Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - England favourites as hosts kick off World Cup party



England favourites as hosts kick off World Cup party

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
England’s Eoin Morgan takes part in a captains press conference ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in London on May 23. The 2019 Cricket World Cup, being hosted in England and Wales, starts on Thursday. ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP

England favourites as hosts kick off World Cup party

England launch the World Cup on Thursday as favourites to bludgeon their way to victory for the first time but will fear a Virat Kohli-inspired India and a hungry Australia.

The host nation have never won the tournament, with the last of their three losing appearances in the final coming in 1992, but there is a growing sense their current crop of players can end 45 years of pain.

Boasting a plethora of big-hitting white-ball specialists, England are the top-ranked team in the 50-over game, while Kohli’s India are also packed with superstars who have honed their skills in the Indian Premier League.

Reigning champions Australia, who won their fifth title in 2015, are boosted by the returns of star batsmen Smith and David Warner after both served bans for their role in a ball-tampering scandal.

New Zealand and South Africa will also harbour hopes of World Cup glory in the 10-team tournament, in which each side will play all the others to decide the semi-finalists.

Former winners Pakistan can never be ruled out and West Indies, featuring self-styled “Universe Boss” Chris Gayle for possibly the final time in ODIs, will fancy their chances of a first World Cup triumph since 1979.

In an age in which astonishing run-scoring feats have become commonplace, it may be the hard-pressed bowlers who determine the destiny of this year’s title, depending on the conditions for the event, which runs from May 30 until July 14.

England tipped for glory

Top-ranked England will undoubtedly start the tournament as favourites.

They were, however, strongly fancied to win the 2017 50-over Champions Trophy, which they hosted, only to lose to eventual winners Pakistan in the semi-finals.

England captain Eoin Morgan has urged his side to enjoy the pressure and expectation that comes with opening the World Cup at home.

“Everyone is going to feel that anticipation and excitement of playing the first game and it will be different than any other day and I will be encouraging guys to embrace it,” he said.

A limp first-round departure at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was the catalyst for a transformation in England’s white-ball game based on aggressive batting, as exemplified by Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler.

England are even threatening to smash the 500-run barrier for the first time in an ODI innings, having set a new record total of 481 for six against Australia in Nottingham last year.

And their attack now has an extra threat in recently qualified Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer.

India upset the odds to beat West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final at Lord’s under the captaincy of Kapil Dev and now boast another inspirational leader in star batsman Kohli.

Australia want to switch attention back onto the pitch after the “sandpapergate” scandal, which led to year-long bans for Smith and Warner.

Former Australia captain Smith is braced for barracking from the crowds at the tournament, which takes place in England and Wales.

Smith made 116 against England as Australia beat the World Cup hosts and favourites by 12 runs in a warm-up game in which he was booed and called a “cheat”.

“It’s water off a duck’s back and it doesn’t bother me. I try to black it out,” said a focused Smith.

“They call it ‘white noise’. When I’m out in the middle I don’t pay attention to the crowd or what they’re saying.”

South Africa will be desperate to shed their tag of World Cup chokers while consistent New Zealand, losing finalists in 2015 and repeatedly in the last four, boast a clutch of match-winners – batsmen Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor as well as seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided