ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 gets underway in London, but on a very low key note. It’s like nobody really knows there is a World Cup going on, not in the UK, not in Australia, not in South Africa, and certainly not in India.
Why? Well, for different reasons. It’s like we celebrated the victory of Mumbai Indians after a hard fought 2-month long IPL 2019 only a few days back. Then we had a bitterly fought election in India, which has frankly left everyone completely exhausted.
Australia had their own election as well, while England are still coming to grips with Brexit and finding a replacement for Prime Minister Theresa May, who quit recently.
Still the game goes on, and as England takes on South Africa today, we hope the interest comes back. England and South Africa start as the favorites for the World Cup, along with India. They are powerful teams packed with matchwinners and are likely to go the distance.
Host England’s batting is impressive – perhaps the best batting line-up any national team has had in many, many years. South Africa, on the other hand, have a far superior bowling attack – pure pace in the form of Kagiso Rabada, match winning leg spin from Imran Taheer. They are capable of defending any total, however small.
England’s captain Eoin Morgan knows that this is his last chance. He had an equally strong team in the 2017 Champions Trophy held in England, but they stumbled just before the last hurdle. He knows he has to win this World Cup, given the quality of his squad.
As for South Africa, Faf Du Plessis is without two of his greatest players – Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers. But he will expect his young and hungry side to win the World Cup for the first time for South Africa and lose the “chokers” tag.
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Liam Plunkett/Mark Wood.
South Africa: (possible) 1 Hashim Amla, 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 David Miller, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Andile Phehlukwayo, 8 Chris Morris, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Lungi Ngidi, 11 Imran Tahir.
The Lords is at its best at this time of the year, the pitch looks green, and help fast bowlers. Rain is likely.
Prediction: England to start with a bang.