Cricket World Cup 2023 is about to start on 5 October, and everybody has an obvious question in mind. Who will be the winner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023? While all the cricket fans are excited to cheer for their team, they also want their side to win. But is that going to happen? We will try to make some predictions in this article.
England won their first-ever ODI World Cup title back in 2019. It was one hell of a final. New Zealand almost had it. However, the hosts had lady luck on their side. India, Australia, New Zealand, and England reached the semi-finals last time.
Many will tell you this will also be the same this time. But is it going to happen? Or will we witness some surprises?
Teams to watch out
Which side is going to win the World Cup this time? It is hard to predict since ten teams will play in a single group to decide the semi-finalists. Each side will have nine matches. It is hard to win all the matches in such a format.
Hence, we will look at the top sides performed recently while doing a small recap of the previous World Cup. It will help us predict the semi-finalists and the winners.
India is the host of this tournament and is the favourite to win the World Cup this time. They did pretty well in the last World Cup. Ending up at the top of the table and winning 7 out of 9 matches demonstrates your ODI side competency.
Unfortunately, they lost the semi-final to New Zealand, but things are different now. This is, India is playing on its home turf, and they are in red hot form. They recently won the Asia Cup 2023 and had the chance to see which combinations work.
Before the Asia Cup, India had won an ODI series against the West Indies. The good thing is that they tested out their bench strength and opted to rest their leading players. This gave exposure to other players, increasing their overall strength.
Before the World Cup, Australia and India have a bilateral series, which is a quick sailing for this ship. So far, the Aussies haven’t managed to win even a single match. Players like Shubhman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, and Suryakumar Yadav have found their form, which is excellent for the hosts.
The lady luck wasn’t so kind to Pakistan as they missed their chance to play in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Knockout stage. Both New Zealand and Pakistan had 11 points. However, the Kiwis had better NRR, which led them to the semi-finals.
Regarding the Pakistani side, things aren’t as good as before the Asia Cup 2023. Firstly, they have only played a handful of ODI matches this year. Their home series against the Black Caps had a satisfying end, but there’s a stark difference now.
Pakistan lost the Asia Cup series, which has lowered their morale. They entered that tournament as favourites but couldn’t perform up to the mark.
Their leading players were getting injured left and right. Imam had a spasm, Haris had a minor injury, Salman got hit in the face, and Naseem Shah had a significant injury. This is what has been hurting Pakistan.
Their batters are getting exposed, and the spinners aren’t as good. They are entering the Indian soil with no quality spin bowling attack. The likes of Abrar Ahmad are in the reserves. The squad is all over the place.
They don’t have a chance of winning this World Cup. But at the same time, you cannot write them off completely. You never know when the “Pakistan way” will hit you in the face.
If the batters keep scoring those runs, and Shadab and Iftikhar can be the strike spinners for them, with Shaheen providing those early breakthroughs consistently, they can reach finals.
The Aussies were the defending champs last time. However, they couldn’t go past the semi-final stage. They lost the semis against England, the current reigning champion. In the group stages, they finished at the second spot.
This time, they have one of the most balanced squads so far. However, they are struggling to find their form. They lost a series against South Africa recently, while they are getting hammered by the Indian team in an ODI series right before the World Cup.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t change that they have a solid chance of making it to the finals this year. Their players have the experience of playing on Indian soil, courtesy of IPL. Let’s see how their campaign goes this time.
The Kiwis gave us a pretty interesting World Cup final last time. They barely made it to the knockout stages due to a better NRR. They could have been the defending champions this year without the ICC rules and that boudry fiasco.
This time, they are in hot waters. The conditions are not the ones they prefer. Kane Williamson is not the batter he should have been, and Tim Southee is returning with an injury. Kane Williamson is coming back after a long break from cricket as well.
The most recent bilateral series has been against England, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. New Zealand has lost against England and Pakistan, while their series against Bangladesh continues. But is that enough preparation for this World Cup?
England are the defending champions and are coming for a win again. They showed excellent form last time and won the World Cup. But this year, it’s different. England is entering the tournament under conditions they aren’t best known for.
