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Starting May 30 and ending July 14, the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will mark the 12th edition of the competition since its inauguration in 1975.
With a changed format since the previous tournament of 2015, there are no hiding places for anyone, and all 10 teams will play each other at least once.
This adds to the sense of excitement and drama that is associated with the Cricket World Cup. With several evenly matched teams expected to fill the semifinal spots, 2019 is set to herald the most unpredictable tournament yet.
This in-depth guide to the 2019 Cricket World Cup will take you through all the essential fixtures, how the teams stand ahead of the competition, the likeliest outcome and the popular betting markets relating to the World Cup.
Firstly though, we’ll take a look at the format of the tournament, and how teams progress to the final.
The 2019 ICC World Cup will follow a single round-robin, group-stage format, with the 10 participants playing each other once. Each team plays nine group-stage games at a variety of venues across England and Wales.
Two points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a defeat. The teams that sit inside the top four (after all group matches are complete) proceed to the semifinals.
The semifinal event is a straight, single-game knockout to get to the final, as opposed to a round-robin.
In the event of two teams tying over a consequential finishing position, the final group-stage position is determined by the net run rate, which is the average runs per over that a team scores, minus the average runs per over scored against them.
Though they have operated under different group-stage systems, previous ODI World Cups have also used the same method to determine the finishing positions of teams in the group stage, which in turn have affected the current ODI rankings of teams.
Along with the current form, those ODI rankings are used as the reasoning behind the odds against each team as they stand ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Those odds also impact on the types of bet people may place before and during the tournament.
There are two main types of betting market in operation at the Cricket World Cup: futures and moneyline.
In futures betting, a bettor backs one team to win the competition outright. The odds against the favorite are invariably longer before the game starts unless the favorite endures a poor start to the tournament.
For instance, reigning World Cup holders Australia opens this tournament against rank outsiders Afghanistan. Australia is priced at around +400 (the third favorite) to win the tourney, but that price will shorten (and reduce the potential payout) even if they beat Afghanistan (as expected).
Much of this will also be down to the fact that India and South Africa face each other in the opening round. Both have relatively short odds against their triumph at the World Cup. One of them is likely to lose and see their odds lengthen, which will have a knock-on effect on the odds of the better teams, like hosts England and holders Australia.
The main strength of futures markets is the constant tension over a more extended period of time that moneyline bets can’t provide. However, the future bet on the World Cup winner is just one market to consider.
Bettors can also back a top batsman (most runs scored) or top bowler (most batsmen dismissed).
Unlike backing the winning team, this market is likely to see a lot of fluctuation —especially as World Cup matches can see a top-order batsman underperform and suffer an early dismissal — even if their team wins comfortably and sees its futures odds shorten.
For anyone unsure of who will win the final, the “name the finalists” futures markets is also an attractive prospect. Opting to guess the identity of the two finalists yields a higher payout than naming one, as it is essentially a multiple bet.
Futures bets do not need to pertain to the final at all.
It is also possible to bet on a team to finish top of the group stage, or bottom of the group, or place a multiple bet on the top and bottom team.
There is also a market open where bettors can back two teams to finish first and second in the group stage and do so in a specific order.
In its purest form, a moneyline bet is a straightforward wager on one team or the other. However, there are other markets that bettors can place wagers on, which sit under the moneyline umbrella.
For instance, teams can also be backed to hit (or not hit) a certain number of runs, either as part of a standalone bet or as part of a handicap.
In the latter case, a team has to win by a minimum number of wickets, or runs, to overturn a handicap (the bettor determines that) to yield a payout.
Just as it is possible in the futures market, a top batsman, or bowler, can be backed within individual matches, or even specific periods within them (the “middle overs,” for example). Leading batsmen can also be backed to hit a certain quota of runs, or even just a quota of fours or sixes.
Although these are a few examples, certain bookmakers will have an extensive range of niche markets for bettors to explore and enjoy.
Currently based in Abu Dhabi, the International Cricket Council (ICC) arranges all fixtures, and the rankings shown on the official website are updated as required.
These rankings are an influence on the odds against teams before the tournament, as is form, and possibly even the order the fixtures play.
As for the fixtures at the World Cup, the full list is available on the ICC website, but several stand out as potential show-stoppers.
Naturally, hosts England are featured in a number of these high-stakes matches. Amongst that number is the tournament opener against the South Africa team, who reached the semifinals in 2015 and looked set to appear in the final before an immense batting performance from New Zealand denied them that opportunity.
Beyond that, England will close out the group stage with an exceptionally difficult three-game schedule.
Firstly, England faces the reigning holders Australia followed by a match against India, champions of the 2011 World Cup. The hosts close the group stage with a clash against a New Zealand side.
India will also be under the spotlight a lot in the first few group games. Their first three opponents are South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, followed by a match against Pakistan with that fixture being held at Old Trafford.
Once played out, the fixtures have an immediate impact on the ICC’s rankings, which are split into different forms.
The results of this tournament will affect the ODI rankings, which are calculated by the number of points received from ODI wins set against the number of “weighted matches.” This creates a “rating” that is the determining factor of where a team ranks.
The ODI rankings are also part of the qualification process for the World Cup.
The number of teams being reduced to 10 this time around, good ODI form in the lead up to the cutoff date of Sept. 30, 2017, was essential.
England qualified automatically as hosts, being appointed way back in September 2006. On said cutoff date, the seven-highest ranked teams other than England were also confirmed as World Cup participants, with two spots remaining.
The final two spots went to Afghanistan and the West Indies, who both got through the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifiers.
The winners of the 2019 Cricket World Cup will receive the biggest prize pot in the tournament’s history. The prizepool is bigger than ever before, with the tournament winners standing to receive $4 million in prize money.
The winners’ reward accounts for nearly half of the total $10 million prize pot, with runners-up receiving $2 million. Semifinal losers earn $800,000 apiece, but all participants receive at least $100,000 in total, with $40,000 bonuses for every group-stage win.
There is a full list of official, confirmed Cricket World Cup broadcasters across the world. Audiences in the United States can see all the action via Willow TV or the Hotstar app.
A significant number of the broadcasters on the official list show ICC-sanctioned fixtures in all forms of cricket year round.
The ICC maintains the schedule, and the action does not stop with the end of the World Cup, with several confirmed tours in the ODI, test and T20 formats already live on the schedule.
As of May, the next confirmed major ODI series after the World Cup takes place in March 2020 with New Zealand’s three-game tour of Australia. That year also brings the world its seventh T20 World Cup, which all of the 2019 Cricket World Cup’s heavyweights have already qualified.