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Cricket World Cup odds: Pressure the biggest problem for England

The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup will feature 10 countries and takes place between May 30 and July 14.

England are the host nation and favourites in the Cricket World Cup odds but will face stern competition from the likes of India and Australia.

Here we assess the chances of each of the 10 teams taking part.

England

It is incredible to think of three-time runners-up England's transformation since crashing out of the 2015 World Cup with defeat to minnows Bangladesh.

With a defensive mindset in the distant past, Eoin Morgan's side have revolutionised the 50-over game with a brand of attacking cricket that has seen them break records and reach the top of the rankings.

England have not lost an ODI series since the trip to India in 2016-17 and even without the suspended Alex Hales they have the depth to destroy most teams as they have proved in a series whitewash of Pakistan.

The addition of Barbados-born pace bowler Jofra Archer has also strengthened England's attack and boosted their hopes of a maiden 50-over World Cup.

The only thing holding England back could be the weight of expectation on their shoulders.

India

On paper, India are England's closest challengers. Led by the influential Virat Kohli, they always seem to have a squad capable of beating anyone in limited-overs cricket.

India furthered their development in English conditions during a one-day international series in the summer of 2018. Although they came out the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline, they will be better for the experience and are in good condition to compete for a third World Cup despite losing 3-2 to Australia on home soil from 2-0 up a couple of months ago.

Australia

The defending champions may no longer dominate the international ladndscape, but they followed their recent win in India with a 5-0 whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE.

Those victories came in the absence of former skipper Steve Smith and David Warner whose returns from year-long international bans mean Australia may well be challenging for a sixth World Cup victory.

Warner was the top scorer in the IPL with 692 runs from 12 innings and could form a destructive partnership with Aaron Finch at the top of the order.

New Zealand

The Black Caps finally came of age in 2015, reaching their maiden final playing a care-free brand of cricket under Brendon McCullum, who has since retired.

Now under the stewardship of the impressive Kane Williamson, New Zealand are among the dark horses. Over the last few years the Kiwis have always competed with the likes of England and India, but ended up losing series by the odd game.

Their seamers will be crucial in English conditions.

South Africa

The term 'chokers' is often used to describe South Africa at World Cups. That stemmed from the famous 1999 semi-final against Australia when, with one run needed with one wicket remaining, a horrifying run out saw them crash out after finishing lower than their opponents in the Super Sixes table.

It seems they have never recovered and, despite having the likes of AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn in their ranks, a penultimate-ball last-four defeat to New Zealand four years ago denied them another maiden final appearance.

They head into the tournament in decent form though having won five of their last six one-day series, including a 2-1 victory in Australia in November thanks to centuries from captain Faf du Plessis and David Miller in a record-breaking 252-run fourth-wicket partnership in the decider.

Pakistan

Pakistan are always an intriguing side. Often entering a tournament in slight disarray, they have a habit of upsetting the odds and proving a point.

They did that in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England, stunning the hosts in the semis and then arch rivals India in the final to win the title.

It seems form does not matter when it comes to the 1992 winners, who beat England in that final, meaning their long Cricket World Cup odds could be slightly misleading.

West Indies

Two-time World Cup winners West Indies certainly have the talent to win global tournaments. They have shown that by winning the 2012 and 2016 World T20s, while also producing a stunning comeback to beat England and claim the Champions Trophy at The Oval in 2004.

But recently their stock has fallen in the 50-over game and, along with Afghanistan, they were made to qualify for the World Cup.

Their problems are highlighted by the fact they have not won an ODI series since 2014, although encouragingly they drew 2-2 with England on home soil a few months ago following a woeful batting performance from the tourists in the fifth match.

Sri Lanka

Similar to Australia, Sri Lanka have not found replacements for retired stars such as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in recent years. They have struggled to field settled sides and their results have suffered in ODIs.

They may have stunned the world in 1996, when they beat Australia by seven wickets in the final in Lahore, but it is unlikely they will get close to doing that at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Since winning a tri-nation series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2017-18, Sri Lanka have lost their last four ODI series and recently suffered 5-0 and 3-0 whitewashes against South Africa and New Zealand respectively.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh eliminated England at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and went on to reach the quarter-finals which they immediately followed with victories against Pakistan, India and South Africa in ODI series.

Their recent results have not gone to plan, though, having been beaten 3-0 by New Zealand in February, yet they are capable of producing an upset on their day. However, going all the way in 2019 may be a step too far.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan won the qualifiers in Zimbabwe to secure a second appearance at the 50-over tournament. They broke new ground four years ago, beating Scotland by one wicket in a thriller in Dunedin on their debut.

The Afghans proved they can be a test for any side in the world in the 2018 Asia Cup, beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before tying with India.

However, they are not yet at a level where they can compete with the best nations on a regular basis as reflected in their Cricket World Cup odds.

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Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Cricket