Cricket World Cup referred to as the "Olympics of Cricket" is all set to begin from May 30. There has been a significant change in the tournament`s format this year.
Only the top ten teams will be taking part in this World Cup and they will all play each other in a round-robin format before the semi-finals stage.
So as the tournament dawns upon us, here`s a look at the most exciting matches to look forward to in this edition. The high voltage matches between India and Pakistan and England vs Australia have been left out of this list.
India v Australia: Both these teams will clash against each other on June 9. In the series between these two sides earlier this year, the Aussies were able to stun India 3-2 in the five-match series. What made this feat even more remarkable was that Australia were without their star duo of David Warner and Steve Smith.
With both these players coming back in the World Cup squad, Australia poses a great threat to the Men in Blue.
The Indian team is a top-order heavy lineup and the Aussies have depth in their bowling to disrupt the strategy of the Indians. So expect a mouth-watering clash.
England v West Indies: These two sides clash with each other on June 14. Both these teams possess big-hitting batsmen. England and West Indies took on each other in February this year and the five-match series was tied at 2-2.
In the fourth ODI, England posted 418 runs on the board and the Windies almost chased it down, falling just 29 runs short. With Andre Russell and Chris Gayle, Windies have the potential of exploiting England`s bowling lineup. So one can expect a run-feast at the Rose Bowl.
Australia v South Africa: These two teams lock horns with each other on July 6. It will be the first time that both David Warner and Steve Smith will feature in a match between Australia and South Africa since the ball-tampering saga.
Warner and Smith were handed a one-year ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in a Test match between these two sides in Cape Town in 2018. One can expect sparks to fly as both these teams have the best bowling lineups in the tournament.
Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada are in good form for the Proteas whereas Starc, Cummins are expected to start in the playing XI for the Aussies. In batting-friendly conditions, this match has the potential of being dominated by the bowlers.
Pakistan v Afghanistan: These two Asian teams clash with each other on June 29. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan can be a force to reckon with on their day. Afghanistan has the best spin bowlers in the tournament. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman will hold the key for Afghanistan`s chances in the World Cup.
Pakistan are coming off a bad run in the ODI format. They were recently beaten 4-0 by England in the five-match series. But the team cannot be taken lightly as they are the winners of the 2017 Champions Trophy.
One cannot expect how both Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to perform, so this match has the potential of going down to the wire.
India v England: Both these sides clash with each other on June 30 in the group stage. Many people have already termed these two teams as the finalists of the World Cup.
England is currently the number one ranked team in the ODI format whereas India is positioned at number two.
England possibly have the best batting lineup in the tournament with their players like Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan being in good form.
The Men in Blue have a settled lineup and they also have the bowling attack to disrupt England`s batting plans.
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have the ability to bog down the English batsmen. One can expect a nail-biting thriller when these two teams take on each other.
The much-awaited World Cup is scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom from May 30 to July 14. England will play against South Africa in the curtain-raiser at The Oval in London.