The last time England played an ODI match on Asian pitches was back in March. So far, they have only played longer game formats on their soil. They have won the prior 3 ODI series, but they will struggle against the spin-friendly conditions.
They have recalled Ben Stokes from retirement for this World Cup. It will most likely be his last World Cup. But can he showcase what he had been doing before? England will heavily rely on Adil Rashid for taking wickets on spin tracks.
South Africa had a horrendous form in the last World Cup. They finished 7th on the points table and won only 3 games. This time, they barely made it to the top 8 teams to qualify for the tournament directly. Otherwise, they would be playing in the qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
However, if you look at the ODI series they have played this year, they have won 3 out of 5. Their players showed class in the recent ODI series against Australia, one of the favourites for the World Cup.
South Africa is often bullied due to choking in “must-win” games, but you cannot write them off in the group stages. They have been at the top of the points table a lot in this tournament’s history. Their batters have had some good performances in recent matches.
They have the potential to win 4-5 games and may barely make it to the semis. But they do not have the best chance to win the World Cup this time.
India is regarded as a paradise for the batters. You have seen the number of quality batsmen they have produced over the decades, from Sunil Gavaskar to the great Sachin Tendulkar. It is a country known for its batters, from Tendulkar to Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Shubhman Gill of the modern times.
So, batting will play a significant role as well. But that is not the entire picture. The wickets provide a lot of support to the spinners as well.
If you look at the last cricket World Cup played on this soil, Shahid Afridi was the man of the tournament. Despite being part of the team that was knocked out in the semi-final, he was the highest wicket-taker.
Hence, the teams have to have strike spinners. That is why players like Tabraiz Shamis, Rashid Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Theekshana, Wellalage, and Shadab Khan are exciting prospects. But that doesn’t mean you can write off the Pacers completely. Shaheen, Starc, and Co can get some early breakthroughs if they are intelligent and quick enough.
Players to watch
There are a lot of exciting prospects this year. Honestly, it will be hard to make a sure list. But let’s categorize them as batters, bowlers and all-rounders.
This list would have been incomplete without mentioning Babar Azam. He has showcased his talents as one of the best ODI batsmen ever. With hard work and class, he is considered in the same class as Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson.
But these are prominent names; the show’s star might be Shubman Gill. He is an explosive opener with a lot of strokeplay and runs to back him. You cannot tell how dangerous he can be on his home turf.
The next batter who may score many runs this time is Heinrich Klaasen. If you aren’t living under a rock, you must have known about his recent exploits against Australia in the home series.
Siraj blitzed through the Sri Lankan batters in the Asia Cup Final, and I must tell you about the class of this pacer. He will be the player to watch for during this World Cup. Along with him, his teammate Kuldeep is a strike spinner who will be a menace for the batters on spinner-friendly tracks. These guys can pick up a lot of wickets.
Shaheen and Starc are obvious choices for becoming the best bowlers this time. But it will require a lot of tactics from their side to adapt to the dead batting tracks.
There are two more legspinners on this list. Adam Zampa and Rashid Khan will be crucial for Australia and Afghanistan. And they are the contenders for being the best bowlers as well.
Three all-rounders can come to mind when discussing the players to watch out for. These are as follows.
- Mohammad Nabi
- Hardik Pandya
Each of these players is crucial for their teams. Shakib also captains the Bangladeshi side, while Nabi will anchor the Afghanistan team for a decent tournament. Hardik is the most dangerous player here. He has the home advantage and the form as well.
Predictions – Who will be the semi-finalists and winners
So, who will be the semi-finalists? This question cannot have an objective answer as no one knows what the future is. But if you ask about my predictions, India, Australia, Pakistan, and England will be the semi-finalists, while India has the highest chance of winning this World Cup.
You never know; this may as well be the action replay of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
As I have mentioned before, no one knows what the future entails. Each team has the potential to win against the best sides in the world. Maybe South Africa or New Zealand may win the World Cup this time. It all comes down to who plays the best cricket and performs when it matters the most. As fans, we can indulge in some playful banter, but we all know that what we want is entertaining matches that will make this World Cup memorable for us.
Team CricketWorlds is signing off!