The 2019 ICC World Cup is a few weeks away and it promises to be one of the most keenly contested tournaments ever with the top 10 ODI teams fighting it out in England and Wales.
England are the hosts and heavy favourites to lift their first 50-overs world title. Defending champions Australia are getting into form after a tumultuous 2018 while India, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies and Pakistan are also strong contenders alongside the dangerous Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Fans in the UAE can catch all the action live on OSN Cric. Below is the schedule of the tournament. All times for UAE:
Thursday, May 30
13:30 England v South Africa, The Oval, London
Friday, May 31
13:30 Windies v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Saturday, June 1
13:30 New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
16:30 Afghanistan v Australia, County Ground, Bristol
Sunday, June 2
13:30 South Africa v Bangladesh, The Oval, London
Monday, June 3
13:30 England v Pakistan, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Tuesday, June 4
13:30 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Wednesday, June 5
13:30 South Africa v India, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
16:30 Bangladesh vs New Zealand, The Oval, London
Thursday, June 6
13:30 Australia v Windies, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Friday, June 7
13:30 Pakistan v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Bristol
Saturday, June 8
13:30 England v Bangladesh, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
16:30 Afghanistan v New Zealand, County Ground, Taunton
Sunday, June 9
13:30 India v Australia, The Oval, London
Monday, June 10
13:30 South Africa v Windies, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Tuesday, June 11
13:30 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Bristol
Wednesday, June 12
13:30 Australia v Pakistan, County Ground, Taunton
Thursday, June 13
13:30 India v New Zealand, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Friday, June 14
13:30 England v Windies, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Saturday, June 15
13:30 Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval, London
16:30 South Africa v Afghanistan, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
Sunday, June 16
13:30 India v Pakistan, Old Trafford, Manchester
Monday, June 17
13:30 Windies v Bangladesh, County Ground, Taunton
Tuesday, June 18
13:30 England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford, Manchester
Wednesday, June 19
13:30 New Zealand v South Africa, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Thursday, June 20
13:30 Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Friday, June 21
13:30 England v Sri Lanka, Headingley, Leeds
Saturday, June 22
13:30 India v Afghanistan, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
16:30 Windies v New Zealand, Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday, June 23
13:30 Pakistan v South Africa, Lord’s, London
Monday, June 24
13:30 Bangladesh v Afghanistan, The Rose Bowl, Southampton
Tuesday, June 25
13:30 England v Australia, Lord’s, London
Wednesday, June 26
13:30 New Zealand v Pakistan, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Thursday, June 27
13:30 Windies v India, Old Trafford, Manchester
Friday, June 28
13:30 Sri Lanka v South Africa, Chester-le-Street
Saturday, June 29
13:30 Pakistan v Afghanistan, Headingley, Leeds
16:30 New Zealand v Australia, Lord’s, London
Sunday, June 30
13:30 England v India, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Monday, July 1
13:30 Sri Lanka v Windies, Chester-le-Street
Tuesday, July 2
13:30 Bangladesh v India, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Wednesday, July 3
13:30 England v New Zealand, Chester-le-Street
Thursday, July 4
13:30 Afghanistan v Windies, Headingley, Leeds
Friday, July 5
13:30 Pakistan v Bangladesh, Lord’s, London
Saturday, July 6
13:30 Sri Lanka v India, Headingley, Leeds
16:30 Australia v South Africa, Old Trafford, Manchester
Tuesday, July 9
13:30 First semi-final, Old Trafford, Manchester
Thursday, July 11
13:30 Second semi-final, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Sunday, July 14
13:30 Final, Lord’s, London
Pakistan picked left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir, who will be auditioning for a late selection for the World Cup, while England continued to back pace ace Jofra Archer.
However, persistent rain forced the match to be delayed by more than an hour, with the game reduced to 47 overs a side.
Who will prevail in the opening encounter? Catch the live updates below.
With the World Cup in mind, there will be plenty riding on the series for both sides as they seek to make a big statement before the start of the global showpiece.
Ahead of the first ODI at the Oval in London, we take a look at three key players from both sides who will be worth keeping an eye on.
All England eyes during the series will be on Jofra Archer as he gets ready to make his ODI debut. The Barbados-born pacer has been turning heads in franchise T20 leagues around the globe for some time now and has had to wait patiently to qualify for England selection.
His T20 debut against Pakistan just a couple of days ago was a terrific one with the fast-bowler picking up 2-29 in his side’s win. However, the big question now is whether Archer can force his selection to England’s 15-man World Cup squad through his performances in the ODI series.
Watch out for those searing yorkers and cleverly disguised slow deliveries.
After a hugely disappointing Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign with Rajasthan Royals, the star all-rounder will be itching to get back to form in England colours.
His IPL form notwithstanding, Stokes has always raised his game in international cricket and remains a crucial component of the No1 ranked ODI team.
However, England will be worried about carrying a misfiring Stokes just weeks ahead of World Cup and it is pertinent for the all-rounder to explode back into life in the warm-up matches against Pakistan.
With Jofra Archer knocking on the doors of the World Cup squad, there are plenty of England pacers who will be nervously looking over their shoulders. One of them is all-rounder Woakes who has gone on record to say that a potential Archer World Cup call up would be ‘morally unfair’ on the rest of the squad.
Knee injuries have hampered Woakes for a large part of 2018 and he will be desperate to put it all behind him ahead of a big summer for England which also includes the Ashes series against Australia.
Before he can think about the Ashes and the World Cup, Woakes will need to send a timely reminder of his prowess after being sidelined for large spells.
For Amir, the ODI series against England could be a last-chance saloon to salvage his limited-overs Pakistan career. The left-armed pacer has seen a substantial fall from grace since leading Pakistan’s charge to the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph and it was no surprise that he was not named in the preliminary World Cup squad.
The southpaw will hope to draw inspiration from his Champions Trophy final display at the Oval where he blew away India’s top-order to pave the way for a crushing Pakistan win.
With nine wicketless outings in his last 14 ODI appearances, the clock is ticking on Amir to return to form ahead of the World Cup.
While Amir looks to force his way into the final Pakistan World Cup squad, Hasnain will be hoping to cement his place.
The teenager burst into prominence with an excellent debut Pakistan Super League (PSL) campaign for Quetta Gladiators which saw him being fast-tracked to the ODI side.
The young pacer still has only three ODIs under his belt so far but big things are expected from him by coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed. He has plenty of raw pace in his arsenal and will relish bowling under English conditions.
Another player with a lot riding on the ODI series is Ali with the big-hitting batsman now finding himself on the fringes of the Pakistan squad.
The 27-year-old has endured a tumultuous time off the pitch recently due to personal reasons and has dropped down the pecking order in Pakistan’s limited-overs selection. Like Amir, Asif too has not been named in the preliminary World Cup squad and as such, has it all to do in the five-match series.
He has the ability to provide quick runs for Pakistan in the death overs as shown by his PSL displays for Islamabad United but he will need to do better on the international stage after registering just one half-century in his previous 11 ODI appearances.