2019 Cricket World Cup: Everything you need to know
- Who is playing who
- When and where the matches will be held
- What on Earth is the Duckworth/Lewis method? (Nobody knows that...)
Spare a thought for Jonny Bairstow! The England opening batsman was caught behind for a golden duck on just the second ball in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup.
England managed to win convincingly over South Africa yesterday despite that, and today Pakistan were demolished by the West Indies in an incredibly short match.
I'll do my best to explain the rules, talk about who is competing and where and when you can watch the matches at this World Cup.
The tournament and the rules
The objective of cricket is fairly simple - score more runs than your opposing team. The way of getting there, however, is much more complex.
Each team has 11 players and the batting team plays two at one time. The bowler of the fielding team bowls to one of the batsman who attempts to hit the ball away from the other fielders.
The batting team scores one run for each time the batsman runs from one wicket to the other. The bowler bowls from the same side for the remainder of the over (6 balls) so if the batting team scores an odd number of runs the other in-play batsman will face the next ball.
The batting team scores four runs if they can hit the ball over the boundary (the marked edge of the field) and six if they can do so without the ball touching the ground.
The innings (essentially one half) finishes when either 50 overs have been played, which can be reduced if play needs to stop because of rain, or when the batting team are all out.
There are 10 ways to get out in cricket. You can be bowled (ball knocks the bails from the stumps), caught (one of the fielders catches the ball without it bouncing), run out (ball hits the stumps while the batsmen are running), hit your own wicket, hit the ball twice deliberately, get stumped (wicket keeper removes the stumps when the batsman is too far forward), LBW (Leg before wicket, ball hits batsman's leg in front of the stumps), obstruct the fielding team, get timed out (take longer than three minutes to come onto the field) or retire (voluntarily declare oneself out).
Keeping up so far?
The score is written with the number of runs - the number of wickets. So if a team is 75-1, it means they have scored 75 runs but lost one wicket. A team is all out once ten wickets have been taken.
A team can either win by preventing the opposing team from reaching their score, either by getting them all out or the opposing team are unable to reach the same score in the same amount of overs, or by surpassing the opposing team's score.
If the former, the winning team is said to have won by the number of runs it finished ahead. If the latter, it is said to have been won by the number of wickets it has remaining.
It is possible for matches to be tied. The most likely way for this to happen is if the matches are abandoned due to it raining all day. In knockout matches, the match will be played at the earliest following opportunity. Matches can also be tied through both teams finishing on the same score, but this is incredibly unlikely and has only happened four times in World Cup history, most recently in 2010 when England drew with India.
There are ten teams in this tournament and it is structured as a round robin, so every team will play each other once. The top 4 highest ranked teams will then face off in a straight knockout semi-final and final to decide the winner.
Who is playing?
England and South Africa have started the tournament today, with England as the hosts. England are hot favourites going into the tournament, although the golden duck (getting out on your first ball) may have revised that down.
Also participating are former World Cup Winners; India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Pakistan and West Indies. Australia won the last tournament while they were hosting and India won in 2011 when they were hosting.
Like the two starting nations, New Zealand and Bangladesh have never won the World Cup before, although New Zealand reached the final last time.
Afghanistan will be participating in this World Cup as well, which has an interesting undertone to it seeing as Afghan refugees and former military servicemen who helped the British Army and sought asylum are now facing deportation due to Theresa May's 'hostile environment' policy and severe incompetence in government departments.
Expect the fiercest encounter, as usual, to be India v Pakistan, as tensions between the two countries have recently reached boiling point.
This is the first time no associate cricket members (Cricket playing nations that don't have full ICC membership) will be participating. This includes teams such as Kenya, Scotland and Netherlands. It is also the first time that some full members won't be playing - the two full members in question are Zimbabwe and Ireland. This has drawn criticism from some fans.
When and where are the matches?
The tournament starts on May 30th and the final will be played on July 14th.
In Manchester, we will be seeing a number of World Cup matches held at Old Trafford.
These matches are: India v Pakistan on June 16th, England v Afghanistan on June 18th, New Zealand v West Indies on June 22nd, India v West Indies on June 27th, Australia v South Africa on July 6th and the 1st v 4th place semi-final on July 9th.