Cricket World Cup: Who are the teams competing?

9:11 am on 28 May 2019

Analysis - Ten teams will be vying for supremacy when the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup begins in England on Thursday night.

The Black Caps sing the national anthem.

The Black Caps line up for their first match of the Cricket World Cup on Saturday against Sri Lanka in Cardiff. Photo: Photosport

This year's tournament brings a change in format from the two most recent editions, with all teams playing the other nine teams in a full round-robin format and the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals.

RNZ cricket reporter Clay Wilson runs the rule over all 10 sides, analysing their strengths, weaknesses, and chances of lifting the silverware on 15 July.

New Zealand

Runners-up in 2015, the Black Caps head to England facing a sizeable task to replicate that feat, or go one better.

Kane Williamson's side were 3-0 winners over both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh during the recent home summer but in their main test, against India, were soundly beaten 4-1.

While that latter series result would suggest New Zealand aren't a legitimate threat, you're safe to assume that won't be taken lightly given they've reached at least the last four at five of the last six World Cups.

A record of 22 wins from 35 completed ODIs during the past two years is just enough to keep the opposition on their toes, and Black Caps fans cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead.


The host nation have undergone a dramatic turnaround in form since the last World Cup to rightly be placed as favourites this time around.

After being dumped out of the 2015 tournament following a huge loss to the Black Caps and embarrassing defeat to Bangladesh, England swiftly climbed their way up the rankings to claim the No. 1 spot in May last year.

Playing an aggressive brand of cricket, Eoin Morgan's team have won 53 of their 77 completed matches since that group stage exit four years ago.

Add to that a home record of 30 wins from 40 matches in the same time period and what would be a famous victory at Lords on 15 July becomes a strong possibility.


After following a rare ODI series win in Australia and a 4-1 demolition of the Black Caps at the end of January, the 2011 champions firmly established themselves as second favourites.

Three straight losses at home to lose their March series against Australia 3-2 somewhat diminished that school of thought, but India are still rightly considered a genuine title contender.

Virat Kohli offered his apologies through an intermediary.

India captain Virat Kohli could have a big influence on the Cricket World Cup. Photo: Photosport

While strength in the spin department is always apparent in any Indian side, the development of a world class seam bowling contingent has been a feature of the team's strong performances in the past 12 months.

Include skipper Virat Kohli, who has been scoring ODI hundreds for fun in recent years, and you have a squad more than capable of success.

South Africa

Although Australia's resurgence has some putting them at the head of the chasing pack, a deeper analysis reveals it's probably the Proteas who have the strongest claim to that mantle.

While eight of their 21 matches during the past year have been at home, South Africa's 16 wins in that time frame gives them a better winning record than both England and India.

Two of those victories also came in a 2-1 series win in Australia in November and three more of them in a 3-2 series triumph at home to a well respected Pakistan side.

A squad littered with class in all relevant areas no doubt looking to finally shed the team's reputation as under achievers at major tournaments.


Up until a couple of months ago, the five-time World Cup champs had been all but written off as contenders. And rightly so.

Prior to the start of their series in India in early March, Australia were experiencing arguably the worst period in their hugely successful ODI history, with four wins from their previous 26 completed matches resulting in a fall to a sixth in the rankings.

But from 2-0 down, the visitors mounted an unexpected fightback to win the series 3-2.

Steve Smith

Former Australian captain Steve Smith. Photo: Photosport

A 5-0 series whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE completed eight straight wins.

With an in-form David Warner and former captain Steve Smith set to make their international returns for the tournament, Australia's chances of defending their title have received a substantial boost.


The 1992 World Cup winners were riding high when they thumped arch rivals India by 180 runs to win the Champions Trophy in 2017.

But fast forward almost two years and Pakistan have returned to their largely inconsistent ways.

After their 5-0 drubbing by Australia, the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side are on a six-match losing streak.

They've won just two of their last 10 matches and have also lost 12 of their 17 completed games since the start of last year's Asia Cup.

On their day, this Pakistan squad are capable of beating any team in the world, but there is a big question mark whether they'll have the consistency to be in the mix come crunch time at this year's event.


They may have squeezed past Sri Lanka and West Indies in the ODI rankings but it's hard to see Bangladesh cracking the semi-finals, especially under the new format where all 10 teams play all nine others in group play.

Shakib Al Hasan

Shakib Al Hasan Photo: Photosport

That doesn't mean, though, they can't be a factor.

On several occasions since their graduation to full member status, Bangladesh have proved their ability to upset the top nations, most notably sending England out of the 2015 tournament with a stunning 15-run win.

Other teams will be wary not to be complacent, but 11 wins from 30 games against teams above them in the (current) rankings since the last World Cup hardly suggests big things are on the horizon.

Sri Lanka

The good old days of Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Muralitharan are long gone and, of all 10 teams competing at the World Cup, none arguably come into the tournament with less to be optimistic about than Sri Lanka.

The 1996 champions have lost 16 of their 19 completed ODIs over the past year, including 13 of their last 14.

The numbers don't get any better when you extend the timeframe, with just 23 wins from 79 completed games since they were thumped in the quarterfinals of the 2015 competition.

A mid table finish would be a decent result for a team who will likely rely heavily on classy veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews.

West Indies

A team unlikely to go all the way, but certain to keep all nine others on edge, the Windies signalled just how dangerous they can be by pushing, and sometimes dominating, tournament favourites England during their recent series in the Caribbean.

The series finished in a 2-all tie, with star batsman Chris Gayle bludgeoning 424 runs across the four completed games.

Chris Gayle (left)

Blockbusting West Indian batsman Chris Gayle will play in what will likely be his last Cricket World Cup. Photo: Photosport

Opposition bowlers will also have taken notice of the selection of all-rounder Andre Russell, one of the star's of this year's IPL.

For all that though, their record of 17 wins from 58 games since the 2015 tournament doesn't exactly hint they will add a third title to their 1975 and 1979 triumphs.


They may be the lowest ranked team in the tournament, but Afghanistan have undoubtedly made significant strides in recent times.

This was no better evidenced than the Asia Cup last September, where they beat Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to top their group before coming within one run of a huge upset in their tied 'Super Four' match against India.

In leg-spinner Rashid Khan, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan have three players consistently capable of mixing it with the world's best.

With one win from six matches in their maiden World Cup in 2015, it wouldn't be a shock to see them add at least a couple more second time around.

Check out RNZ's dedicated Cricket World Cup page for all the latest news, interviews and analysis.

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