Cricket World Cup, you say? Didn’t we just have one of those? You’re probably thinking of England winning in 2022 or Australia winning in 2021, and there will be another win in 2024, but these were and will all be in the Twenty20 format – 20 overs per team so uninitiated – during this game two and a half As much fun as each innings lasts 50 overs. The last men’s World Cup in this format took place way back in 2019. This begins on October 5th and ends 46 exciting days later on November 19th.
Who is involved? There are 10 teams: all but three full member states of the International Cricket Council – the Test playing countries – and one associate member. The missing trio are Ireland, Zimbabwe and the West Indies, who won the first two World Cups, reached the final of the third and had never managed to qualify before. Only the top two from this year’s final qualifying round, played in Zimbabwe in June and July, made it to the final and West Indies finished fifth in the Super Six stage, losing to all opponents except Oman. Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, the only associated country, emerged from the field, the former with a 100 percent record, the latter thanks to a net run rate slightly better than Scotland’s and significantly better than Zimbabwe’s, with all three teams finished tied on points.
Net what? Cricket not only offers exciting sport, but also exciting math problems. In addition to the popular net run rate in the group stage tiebreaker (the average number of runs a team scores per available over minus the average runs per over scored against them). The word “available” is crucial here because if a team is eliminated after, say, 22 overs, the calculation is made using the full 50 they might have faced had they been less clumsy.) There is also the Duckworth-Lewis Stern Method, or DLS to call its friends, used to calculate a fair target score in a rain-interrupted game, which would be far too complicated to explain here even if we understood it well enough to to try it out, but it seems to have done its job reasonably well.
Wasn’t there another crazy tiebreaker when England won the last World Cup? That actually existed. The 2019 final between England and New Zealand ended in a draw, so the teams played a Super Over – each having to face six more legal deliveries – but they still ended up tied. So there was a boundary countback, counting the number of fours and sixes each team had scored during the day, and England triumphed 26-17. Everyone agreed that it was pretty silly. So if the same situation repeats itself in this year’s knockout rounds, the teams will simply play as many Super Overs as necessary to split them up.
Will there be rain? Most likely. India is hosting this year, and although the rainy season is coming to an end in October, it is still far from dry in some host cities. In general, the further south you travel at this time of year, the greater the chance of precipitation. The tournament’s northernmost venue, Dharamsala, has an average of about two rainy days in October, while the southernmost, Bengaluru, has about 11 rainy days. Three knockout games all have reserve days, but the group stage is big enough without such luxuries .
How big exactly? The format puts all ten teams into one large group. So when everyone has played against each other, 45 games have been played or at least attempted, and whoever is in the top four places advances to the semi-finals. The same format was used in 2019, but this will be its final appearance as the event expands to 14 teams in 2027. Games are played in 10 stadiums scattered across the country, although some teams travel more than others: most play at least a week of two games in one city at some point. One lucky couple – New Zealand and Afghanistan – have two. Only England and India are constantly moving.
That sounds like a significant disadvantage Apparently not: India is the favorite – and the last three 50-over World Cups have been won by host countries – followed by England (which won the last World Cup) and Australia (which won the World Cup before that). and Pakistan (who haven’t won since 1992 but are quite good). The Netherlands are clear underdogs, but each team has enough talent to cause real problems to anyone who underestimates them. The format of the competition reflects the format used in the competition: like one-day internationals, there is enough time for teams to stumble a few times and still turn around. In 2019, India and Australia sailed into the semi-finals with just one and two defeats respectively, while England and New Zealand escaped with three defeats (Pakistan also lost three but failed these net run rate calculations).
With only two semi-finals and one final, at least the knockout round will be straightforward Something like that. In theory, in the semi-finals, the team that tops the super group will meet the fourth-placed team in Mumbai, while the teams that end up second and third will meet in Kolkata. But if Pakistan is involved, they will play in Kolkata no matter where they land, which could mean the second and third teams land in Mumbai, and if India qualify, they will play in Mumbai wherever they land, which could mean that the first and fourth teams travel to Kolkata, but if both India and Pakistan qualify and have to play each other, Kolkata will miss out. In short, it’s best to hold off on making hotel bookings for now.
There’s nothing like leaving things until the last minute Well, that seems to be a theme. When the last ODI World Cup was held in England in 2019, the full schedule was announced just over a year before it began, on April 26, 2018, and the last tickets went on sale on September 27, 250 days before the start of the tournament . This time the schedule was announced on June 27, but then had to be revised due to various complaints and scheduling conflicts. The final version, in which nine games were postponed to different days or at different times “with the aim of giving players and fans the best possible World Cup experience”, appeared less than two months before the big start and only then could the Organizers will begin selling tickets, with the first tickets going on sale on August 25, about five weeks before they will be used. For some games, they are still “coming soon,” according to the tournament’s website. No rush.
Since it’s a World Cup, there will probably be a mascot and an anthem Absolutely. The ICC is introducing two mascots in this competition, currently affectionately known as “the female character” and “the male character”, while the results of a survey to find catchier names are forwarded for approval by various “cultural and language experts”. now officially named Blaze and Tonk. Apparently they come from “a cricketing utopia called the Crictoverse,” with Blaze boasting “a turbo-powered arm that propels fireballs at lightning speed,” and Tonk boasting an “electromagnetic bat and a versatile hitting repertoire that electrifies the goal-line.” It is not immediately apparent how much use an electromagnetic bat would have in real cricket, and testing the theory would almost certainly result in a lengthy ban. The anthem Dil Jashn Bole was written by Pritam, a Bollywood composer so famous that he doesn’t require a surname, and is described as an “expression of the plethora of emotions and waves of energy that the tournament promises to deliver”.
What do the winners get? A medal, sporting immortality, the chance to hold aloft a beautiful trophy and a cornucopia of emotions and waves of energy. But if that’s not enough motivation, there’s also a $4 million share of a total prize pot of $10 million. This is exactly the same as in 2019, when the ICC’s budgets were stretched by its recent commitment to pay out the same prize money in the corresponding women’s competition (at the last Women’s 50-over World Cup they had to settle for a prize pot of 2019). $3.5 million, which again is double what was offered in the previous tournament, so we’re not talking about a small change or a small change.