Proteas and, right from facing England in the opening encounter on 30th May, they'll need to find their winning combination if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Sri Lanka © Twitter/@OfficialSLC For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns doing their best to settle in quickly. Going into this year's tournament, Sri Lanka will rely on the experience of their veteran stars Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera to spearhead their challenge. They'll kickstart their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. West Indies © Twitter/@windiescricket Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. But, despite all that, no team in the tournament would like to take them for granted, especially when West Indies boast of proven match-winners. Led by Jason Holder, the Windies are going into the World Cup, full of firepower. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer and Carlos Brathwaite are more than capable of single-handedly running away with the game. But, opening their campaign against Pakistan on 31st May, the Windies will need to find a way to click as a unit if they intend to go the distance this year. Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.
  25. After the epic conclusion of the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League, all eyes are on the ICC World Cup 2019 which will begin from 30th May 2019 with the first match between England and South Africa at the Oval, London, England. The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is the 12th edition of ODI Cricket World Cup, scheduled to take place in England and Wales between 30 May 2019 to 14 July 2019. The tournament will consist of a single group of 10 teams, with every team getting the opportunity to play against each of the other nine teams at least once. The top four at the end of the group stage will go on to compete against each other in the semi-finals. ICC World Cup 2019: Team India Schedule: DateVersusLocation 5/6/2019 South Africa Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Hampshire, England 9/6/2019 Australia The Oval, London, England 13/06/2019 New Zealand Trent Bridge, West Bridgford, England 16/06/2019 Pakistan Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Stretford, England 22/06/2019 Afghanistan Rose Bowl Cricket Ground, Hampshire, England 27/06/2019 West Indies Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Stretford, England 30/06/2019 England Edgbaston, Birmingham, England 2/7/2019 Bangladesh Edgbaston, Birmingham, England 6/7/2019 Sri Lanka Headingley Carnegie, Leeds, England All the league matches will start at 3:00 pm IST. India's History At ICC World Cups: India got to lift the World Cup trophy for the very first time under the captaincy of the great Kapil Dev in 1983. The victory was not only a great achievement for the 14-man-squad of the time but also for the countless generations to come as it added immensely to the popularity of the game in the country with more and more people not only wanting to watch cricket but also trying to get selected in the national team. 2011 was the year when Mahendra Singh Dhoni led the Men in Blue to winning the ICC World Cup for the second time, this one being in our own home-ground. With Sachin Tendulkar nearing his retirement, Dhoni in his prime and Virat Kohli just beginning to show his talents as a batsman, the 2011 Indian roster consisted of three of the most successful cricketers to ever play in the country's jersey. Now, with Dhoni taking Tendulkar's place as the team veteran and Virat Kohli in his top form and the leader of the squad, Team India will once again try to bring home the greatest glory there is in the world of cricket. 15-Man-Squad, Team India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik (reserve wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, K. L. Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal How can I watch Team India's World Cup matches? Star Sports Network have the rights to officially broadcast every match of the 2019 ICC World Cup. You can also catch the games like on the Hotstar website or mobile application.
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