Compared to the last two Cricket World Cups, the 2019 edition has the best tournament format – one that gives favourites such as India and England a better shot at winning the trophy.
Based on recent form, team strength and past experience, these are the four teams that will reach the semi-finals this time.
They are heavy favorites to reach the last four. If they miss out on a semi-final spot, it will be a massive upset.
But history is not on their side when it comes to World Cup cricket. The last time we had this same format – way back in 1992 – they were runners up to Pakistan.
After a disastrous tournament in 2015, England turned a corner in the ODI arena under the leadership of Eoin Morgan.
They have an enviable batting line-up at their disposal, starting with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow opening the batting.
In the middle order they have Joe Root, Alex Hales, Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali. Their batting depth is amazing compared to other teams in the tournament.
The bowling unit definitely knows the home conditions very well, and the likes of Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Tom Curran can do the job for England.
Jofra Archer could be a late inclusion in the final 15-man squad and David Willey might be unlucky one to miss out if Archer is selected.
After losing to Australia in the semi-final stage of the 2015 World Cup, India are the form team in ODI cricket besides England, especially over the last two years.
They have defeated South Africa, Australia and New Zealand away while losing series to England away and Australia at home.
Another loss was the 2017 Champions Trophy final, where every thing went wrong for them against a rejuvenated Pakistan team.
This match was a good example for their over-reliance on the big-hitting top three batsmen, exposing their weak middle order. This is something India need to be wary of, especially in crucial knock-out matches.
From the semi-finals, it only takes two good matches for any team to win the trophy and India has the potential and talent to pull it off.
Before their one-day series wins against India and Pakistan away, Australia were given no hope of defending their World Cup title in English conditions.
They were well below par across 2017 and 2018 before their recent surge.
With David Warner and Steve Smith back in the squad, they have a few selection headaches to deal with when it comes to settling the final line-up.
The red-hot form of Warner in the IPL all but settles the question of the opening pair.
Usman Khawaja is most likely to bat in the No.3 slot, followed by Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
The recent form of Stoinis could be a worry for Australia, but he is doing reasonably well in the IPL.
In the bowling department, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa are in excellent form of late.
Eight wins on the trot have given the Aussie team a much needed confidence boost ahead of the World Cup and they will definitely back themselves to defend the trophy.
It will be a close fight between South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies for the last semi-final spot, but South Africa will snatch it.
Even without AB de Villiers in their ranks, South Africa are still a good team in limited-overs cricket.
With a string of seasoned campaigners, the Proteas should be able to reach the semi-finals this time around.
The most noticeable absentee from their World Cup squad is all-rounder Chris Morris, missing out to Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius.
Two of the South African bowlers – Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir – are the leading wicket-takers in this year’s IPL, which will delight coach Ottis Gibson.
Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi will complete the bowling line-up.
The problem with New Zealand is their inexperience in the batting order. Apart from Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill, they don’t have any proven performers in the batting department.
Even though their bowling attack is reasonably good, they might struggle if the conditions are going to assist heavy run-making.
The West Indies have some power hitters in their squad, but they will struggle to reach the last four as they don’t have enough quality bowlers who can perform consistently in a long tournament like the World Cup.