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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: England's rivals plotting to rip up the script

By Opta
World Cup Trophy

London, May 27: Pantomime villains, the 'Universe Boss' and the 'Big Show' are among a stellar cast who are plotting to tear up the script when the Cricket World Cup gets under way this week.

Special Page | Full Schedule

Four years after an embarrassing World Cup exit in the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, England are favourites to be crowned champions for the first time on home soil.

England crashed out of the 2015 showpiece after failing to progress from the group stage, but they have been transformed with Eoin Morgan as captain and Trevor Bayliss as head coach.

Top of the rankings with an aggressive approach that is the polar opposite to previous regimes, Morgan's men will take some stopping if they play to their potential.

Yet England are by no means the only side looking to banish the memories of previous failures in an extravaganza that has been reduced from 14 nations to 10.

India suffered the agony of an ICC Champions Trophy final defeat to Pakistan only two years ago, an experience that should provide additional fuel for Virat Kohli's side.

"You cannot place a World Cup win below anything else," Kohli stated, with the huge weight of a nation on his shoulders.

Holders Australia will relish the prospect of lifting the trophy for a sixth time ahead of the Ashes, with Steve Smith and David Warner having the character and immense talent to drown out verbal abuse for their part in the ball-tampering scandal.

Self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle is ready to take centre stage in his West Indies one-day international swansong, while 'Big Show' Glenn Maxwell is another potential match-winner.

There may be a lack of minnows in the absence of Associate Members, but Afghanistan will fancy their chances of ruffling a few feathers with the likes of spin wizard Rashid Khan capable of bamboozling the best batsmen in the world.

The best players in the world are ready to unleash their armoury of ramps, switch hits, slog sweeps, doosras, slower-ball bouncers and yorkers.

There will be runs galore, spellbinding spells of bowling, catches conjured up with astonishing athleticism and breathtaking fielding.

The spotlight is on England, but the hosts are far from being the only side under pressure not to fluff their lines in the next seven weeks.

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Story first published: Monday, May 27, 2019, 12:40 [IST]
Other articles published on May 27, 2019
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