ODI World Cup 2023: Five key matches at to look forward to in the tournament


With the Cricket World Cup schedule announced, we take a look at some of the key group stage matches that could determine who takes the cup

India v Pakistan – Ahmedabad – October 15
Matches between India and Pakistan are always a crowd puller and highly anticipated and when they occur at a World Cup then the expectations are amplified to another level.

India has dominated this match-up, winning all seven clashes between the two rivals at 50-over World Cups.

At the last edition of the 50-over showcase, it was Rohit Sharma that proved the difference, with the current India skipper scoring a brilliant 140 to lead his side to a comprehensive 89-run (DLS method) victory in Manchester.

Rohit will be hoping to replicate that effort this time around in Ahmedabad, but his opposing skipper and world No.1 ODI batter Babar Azam is sure to be just as keen to give Pakistan the bragging rights.

And fans of the team in blue will be hoping for a repeat of Virat Kohli’s heroics from last year’s T20 World Cup in Melbourne, where he led India to a thrilling triumph over Pakistan in a dramatic run chase in front of a massive crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

England v New Zealand, Ahmedabad – October 5

The thrilling final at the most recent edition of the World Cup remains one of the most memorable cricket matches of all time and the two combatants will renew rivalries in the tournament opener later this year.

And on first impression it looks like England and New Zealand will both be around the mark when the whips start cracking at the business end of the tournament, so a win first up will be imperative as teams look to obtain some early momentum.

Whether inspirational skipper Kane Williamson is fit remains to be seen. New Zealand will be hoping that the veteran skipper overcomes his knee injury in time to help the Black Caps try to gain revenge for their narrow defeat to England four years ago.

England has been a force against the white ball in recent times and will be confident of adding this piece of silverware to the 2019 World Cup title and 2022 T20 World Cup crown they won in Australia.

India v Australia – Chennai – October 8

This is a massive contest for a host of reasons as two of the best 50-over sides in world cricket go head-to-head and attempt to make a flying start to the tournament.

All eyes will be on Chennai on October 8 as India plays their first match of the World Cup and Rohit Sharma’s side will have their work cut out against five-time champions Australia.

The two teams will know each other quite well so there aren’t likely to be too many surprises and it wouldn’t shock to see plenty of runs scored in this clash.

A win here would be the perfect way for the tournament hosts to kickstart their World Cup campaign, but Australia will be out to prove a point and show they are in the mix to emulate the first World Cup title they won on Indian soil in 1987.

India may have extra incentive as well, having just lost to Australia in the ICC World Test Championship Final at The Oval in London.

Australia v South Africa, Lucknow – October 13

South Africa won only three matches at the 2019 World Cup, but interestingly one of those victories came in the final group match of the event when they defeated Australia in Manchester on the back of a superb century from Faf du Plessis.

Whether the star South Africa batter will be seen in India is unclear, but the veteran right-hander had a big impact during this year’s Indian Premier League to show he is more than capable against the white ball.

If the Proteas can defeat Sri Lanka in their tournament opener in Delhi, then this clash in Lucknow becomes a big match as they look to reach the knockout stages of the event for the first time since 2015.

Australia face hosts India in their first appearance at the event and the matches don’t get any easier as they take on the dangerous Proteas who boast a formidable fast bowling line-up that may include Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi.

Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Dharamsala – October 7

Bangladesh was among the surprise packets during the qualifying process for this World Cup as the Asian side finished above many higher-ranked sides when finishing in third place during the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.

To further the momentum, they gained from that event, it will be imperative for Bangladesh to flex their collective muscle and register a victory in their first appearance at the 50-over showcase against a more than capable Afghanistan outfit.

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