Cricket World Cup kicks off

After four years of waiting, cricket’s oldest and premier tournament, the ICC ODI World Cup, is about to kick start its 13th edition on October 5th, 2023. Fans are looking forward to the kind of legendary, unforgettable moments the Cricket World Cup tournament is known for. They have seen underdog teams rise up to become champions, major controversies erupt, and national heroes emerge.

All eyes are on the World Cup host, India, this year. Historically, the host nation has an advantage and this time is no different. The last time the tournament came to South Asia, India and Sri Lanka co-hosted and met in the finals. India pulled off a memorable victory. 

In fact, the last three World Cups have all been won by the host nation. Will this trend continue? 

It is likely the combination of fans’ support, the weather/conditions that they are used to, and the specific pitches built in that country have contributed to the success of host countries. India’s fans are legendary of course, some of the most devoted in the world. Their cricketers are major stars and enjoy a fan following like no other. Typically Indian pitches are heavily favored to suit spin bowlers, so spinners in teams will be key to their success. 


Pre-tournament shocker

For the first time, the West Indies, who have dominated this tournament in the past, did not qualify to play in this tournament. One hopes that their cricket board will take this as a wake-up call and reinvigorate the previously strong side. 

Tournament basics: 

  • Dates:  October 5 to November 19, 2023 
  • Each of the 10 teams will play the others exactly once in the group stage. 
  • The top four then proceed to the semifinals and finals. 


Here are my thoughts on each team and predictions of overall group stage rankings. The top four teams then move into the playoffs. My prediction is that those four will be Australia, India, New Zealand, and England. Other contenders include Pakistan, Afghanistan, and South Africa – if they fire on all cylinders they will be in the playoffs.

My prediction is that 2023 will be an Australia vs India Final with India being crowned champions. 


The 5-time winners have once again brought a star-studded squad. 


Australian cricket has long had some of the best players in the world, with outstanding batters such as Steve Smith, David Warner, and Glenn Maxwell. This combines with one of the best pace attacks in the world –  Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins,  and Josh Hazlewood

Mentally, they are the strongest in the world and overall having the most cups of any team. They will certainly arrive ready to play and win.


Health concerns – Travis Head, Smith, Cummins, and Maxwell are all recovering from injuries. 

Their spin bowling department is relatively weak compared to other top teams, and the only true spinner in their squad is the experienced Adam Zampa. This lack of quality spinners could be a major problem when playing on spin-friendly pitches. 

X-factor: Marnus Labuschagne

Labuschagne has impressed in test matches but has been unable to make the jump to playing in ODI cricket. However, recently he has found form, scoring 80 runs against South Africa. Also, he can provide timely leg spin, which could massively help Australia. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I predict that Australia will place 1st in the group stage points rankings. They will also likely proceed to the finals, but likely not lift the trophy. 


India is a team that has faced immense scrutiny from the public as it has been 13 years since their last major international trophy. They have been called ‘Chokers’ because they have had a tendency to lose in the big games. Winning the recent Asia cup is a good start – now they will look to continue their winning ways and will have a perfect chance to do so. They have a strong top order, with veterans Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and the red-hot Shubman Gill, and have a good bowling attack with Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja.


India has a team that is very well-suited for the conditions. Besides those mentioned previously, other key contributors include the recently rehabilitated KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, both of whom have recently scored centuries to announce their return. On paper, this is one of the strongest teams. Now they just have to perform that way. 


Although their top order is very strong, it lacks a significant power hitter. The only real finishers on the roster are Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, both of whom have not scored prolifically recently.  While both Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Ashwin are experienced, their detractors point out that they were called back to the main Indian squad only recently.

X-factor: Ravindra Jadeja

Jadeja plays a vital role for India with both the bat and the ball. He is one of India’s go-to bowlers, and also one of the key power hitters. He’s also one of the best fielders in the world. If he is at his best, India will be unstoppable. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I predict that India will finish 2nd on the group stage rankings, and will go on to win the tournament. 



The defending champs have an explosive top order, with one of the best players in the world, Jos Buttler. They also have Liam Livingstone and Harry Brook, who both are powerful batters. They also have great veterans in Joe Root and Ben Stokes


Their spinners are slightly weak as both Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali, haven’t played in too many ODIs recently. Also, another question is whether their batters are comfortable playing against spin, which has been a problem for them in the past. 

X-factor: Liam Livingstone

Livingstone has proved his power-hitting abilities multiple times on the international stage including in the IPL. However, an underrated factor of his game is his bowling, as he can bowl both off and leg spin. If he can contribute to England with his bowling, he can drastically increase their chances for the title. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I think that England will finish 3rd on the group stage rankings, but will get eliminated in the semifinals. 

