World Cup champions in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015, Australia will target a sixth title this year. Former captain Steven Smith and vice-captain David Warner are back in the ranks after serving suspensions for involvement in last year’s ball-tampering saga that marred the Test tour of South Africa, while the team has a serious tactician in coach Justin Langer. They, again, are among the tournament favourites – and proved ODI prowess with a three-two series win and five-nil whitewash over India and Pakistan, respectively, earlier this year.

This is an Ashes series year for Australia, too, whose limited-overs focus will need to turn to Test match cricket after the World Cup. How they rotate a seam attack minus the services of the talented Josh Hazlewood throughout will be key – and might leave too much pressure on left-armer Mitchell Starc to perform. 

Batsman to bank on

Warner’s World Cup average of just under 50 is some six runs more than an ODI career aggregate of almost 44. The Hyderabad Sunrisers recruit was the leading run-scorer in the 2019 Indian Premier League – and has the big match temperament required by Australia at the top of the order. Captain Aaron Finch will need the right kind of support – and fellow opening batsman Warner is backed to offer exactly that.

Bowler to bet on

Leg-spinners are being tipped to succeed in the United Kingdom, where plenty of flat pitches will require some pace taken off the ball. Australia’s Adam Zampa isn’t necessarily as good as South Africa’s Imran Tahir, India’s Yuzvendra Chahal or England’s Adil Rashid, but is a good bet to top the wicket-taking stakes, if afforded more game time than orthodox finger spinner Nathan Lyon. He’ll need to master the googly, which doesn’t have to turn much but must generate additional bounce, too.

Key fixture

Come 6 July’s day-night affair at Old Trafford in Manchester, Australia and South Africa will be deep into taxing campaigns. Both will probably require a big win to secure a berth in the semi-finals, which will follow just three days later. The countries boast a long history of tough World Cup encounters – and this one won’t likely be any different.


If Australia ensure they win the really big fixtures against India, the Proteas and England, a spot among the top four beckons. They might even manage to top the table. Beyond that, though, will be subject to how hungry they are to really resign the hurt caused by Smith and Warner’s misgivings to the past – and forge a fresh era.