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ICC World Cup 2023 Marks the End of an Era: Exploring the Format Change and Its Impact on Major Teams

As the cricketing world gears up for the ICC World Cup 2023, fans and enthusiasts alike are aware that this tournament marks the end of an era. With a new format set to be introduced in 2027, the 2023 edition represents the final installment of the 10-team group stage, a format that has provided cricket aficionados with 45 thrilling encounters to determine the four semi-finalists.

In 2019, this cricketing spectacle commenced with an electrifying clash between England and South Africa at The Oval. The home team, England, embarked on a victorious journey, ultimately securing their maiden ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup championship.

The format of the 2019 World Cup was unique in that all 10 participating teams faced each other. This ensured that every team played a total of nine matches during the group stage, spanning six intense weeks. The format allowed for intriguing twists and turns, as new contenders emerged and fortunes fluctuated.

One of the key features of this format was that a slow start did not necessarily spell doom for a team’s prospects of advancing. A case in point was Pakistan’s performance in 2019. They struggled initially, winning just one of their first five matches – a memorable 14-run victory over eventual champions England at Trent Bridge. Despite this rocky start, Pakistan rallied, securing four consecutive wins and coming tantalizingly close to qualification for the semi-finals, ultimately missing out on net run-rate.

On the flip side, Australia set the pace by becoming the first team to secure a semi-final berth. They won six of their first seven matches, with their only loss coming at the hands of India.

India followed suit, booking their spot in the semi-finals by defeating Bangladesh and leading the Group Stage with seven victories from nine matches.

However, the ICC World Cup is a tournament where timing is as crucial as a strong start. It was the host nation, England, and New Zealand who found their stride when it mattered most – during the semi-finals.

With all participating teams having had the opportunity to face off against the best in the world, the knock-out stages became a test of who could peak on the given day.

The semi-final showdown between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford was a nail-biting affair that extended over two days due to weather interruptions. In a tense finish, New Zealand emerged victorious by 18 runs, thanks in part to Martin Guptill’s brilliant fielding, which removed MS Dhoni in the penultimate over.

The following day, England exacted revenge on Australia, securing an emphatic eight-wicket win and a spot in the final for the first time since 1992.

These semi-final outcomes set the stage for a historic final that would see a new champion crowned for the first time in over two decades, since Sri Lanka’s triumph in 1996.

In the final, New Zealand posted a total of 241 for eight while batting first. England mirrored that total, getting bowled out for 241 in reply, resulting in a Super Over to decide the winner. The Super Over was nothing short of a thriller, with both teams matching each other blow for blow, scoring 15 runs each. In the end, England was crowned champions based on boundaries scored, securing victory in the first game and the final, thus etching their name in cricketing history.

As the cricketing world anticipates the ICC World Cup 2023, the question that looms is whether England can replicate their 2019 feat or if another team will prove to be the masters of the 10-team Group Stage format. With the impending change in format in 2027, the 2023 World Cup promises to be a fitting farewell to an era that has provided fans with unforgettable cricketing moments.

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