Only a couple of days until the biggest cricket event in the world starts

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Cricket player in action

The largest cricket tournament on the international stage, the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, begins on October 5 in India.

The first game will be played at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium between the finalists from 2019, England and New Zealand.

The Cricket World Cup will span 46 days, during which ten teams will compete for the men’s one-day international (ODI) cricket championship, culminating in a final on November 19.

The ten teams participating in this year’s event are India, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

The West Indies, two-time winners, surprisingly did not qualify for this tournament, failing to secure one of the nine qualification spots. India earned an automatic spot as the host nation, while the remaining nine countries had to undergo a three-year qualification process, involving multiple stages and smaller tournaments. Seven teams, including defending champions England, qualified based on their performance in the ICC Super League, which ran from July 2020 to May 2023. The Netherlands and Sri Lanka secured the final two spots by excelling in the knockout qualification stage earlier this year.

The initial stage of the tournament will feature a round-robin format, with each team facing all others once, totalling 45 matches. This phase will conclude on November 12 with a match between India and the Netherlands in Bengaluru. The top four teams at the end of the round-robin stage will advance to the semifinals. The first semifinal, on November 15 in Mumbai, will feature the teams ranked first and fourth, while the second semifinal, on November 16 in Kolkata, will involve the second and third-ranked teams.

Matches will be spread across various cities in India, the host cities being Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamshala, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune.

Before the final, the most highly anticipated match of the Cricket World Cup will be India versus Pakistan, taking place on October 14 in Ahmedabad. Indian media reports indicate that online tickets for this match sold out in under an hour of release. India currently maintains a 7-0 record against Pakistan in Cricket World Cup matches. Given their recent success in the Asia Cup, the home team is considered the favourite.

The tournament has been marred by various controversies related to its organisation, scheduling, and arrangements for participating teams and fans. The schedule was unveiled just 100 days before the first match, drawing criticism from fans who compared it to how other major sports events release schedules months or even years in advance. Pakistan’s participation in the tournament and their travel plans to India have been affected by the strained relations between the two neighbouring countries, with visa delays from India disrupting the Pakistan team’s departure and tournament preparations.

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