The World Cup is considered as the pinnacle of ODI cricket and teams from around the world work hard to get a proper combination in place. The 2019 edition of the mega event got underway yesterday and the hosts England got off to a fabulous start, registering a massive 104-run victory over the Proteas at the Kennington Oval. Before the start of the 50-overs extravaganza, a lot of pundits and analysts made their predictions about the probable winner of the tournament as well as the other contenders, who can do decently.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen, the former England cricketer, joined the bandwagon and talked about the teams, who are most likely to get their hands on the coveted trophy and they are India and hosts England. Interestingly, the 38-year-old also put forth the ‘dark horses’ of the tournament, that team not a lot of people are talking about but has a claim on the title.
“India and England are probably the favourites. But the dark horses are Australia and the unpredictables are West Indies,” Pietersen was quoted as saying during the official opening ceremony of the World Cup.
India and England’s brilliant run in the limited-overs format
England and India are the ICC’s number one and two ranked teams respectively in the ODI format. Both have been extremely competitive, winning a truckload of games over the past few months. Virat Kohli has led the Men in Blue with sheer authority, both as the skipper and as a batsman.
Owing to the skipper’s stupendous shows, India has also managed to maintain its dominance. The Three Lions, on the contrary, have done well in various conditions. Eoin Morgan has been an inspirational skipper and he formed a team that turned out to be a brute force in the format.
The Brits made a humiliating exit from the 2015 World Cup following their defeat versus Bangladesh. Thereafter, the face of their cricket changed completely. It’s not a surprise that Pietersen considers them as one of the firm favourites to win the championship on English soil.
As far as the dark horses – Australia and Windies – are concerned, the teams strained in the last year. However, they have soared above expectations and have found momentum as the World Cup came closer. Even as the Aussies got the better of India and Pakistan in the ODI series, the Caribbean team drew level in the ODI series against England, though they lost the tri-nation series in Ireland.