Top five contenders for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will kickstart in the month of May. We analyse the chances of the teams and decide as to who are the top contenders for the coveted trophy. Here is five such countries.

5. Pakistan

Pakistan has never been very consistent in the past, but they seem to have all their bases covered this time. Their pace battery which consists of Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali is second to none, on their day. Relative newbies Shadab Khan and Shaheen Afridi can pick wickets at regular intervals too. 

Their batting has been bolstered with Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam scoring runs consistently. Imam-ul-Haq has come to the party too and we all know how dangerous Sarfaraz can be on his day. Veteran Mohammad Hafeez is possibly playing his last World Cup and he will surely look to make it count. Pakistan are a dangerous side and they can do it this time around, if they are able to replicate the form they displayed while winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England.

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Courtesy: Dawn

4. Australia

With the Kangaroo squad undergoing a paradigm shift following the bans imposed on their stalwarts, Steve Smith and David Warner, the returns haven't been too rosy for the once great Aussies. Their present run of form is no good news for them but you can never rule out Australia in a World Cup. With Aaron Finch expected to captain the side and be the opener, wicket-keeping duties might be delegated to Alex Carey or Peter Handscomb, subject to their performances.

The presence of Glenn Maxwell will be key and Shaun Marsh has been brought into the ODI set-up and his recent form speaks volumes about his potential impact. Their pace battery which consists of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Billy Stanlake, Andrew Tye and Jhye Richardson, is one of the best attacks leading into the competition. With Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon, the spin department seems to be in safe hands. Their squad will be boosted further with the return of Steven Smith and David Warner right before the World Cup. 

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Courtesy: ICC

3. New Zealand

With their versatile bowling attack, one might even term them as frontrunners. The conditions in England suit their playing style as well. With a calm skipper at the helm in the form of Kane Williamson, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro are adept at playing swing bowling and the start the duo gives will be crucial. The presence of Ross Taylor, Tom Latham and Jimmy Neesham in the middle-order makes their batting unit strong. Trent Boult is one of the best bowlers in business at the moment and Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson are able to go through any batting order. Add to that the spin duo of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi , plus their immense fielding talent.

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Courtesy: NDTV Sports

2. India

Team India emerges as one of the favourites, primarily due to their bowling attack. With the two young spinners, namely Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal having proved their mettle overseas, their pace attack which boasts of Bhuvneswar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, is enviable, to say the least. Their batting, however, seems to be the problem and this may come as a shock to some. Rohit and Dhawan are expected to open the innings as usual and the skipper Virat Kohli coming in at three makes their top-order almost perfect. 

The answer to the middle-order conundrum has not been found still , but Ambati Rayudu has almost cemented the position with his latest heroics with the bat. With Dhoni's finishing abilities diminishing and Hardik Pandya being not reliable always, India's problems with the moving ball are well known and the opposition will look to exploit it. Should they find a settled middle order, they could definitely go all the way in the tournament.

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Courtesy: SBS

1. England

This should come as no surprise to anyone. The England ODI squad has been in a tremendous run of form lately and it shouldn't surprise anyone if they come out all guns blazing. Their batting is sorted with Jason Roy and Alex Hales at the top, Joe Root coming in at 3, Eoin Morgan at 4, Ben Stokes at 5, Jos Butler in at 6. The Englishmen, truly, have a deep batting lineup. 

Coming to their bowling, Mark Wood, Ben Stokes, David Willey and Adil Rashid will be looking to wreak havoc. England are an excellent fielding side and they surely are the team to beat in the World Cup. Being hosts helps as well. 

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Courtesy: Hindustan Times

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