The International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket Cup is now in its 12th edition and the hottest prize in One Day International (ODI) cricket. It takes place across England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Held every four years, the inaugural tournament was played in 1975. Teams qualify through a combination of being a top-ranked World Cricket League team and succeeding in the early rounds.
The tournament is one of two played internationally on a four-yearly cycle, the other being the ICC Champions Trophy. The last World Cup was in 2015, played in Australia and New Zealand.
This year, cricket fans have the mouthwatering prospect of the sport’s most thrilling tournament being played at grounds across the two home nations.
World Cup news
News is already circulating, with the assistant coach for defending champions Australia, Ricky Pointing, believing his side will be a key contender. Meanwhile, Pakistan has named its captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, who in 2017 led his country to glory in the ICC Champions Trophy.
The tournament has been in the pipeline since 2006, when hosting rights were confirmed. It’s been 20 years since the last World Cup was last played here. (It was also held in England and Wales twice in the 1970s, and again in 1983.)
A group of 10 teams will take part, with each one playing the other nine and the leading four going on to complete in the knock-out stage of the semis ahead of the final.
The umpire will first call Play on Thursday May 30, when England hosts South Africa at London’s Oval ground. This begins a spectacular festival in which at least one match will be played daily until the final on July 14 at Lord’s, giving fans almost 40 summer days of non-stop world-class cricket.
Where is the Cricket World Cup being played and how can I watch?
The venues for the tournament are:
- Trent Bridge (Nottingham)
- Headingley (Leeds)
- Edgbaston (Birmingham)
- Lords and The Oval (London)
- The Riverside (Chester-le-Street)
- Old Trafford (Manchester)
- Cardiff Wales Stadium
- County Ground Taunton
- County Ground Bristol
- The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
If only being there for every run and wicket will do, tickets are available via the ICC website on a first-come, first-served basis. However, many games are already sold out.
To watch on TV:
- Tune into Sky Sports Cricket
- Some matches will be shown via Sky Sports Main Event
- Stream games using Sky Go, available in the UK via Sky Sports.
- Stream via the Sky Sports Day Pass, offered for less than a tenner a day.
What are England's chances?
As for current favourites England, Eoin Morgan’s team sits comfortably at the top of the ICC One Day International (ODI) rankings, unbeaten since 2016 in terms of ODI series. However, England was hotly tipped to win the 2017 ICC Champions trophy, but Pakistan stopped the side in its tracks during the knockout stages.
The side has batting flair in the shape of Morgan, Roy, Stokes and Butler, plus no shortage of bowling talent. Equally, England will have the all-important home advantage.
And Morgan will surely hope his team’s reputation for aggressive, thrilling play will stand them in good stead at the World Cup. However, England faces stiff competition from the likes of on-form India.
Betting on World Cup Cricket
Many fans will want to heighten the thrill of the World Cup by placing an online bet, via a PC or on mobile.
As a highly complex, nuanced sport, cricket offers many great betting markets. Here are some of them.
Bet on the straight winner of a game – a popular choice for multi-bets plus the underdog.
Top scorer of runs, by team
This is a bet on the most runs a batsman will score on each team. Typically, the top four batsmen are the best bets, and this is a good bet type for any match where batting conditions are good.
Top wicket taker, by team
You can also bet on the top wicket taker for each innings. If the pitch is good for fast bowlers, you may be well advised to stick with the opening bowlers. ‘Spinners’ may be a safer choice for the second innings, when the condition of the pitch may be deteriorating.
Man of the Match
This can be a tricky but valuable one, and seems to work particularly well for One Day events such as World Cup games.
What are the odds?
Cricket betting websites make use of various odds formats, probably because betting developed differently in different parts of the world. (The payouts, however, are the same, regardless of the format.)
In the UK, the familiar fractional odds of, say, 1/8 are used, meaning if you bet £1 and win at these odds, you get your stake and £8 back.
For online betting, the decimal format is typical. Decimal odds refer to the return – so odds of 2.2 mean you receive £2.20 for every pound invested if you win, including your stake.
Conditions including weather will always play a key role, as will the make-up and form of the squad, and how far from home they’re playing. It will be worth keeping track of match previews, predictions, news of player injuries and the like.
The team that wins the coin toss typically has better odds of winning. Finally, some players are simply more suited to a particular match format, e.g. One Day International, than others.
With so much to look forward to this summer, placing a few bets can only heighten the excitement of the mesmerising World Cup Cricket tournament.