The 2011 Cricket World Cup is scheduled for February 19 through April 2 at 13 different venues in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. A total of 14 cricket nations will compete in the event’s championship round. The teams will be evenly divided into two groups of 7, with the top 4 of each group advancing to the quarterfinals. Australia is the defending champion of the ICC Cricket World Cup; the country is also the most successful at this event, with 4 titles in total. This article previews the 2011 Cricket World Cup as well as offers predictions & schedule information.
As cricket is enormously popular in South Asia, it is only appropriate that Cricket World Cup 2011 will be hosted by a conglomerate of South Asian countries. India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are set to host the 10th edition of the sport’s most important competition. Pakistan was originally scheduled to co-host the event, but was stripped of this right following a major security incident in 2009. With matches planned in three different months, the ICC Cricket World Cup is undoubtedly the longest of all major sporting competitions (non-club).
No other team at the 2011 Cricket World Cup has achieved more success in the quadrennial event than Australia. The defending champion has comprehensively dominated this competition, winning it a record 4 times (out of 9 contested World Cups.) The Land Down Under also finished second on two different occasions. Australia comes into the ICC Cricket World Cup in good form, after having downed a determined English team at home in one-day international. The team also enjoyed a fine 2009-10 season, winning a number of important contests and tournaments. Barring major injuries to its players, Australia is definitely the odds-on favorite to win the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
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South Asian countries are also among the favorites to triumph at this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup. With the exception of Bangladesh, each of the participants from South Asia has won this prestigious event at least once. Playing on home turf, these teams will be particularly dangerous. It should not be a surprise, if the championship game is to be between two of the three hosts. The four South Asian countries (Pakistan included) come in the 2011 Cricket World Cup in solid form. India was the winner of the 2010 Asia Cup. Sri Lanka, the runner-up at the last Cricket World Cup, reached the semifinals of the 2010 World Twenty20 tournament. Finally, Bangladesh grabbed the gold medal in men’s cricket at the 2010 Asian Games. The only question mark at this year’s competition is Pakistan, which is currently marred by a match-fixing controversy.
The dark horse at the 2011 Cricket World Cup is England. The originator of the cricket game has never won this important event. The team’s best performance to date was a runner-up finish (on three different occasions.) However, England has slowly regained its grounds in recent years, becoming increasingly competitive against cricket’s best. Case in point, the team defeated powerhouse Australia on the road in the 2010-11 Ashes series and tied with the same team in the Twenty20 series. If the team could earn a high seed from the group stage, England has a very decent shot at winning the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time ever.
My prediction for the 2011 Cricket World Cup: the championship game will be a rematch of the 2007 final, with Sri Lanka defeating Australia to win its second Cup. The event will be played in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The first match will be contested on February 19; the knockout stage begins March 23, with the final match scheduled for April 2nd. Viewers in the U.S. can watch this competition through DirecTV pay coverage. Group A includes Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Canada, New Zealand, and Kenya. Group B includes India, West Indies, England, South Africa, Bangladesh, Ireland, and the Netherlands.