CRICKET WORLD CUP 2023
Cricket World Cup 2023. Everything you need to know about the event this year Here's the skinny on everything from the complexities of net run rate to the weather at the locations and the potential winners.
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You're probably thinking of the one England won in 2022, the one Australia won in 2021, and another in 2024. Still, those were and will all be in the Twenty 20 format - 20 overs a side for the uninitiated - whereas this one offers twice the fun, with each inning lasting 50 overs. The most recent men's World Cup 2023 in this style took place in 2019. This one begins on October 5th, 2023and concludes 46 days later on November 19th, 2023.
There are Ten Teams: Nine full member nations (the Test-playing countries) and one associate member of the International Cricket Council. Ireland, Zimbabwe, and the West Indies are the missing trio, having won the first two World Cups, reached the final of the third, and have never failed to qualify previously. Only the top two finishers in this year's final qualifying round, held in Zimbabwe in June and July, advanced to the finals, and West Indies placed fifth in the Super Six stage, losing to everyone but Oman. Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, the one associate nation, emerged from the pack, the former with a perfect record and the latter with a net run rate somewhat higher than Scotland's and significantly higher than Zimbabwe's, all three teams finishing on equal points.
Cricket doesn’t just offer thrilling sport, you see, there’s exciting maths to do as well. In addition to popular group-stage tiebreaker net run rate (the average number of runs a team scores per available over minus the average runs per over scored against them. The word available is key here because if a team is bowled out after, say, 22 overs the calculation is made using the full 50 they might have faced had they been less clumsy) there’s also the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, or DLS to its friends, used to calculate a fair target score in a rain-interrupted match, which would be far too complicated to explain here even if we understood it well enough to try but seems to do its job reasonably well.
Yes, there was. The 2019 final between England and New Zealand finished in a draw, thus the sides played a super over in which they each faced six extra-legal deliveries and were still level at the conclusion. So there was a boundary countback, in which England won 26-17 by adding up the number of fours and sixes scored by each side during the day. Everyone felt that was ridiculous, so if the same circumstance arises in this year's knockout stages, the teams will just play as many super-overs as necessary to split them.
Is there going to be rain? Most likely. This year's hosts are India, and while October is nearing the conclusion of its rainy season, several of the host towns are still far from dry. As a general rule, the more south you travel at this time of year, the greater the likelihood of rain, thus Dharamsala, the tournament's northernmost location, has approximately two wet days on average in October, while Bengaluru, the tournament's southernmost destination, has about 11. The three knockout matches all have reserve days, although the group stage is large enough without them.
How large exactly? The structure groups all ten teams into one large group, meaning 45 games will have been played, or at least attempted, by the time everyone has met each other, and whoever finishes in the top four spots advances to the semi-finals. The same format was used in 2019, however, this will be its final appearance, with the event extended to 14 teams in 2027. Games are played in ten venues spread around the country, however, some teams travel more than others: most have at least one week-long, two-game stint in one location. New Zealand and Afghanistan are two lucky couples. Only the United Kingdom and India are continuously on the move.
That appears to be a considerable disadvantage. Apparently not: India is the betting favorite (and the previous three 50-over World Cups have been won by host countries), followed by England (winner of the last World Cup), Australia (winner of the one before that), and Pakistan (who haven't won since 1992 but are pretty good). The Netherlands are definitely outsiders, but each squad has enough skill to pose serious issues for anyone who underestimates them. The structure of the tournament follows the nature of the competition: there is ample time for teams to fail a number of times and yet turn it around, like in one-day internationals.
With only two semi-finals and a final, at least the knockout rounds will be straightforward Well, kind of. In theory, the semi-finals will pit the team that tops the supergroup against the fourth-placed side in Mumbai, while the teams that end up second and third will face each other in Kolkata. But if Pakistan is involved they will play in Kolkata wherever they finish, which might mean the second and third teams end up in Mumbai, and if India qualifies they will play in Mumbai wherever they finish, which could push the first and fourth teams to Kolkata, though if both India and Pakistan qualify and have to play each other they default to Kolkata. In short, best to hold off on the hotel bookings for now.
Nothing beats putting things off till the last minute. That does appear to be a recurring trend. When the latest ODI World Cup was held in England in 2019, the entire schedule was revealed on April 26, 2018, a little more than a year before the tournament began, and the last tickets went on sale on September 27, 250 days before the event began. This time, the timetable was released on June 27, however, it had to be altered due to different concerns and scheduling conflicts. The final version, which saw nine games moved to different days or start times "with the aim of providing the best possible World Cup experience to players and fans," was released less than two months before the big event, and only then could organizers begin to sell tickets, with the first going on sale on August 25, about five weeks before they will be used.
What do the winners receive? A medal, sports immortality, the opportunity to hoist a great prize, and a plethora of emotions and waves of energy. If that isn't enough incentive, there's also a $4 million portion of a $10 million prize pool. This is the same as in 2019, with the ICC's budgets stretched by its recent commitment to pay equal prize money in the equivalent women's competition (the last women's 50-over World Cup had to make do with a prize pot of $3.5m, which was double what was on offer in the previous tournament, so we're not talking about a small change).
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