The Five Best Games to Watch at the Cricket World Cup

Oct 2, 2023 | Article

The Five Best Games to Watch at the Cricket World Cup

With the World Cup starting there are 48 games coming up over the next six and half weeks for you
to feast your eyes on and whilst we can’t predict which games are going to be the most entertaining
here are the five group stage matches we are looking forward to the most.

England vs New Zealand
The first game of the tournament is always exciting as the months of build up and anticipation is all
released. This tournament is no different as we kick things off with a mouth-watering tie between
the finalists of the 2019 World Cup England and New Zealand. These two are very closely matched
and have had some thrilling encounters over the last few years including the test match in
Wellington earlier this year, a T20 world cup semi-final in 2021 and of course the all-time classic that
was the 2019 World Cup final. They have also just competed in a ODI series in England where the
hosts came out relatively comfortable 3-1 winners. However both teams have got hopes of winning
this tournament and will want to start things off with a statement win in this opening fixture.
Key Battle: Trent Boult vs the England top order – Something that could decide this game is how
England bat in the powerplay. If they get off to a quick start it could be difficult for the Kiwi’s to keep
the total down with a lack of quality spin options however if Trent Boult can pick up a few early
wickets it would go a long way to keeping the total down. England do bat deep though as we saw in
Southampton where despite being 55-5 they were still able to post a match winning score.
Both teams will want to start the tournament well so this should be a tightly contested match.

India vs Pakistan
One of if not the biggest rivalry in the sport, every game between these two is fiercely contested and
with a World Cup on the line this one will be no different. They are currently the number one and
number two ranked ODI sides respectively as well as having the two highest ranked batters in the
game in Babar Azam and Subman Gill so there will be plenty of talent on display. There have been
134 different ODI meetings between them with Pakistan having the slight historical edge winning 73
times. However, Pakistan have never beaten India at an ICC World Cup as India have won all seven
times the teams have met at the tournament. The home fans will be hoping this trend can continue
but Babar Azam and his men will be hoping to play spoiler and ruin their next door neighbours day.
Key Battle: Shaheen Shah Afridi vs Rohit Sharma – One of the world’s best in with the bat vs one of
the world’s best with the ball. Not only that but Shaheen also has a history of dismissing Rohit early
in the innings. Think back to the 2021 T20 world cup where Shaheen trapped him LBW first ball with
a beautiful inswinger. Just a month ago he got him out early in the Asia cup as well as he swung one
back to castle him for just 11. However, the India captain responded with a well made 50 in the
second match up between the sides later in the tournament. This battle will be key to deciding the
outcome of this fixture.These games are always closely fought and this one will be no different.

New Zealand vs South Africa
Two teams who have historically been the bridesmaids and never the bride when it comes to ICC
tournaments as both nations are yet to win an ICC tournament. They’ll be hoping to change that at
this tournament and both teams are powered by strong, powerful batting lineups so there is every
chance this one is a high scoring affair. They put on an entertaining encounter in the 2015 semi-final
as some Grant Elliot heroics saw the Kiwi’s win with just 1 ball remaining. With this game coming
slightly later in the tournament it could have massive qualification implications with both teams
trying to progress through to the semi finals.
Key Battle: Henrich Klassen v Glenn Phillips – Two middle order batters capable of ruining the game
with their mix of power and destruction as well as their innovation to hit to all parts of the ground.
Klassen showcased his talents with a brilliant 174 off of 83 balls against Australia at Centurion as well
has having several important innings as he was a part of the Oval Invincibles side that won the
Hundred earlier this year. Phillips like-wised impressed in his recent ODI series against England
where he struck a well made 72 with wickets falling around him as he tried to get New Zealand
across the line. Look for one of these two to score big runs to power their team to victory.
With both teams hoping to qualify for the knockout stages this game could be very important later in
the tournament.

England vs India
Arguably the two favourites for the tournament as the hosts and the holders will compete in
Lucknow on the 29 th October in what could be a preview of the final. The two teams are strong from
top to bottom with prolific run scorers, destructive lower order batters and strong bowling attack.
England haven’t played much fifty over cricket in the last couple of years unlike India who have won
15 of their 21 games in 2023 but they are currently the white ball champs holding both the T20 and
fifty over trophy. These two teams met on England’s way to T20 glory a year ago as Jos Buttler and
Alex Hales put the Indian bowling attack to the sword chasing 168 in just 16 overs without the loss of
the wicket.
Key battle: Mohammed Siraj vs Chris Woakes – With both teams boasting such strong batting
lineups it could be the bowlers that prove vital to winning this one as early wickets could set them
up for success. Siraj is currently the number one ranked bowler in the world and has recently just
obliterated Sri Lanka’s order in the Asia cup final taking 6-21. Woakes is England’s highest ranked
bowler and was critical to their 2019 success as he took wickets at both the start and end of innings
to help reduce the opposition’s score. With both being the leader of their respective attacks
whoever has the better day could be the deciding outcome.
This may not be the only meeting between these two sides as both are expected to go deep into this
tournament but this should give a thrilling insight of what’s to come.

Australia vs Bangladesh
With this being the last game of the group stage it could be an early start to the knockout stages
with one of the sides needing to win to progress. Depending on how successful these two teams are
this game could end up being a dead rubber but that is unlikely as both sides are hoping to go deep
into this tournament. Bangladesh have been in a situation similar to this when they knocked England
out of the 2015 World Cup to send themselves through in Adelaide. Australia will be hoping to
already be qualified by this stage but if they are needing a win to progress it won’t come easily
against an unpredictable Bangladesh side.
Key battle: Mahmudullah vs Aussie attack – Australia have an exceptionally strong bowling attack
spear headed by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. They also have the X-factor of leg spinner Adam
Zampa who is a strong pick to be leading wicket taker at the tournament in favourable spinning
conditions. Whilst Bangladesh’s batter has struggled of recent as they were blown away by the pace
of Haris Rauf in the Asia Cup they’ll be hoping Mahmudullah can bring his experience to the table
and power them to a decent score. He’s got a history of scoring important runs for the tigers with a a
brilliant hundred against England in 2015 as well as an unbeaten hundred against New Zealand in
the 2017 champions trophy. If Bangladesh want a chance of winning they’ll need Mahmudullah to be
at his brilliant best.
This could give us an early start to the knockout stages with at least one of them potentially needing
a win to progress.

by Daniel Sampson