The ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 tournament is only 3 weeks away. This year just 10 teams are going to participate with the shocking failure of the giant West Indies to qualify. It will be played in the round-robin format in the first stage, meaning each of the 10 participating teams will face every other team, at least once, in the tournament.
Let’s take a look at who and when India is going to face, and the rivalry to be faced from the competitor, in each of the 9 matches to be played in the 1st round of the ODI World Cup this year.
India in the 1st Round of World Cup 2023
8th October: India vs Australia
India’s world cup 2023 journey will start against the arch-nemesis Australia- in the 5th match of the tournament in M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai. India has lost to Australia in 8 of the 12 matches played in total in the history of ICC World Cup.
When these two teams faced each other in the final match of the world cup 2003, Australia won by 125 runs with the massive century of 140 runs by Ricky Ponting. And this year, India’s focus is solely on betting with batting. Now, this is surely going to be a very interesting match.
11th October: India vs Afghanistan
Next, in the 9th match of the tournament, India will face a comparatively much less experienced, yet seriously competitive Afghanistan in Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. These two teams faced each other only once, in the world cup history, in 2019. Although Afghanistan lags way behind India in terms of experience and even, to a lot extent, talent, yet that was not an easy win. India managed to escape the draw, if not defeat, by only 11 runs.
14th October: India vs Pakistan
India will face its arch-rival Pakistan in the 12th match of the tournament, in Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. These 2 countries have faced each other 7 times in the history of the ODI world cup and India has beaten Pakistan in all of those 7 occasions.
Pakistani pacers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi are to be watched out for against Indian batting genius Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Shubhman Gill. But whatever the line-up of the teams or the ratings on the table of the tournament be, apart from winning the championship, these two teams also participate in the world cup with a second agenda- to beat each other at any given cost!
19th October: India vs Bangladesh
The tournament’s 17th match will be held between India and Bangladesh in Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. The two teams have faced each other only 4 times in the world cup so far and of those matches, Bangladesh won only one match. The duels between the Indian batsmen against Bangladeshi pacers Taskin Ahmen and Mustafizur Rahman will be very interesting to watch, especially against Mustafiz and Shakib who are seasoned players in the IPL.
October 22nd: India vs New Zealand
The 21st match of the tournament will be played between India and New Zealand in HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala. New Zealand beat India 6 times in the 9 matches they played against each other in the history of ICC Men’s World Cup. In these 9 matches, India’s highest & lowest totals were 252 and 150 runs, while New Zealand’s highest & lowest totals were 253 and 146 runs respectively.
29th October: India vs England
Team India will face England in BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow on the tournament’s 29th match. Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone, Ben Stokes and Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul from England and India respectively are surely going to put up a great show in this match, defying all the strategies taken up by the ballers. In the 8 times these two teams clashed in the history of ICC Men’s World Cup, England beat India 4 times.
2nd November: India vs Sri Lanka
In the 33rd match of the tournament, India will play against Sri Lanka in Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. These two teams clashed 9 times in their world cup rivalry and the result was a 50% win for both the teams with 1 match ended without any result.
1996 and 2011 were the 2 times in the world cup when they clashed in the final match, Sri Lanka won in 1996 while India bagged the trophy in 2011. But the most memorable world cup match between these two teams was played in 1999 where India scored a massive total of 373 runs with Sourav Ganguly’s century of 183 runs and beat Sri Lanka by 157 runs.
5th November: India vs South Africa
India’s next match will be against South Africa in Eden Gardens, Kolkata. It will be the tournament’s 37th match. India lost in 3 of the 5 matches they played against South Africa in the world cup tournaments so far. In the previous editions of 2015 and 2019 two Indian batsmen- Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma- scored centuries with 137 and 122 runs respectively, against South Africa.
12th November: India vs Netherlands
In its final match of the 1st round, India will play against the Netherlands in the 45th match of the tournament, in M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. India won both the matches played against Netherlands in the history of their world cup rivalry. In this tournament, Netherlands is supposed to be the weakest competitor for India as per the statistics.
Playing in the homeground works out a few benefits for the host country. Apart from huge moral support from the fans in whichever venue they play, the overall condition of the field and the weather too remain comparatively favorable. Considering all they can do to make the best out of this opportunity, India chose its 15-member squad to play in the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 prioritizing ‘batting depth’.
There are ballers like Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammad Shami & Mohammad Siraj- to save the day, or even bring in victories, in case the 8-batsmen strategy fails to make the cut. Will it work out as planned? Only time can tell.