World Cups. Cricket just cannot get enough of them.
The latest global event takes place in India over the next two months as England aim to defend the 50-over crown they won at home in 2019 in such dramatic style. By the barest of margins, if you recall.
Jos Buttler’s side will be looking to make it two white-ball World Cup victories in as many years after triumphing at the T20 version in Australia in the autumn of 2022.
So, what are their chances, who are their main rivals, how does the 10-team competition work, where are the games taking place, which players are involved, and why are West Indies absent?
Read on for our ultimate guide to the 2023 Men’s 50-over World Cup – including how you can watch and follow every match on Sky Sports – ahead of the opening game between England and New Zealand in Ahmedabad on Thursday (9.30am start), a repeat of that epic 2019 final at Lord’s…
When is the Cricket World Cup?
The 13th edition of the men’s 50-over World Cup will be held in India between Thursday October 5 and Sunday November 19 with 10 venues hosting games – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamshala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune – and EVERY MATCH live on Sky Sports.
The group stage runs until November 12 before the semi-finals are staged on Wednesday November 15 and Thursday November 16.
The final will then take place in Ahmedabad on Sunday November 19.
Which teams are involved?
New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan and South Africa earned the automatic spots after finishing in the top eight of the 13-team ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, although India would have made the tournament anyway as competition hosts.
The World Cup line-up was completed by Sri Lanka and Netherlands after both sides came through the 10-team qualifying competition in Zimbabwe this summer.
Netherlands won a winner-takes-all clash with Scotland to secure their spot as they finished second to unbeaten Sri Lanka in a tournament which also included West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe.
So, no West Indies?
Nope. The winners of the first two editions of the World Cup, in England in 1975 and 1979, will be notable absentees, failing to qualify for the first time in their history.
West Indies came ninth in the Super League while they were then eliminated in the Super Six stage of the qualifier with a seven-wicket defeat to Scotland confirming their fate. The Caribbean side lost four matches all told in the qualifier, also going down to Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
Perhaps that should not have come as a great surprise with West Indies failing to reach the main stage of the T20 World Cup in Australia last year, but it will still be weird watching a 50-over World Cup without this once formidable cricketing nation in it.
How does the tournament work?
Each side plays the other nine once in a round-robin format with the top four teams then advancing to the semi-finals. Teams earn two points for a win in the group stage and one for a tie or no-result.
The sides finishing first and fourth will play in the first semi-final on November 15, while the second and third-placed teams will meet in the second semi-final a day later.
What happened in the 2019 World Cup final?
Even if you are not a cricket nut, you must remember England’s nerve-jangling win over New Zealand at Lord’s in one of the greatest games of all time, if not the greatest. Eoin Morgan’s men, as they were back then, prevailed on boundary countback after they and New Zealand scored 241 apiece in their regulation 50 overs and then could not be separated in the Super Over as they both made 15.
England wicketkeeper Buttler ran out a despairing Martin Guptill after collecting Jason Roy’s throw from midwicket, denying New Zealand the second run that would have won them the cup and ensuring the home side took it for the first time in their history “by the barest of all margins”.
The victory marked a remarkable turnaround for England, not just from four years previous when they were dumped out in the group stage playing an antiquated brand of cricket but also from earlier in the tournament when successive defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia left them close to elimination.
Back-to-back wins over New Zealand and India followed, before they demolished Australia in the semi-finals and then went on to edge the Black Caps at the Home of Cricket as Ben Stokes starred with the bat and Jofra Archer did just enough with the ball in the Super Over.
Who should contend for the title this time?
England are up there again.
They currently hold both white-ball World Cup titles simultaneously – the first men’s side to do that – and as many as eight of the players that featured in the 2019 triumph could line up against New Zealand in this year’s opener, in Buttler, Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali.
Stokes has come out of ODI retirement to give England a swashbuckling and stabilising presence in the middle order but will not bowl as he continues to deal with a longstanding left knee issue.
India are most people’s favourites, with the host nation having won each of the the last three 50-over World Cups (India in 2011, Australia in 2015, England in 2019).
India possess two of the greatest white-ball batters off all time in captain Rohit Sharma and former skipper Virat Kohli – the latter is now only two hundreds shy of matching Sachin Tendulkar’s record 49 in ODI cricket – and a varied bowling attack but it has been a decade since they last won a global ICC event with a number of semi-final exits in that time.
Pakistan and Australia must never be ruled out and New Zealand have reached the last two finals but could this finally be South Africa’s year?
In the Proteas’ favour is a plethora of hard-hitting batters and wicket-taking bowlers. Against them is history. They have made eight World Cup semi-finals across 50-over and 20-over cricket but never a final with the “chokers” tag following them around.
When and where are England’s World Cup fixtures?
- Thursday October 5 – vs New Zealand, Ahmedabad (0930 BST)
- Tuesday October 10 – vs Bangladesh, Dharamshala (0600 BST)
- Sunday October 15 – vs Afghanistan, Delhi (0930 BST)
- Saturday, October 21 – vs South Africa, Mumbai (0930 BST)
- Thursday October 26 – vs Sri Lanka, Bangalore (0930 BST)
- Sunday October 29 – vs India, Lucknow (0830 BST)
- Saturday November 4 – vs Australia, Ahmedabad (0830BST)
- Wednesday November 8 – vs Netherlands, Pune (0830 BST)
- Saturday November 11 – vs Pakistan, Kolkata (0830 BST)
What other group games stand out?