New Zealand

After facing absolute heartbreak in the last edition of the World Cup, losing in the finals due to an unprecedented boundary countback rule, they will be looking for redemption this time around. 


As usual, the Kiwis have a solid, well-rounded team. They have experienced batters with Kane Williamson, and Tom Latham, who have performed on the biggest stages. Their fast bowlers are also really good, with Trent Boult and Tim Southee


They are a little weak in their explosive batting options with only Glenn Phillips

X-factor: Rachin Ravindra

Ravindra scored an unbelievable 97 off 72 balls against Pakistan, which led his team to victory. He also provides the team with a valuable spin option. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

It all depends on whether they will be able to find their rhythm or not. If they do, anything including a true title run is possible. I think that they will end up around fourth. 

South Africa


A couple of their batters are in the form of their life. Both Quinton De Kock and Heinrich Klaasen are playing the best that they have ever played. They also have a great bowling lineup, headlined by Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada


Batting depth is a factor, as only their top six are true batters. However, this may not matter if Quinton de Kock and Klaasen continue taking apart all bowlers. 

X-Factor: Marco Jansen

Jansen has had a couple of good games with the bat, and if he is able to contribute more, the South Africans will have a little bit more batting depth. 

Adi’s Crystal Bal

I think they will place 5th in the group-stage rankings.



Afghanistan has the strongest spin crew of all the teams, which might be able to carry them to their highest-ever position on the group stage rankings. They have arguably the best spinner in the world – Rashid Khan – who is well supported by Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmed, and Mohammad Nabi, all of whom are some of the best spinners in the world. In terms of their batting, the opening pair of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran have put together multiple 200+ partnerships this year itself. Young pacers have done well including Naveen ul Haq and Fazalhaq Farooqi.


Afghanistan is a bowling-heavy team and after the top few batters they do not have players who have consistently been firing. They will depend on their ability to restrict teams to a low score. This may prove to be a problem for them against strong competition. 

X-factor: Ibrahim Zadran

Zadran is a batter who has displayed his talents in numerous franchise leagues. However, this hasn’t translated into international cricket success yet. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I think that the Afghanistan team will surprise many people. They are brimming with potential, but this won’t be their year to make the playoffs.



Pakistan has some of the best players in the world, with Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam. Mohammed Rizwan and Shadab Khan are also key players for their side.


Pakistan’s team will majorly miss the injured Naseem Shah, who has left a huge hole in their fast bowling department. Also, they are lacking depth in their batting, which relies heavily on Babar and Rizwan.

X-factor: Saud Shakeel

Shakeel had a quickfire 75 against New Zealand in Pakistan’s first warm-up match. If he is able to play like that consistently in the tournament, he will give Pakistan’s batting good depth. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I think that Pakistan will get 7th on the group stage rankings, and will miss the playoffs. However, if their team truly fires on all fronts, they have the potential to make the playoffs. 

Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka has great spinners, with Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage and Dhananjaya De Silva. They also recently beat Pakistan and might find some momentum. 


Their batting tends to crumble and is not consistent. They also don’t have great opening fast bowlers

X-Factor: Dunith Wellalage

Wellalage had a breakout Asia Cup, scalping Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul in one game itself. If he can continue his amazing form, Sri Lanka will benefit tremendously. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

They will get 8th in the group-stage rankings



They have a good spin attack, with Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Shakib al Hasan


Their batting has a tendency to be very passive and that will hurt them tremendously. 

X-Factor: Mushfiqur Rahim

Rahim is a veteran who has scored many runs. As of late, he has been having a lean patch but will be hoping to turn that around. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball

I think that they will get 9th place in the group-stage rankings


It’s the Netherlands’ first time in the ODI World Cup – just being there is a victory for them. 


They have many all-rounders, such as Max O’Dowd and Bas de Leede. They also have a few players that have played in top franchise leagues, such as Roelof van der Merwe, and Colin Ackermann.


Overall their batting is their weak link, and it is likely they will struggle to score against the other teams’ attacks.

X-Factor: Roelof van der Merwe

Van der Merwe recently played in the SA20, and had a prominent role for the Sunrisers Eastern Cape. If he can bowl like he did in that tournament, other batters will have to watch out.

Adi’s Crystal Ball

10th in the group stage rankings 

2023 Cricket World Cup Forecast

Group stage rankings: 

  1. Australia
  2. India
  3. England
  4. New Zealand
  5. South Africa
  6. Afghanistan
  7. Pakistan
  8. Sri Lanka
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Netherlands

Semifinal 1: Australia vs. New Zealand – Australia wins

Semifinal 2: India vs. England – India wins


India vs. Australia – India wins

Adi Anand is a 10th grader living in the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan. In his free time, Adi likes to read.