India vs Pakistan, obviously. Political tensions mean these nations rarely play each other these days so when they lock horns in global events it is something to truly savour.
India thrashed Pakistan by a whopping 281 runs in the recent Asia Cup in Sri Lanka but that will quickly be forgotten by Pakistan fans if their side win the World Cup encounter in Ahmedabad on Saturday October 14.
India begin their home World Cup against Australia in Chennai on Sunday October 8, while Pakistan’s fixture with Australia is in Bangalore on Friday October 20.
Australia will battle South Africa in Lucknow on Thursday October 12 and then meet Antipodean rivals New Zealand in Dharamshala on Saturday October 28.
Cricket World Cup squads
Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rahmat Shah, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil,Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Abdul Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen-Ul-Haq.
Australia: Pat Cummins (captain), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mehedi Hasan, Towhid Hridoy, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Tanzim Hasan, Tanzid Hasan, Mahmudullah.
England: Jos Buttler (captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav.
Netherlands: Scott Edwards (captain), Max O’Dowd, Bas de Leede, Vikram Singh, Teja Nidamanuru, Paul van Meekeren, Colin Ackermann, Roelof van der Merwe, Logan van Beek, Aryan Dutt, Ryan Klein, Wesley Barresi, Saqib Zulfiqar, Shariz Ahmad, Sybrand Engelbrecht.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Gerald Coetzee, Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Marco Jansen, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Lizaad Williams.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka.
Which big-name players have missed out?
Not as many as this last time last week. India off-spinner Ravinchandran Ashwin and Australia batter Marnus Labuschagne were left out of their sides’ initial squads but earned late call-ups after injuries to Axar Patel and Ashton Agar respectively.
The World Cup will still be without some notable names, though, in Pakistan quick Naseem Shah (shoulder), South Africa speedster Anrich Nortje (back), Sri Lanka all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga (hamstring) and England batter Roy.
Roy’s back spasms prevented him from featuring in the ODI series against New Zealand and he subsequently lost his place in the squad to Harry Brook.
Archer is also not in England’s 15-man party but will travel as a reserve and could be called into the squad should there be a tournament-ending injury to one of his team-mates.
How can I follow on Sky Sports?
Every game is live on Sky Sports and NOW, while there will be highlights on the Sky Sports Cricket channel, too.
Sky Sports News and skysports.com will bring you the latest from India over the course of the competition.
You can follow live over-by-over blogs of all England games and selected other matches on skysports.com and the Sky Sports App, while our digital platforms will carry news, reports, reports, features and pundit analysis as well.
Cricket World Cup – full fixture list
Group stage (all times BST or GMT)
October 5 – England vs New Zealand (0930 BST)
October 6 – Pakistan vs Netherlands (0930 BST)
October 7 – Bangladesh vs Afghanistan (0600 BST)
October 7 – South Africa vs Sri Lanka (0930 BST)
October 8 – India vs Australia (0930 BST)
October 9 – New Zealand vs Netherlands (0930 BST)
October 10 – England vs Bangladesh (0600 BST)
October 10 – Pakistan vs Sri Lanka (0930 BST)
October 11 – India vs Afghanistan (0930 BST)
October 12 – Australia vs South Africa (0930 BST)
October 13 – New Zealand vs Bangladesh (0930 BST)
October 14 – India vs Pakistan (0930 BST)
October 15 – England vs Afghanistan (0930 BST)
October 16 – Australia vs Sri Lanka (0930 BST)
October 17 – South Africa vs Netherlands (0930 BST)
October 18 – New Zealand vs Afghanistan (0930 BST)
October 19 – India vs Bangladesh (0930 BST)
October 20 – Australia vs Pakistan (0930 BST)
October 21 – Netherlands vs Sri Lanka (0600 BST)
October 21 – England vs South Africa (0930 BST)
October 22 – India vs New Zealand (0930 BST)
October 23 – Pakistan vs Afghanistan (0930 BST)
October 24 – South Africa v Bangladesh (0930 BST)
October 25 – Australia vs Netherlands (0930 BST)
October 26 – England vs Sri Lanka (0930 BST)
October 27 – Pakistan vs South Africa (0930 BST)
October 28 – Australia vs New Zealand (0600 BST)
October 28 – Netherlands vs Bangladesh (0930 BST)
October 29 – India vs England (0830 GMT)
October 30 – Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka (0830 GMT)
October 31 – Pakistan vs Bangladesh (0830 GMT)
November 1 – New Zealand vs South Africa (0830 GMT)
November 2 – India vs Sri Lanka (0830 GMT)
November 3 – Netherlands vs Afghanistan (0830 GMT)
November 4 – New Zealand vs Pakistan (0500 GMT)
November 4 – England vs Australia (0830 GMT)
November 5 – India vs South Africa (0830 GMT)
November 6 – Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka (0830 GMT)
November 7 – Australia vs Afghanistan (0830 GMT)
November 8 – England vs Netherlands (0830 GMT)
November 9 – New Zealand vs Sri Lanka, (0830 GMT)
November 10 – South Africa vs Afghanistan (0830 GMT)
November 11 – Australia vs Bangladesh (0500 GMT)
November 11 – England vs Pakistan (0830 GMT)
November 12 – India vs Netherlands (0830 GMT)
Knockout stage (all times BST or GMT)
November 15 – First semi-final (0830 GMT)
November 16 – Second semi-final (0830 GMT)
November 19 – Final (0830 GMT)