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Three nations who could turn out to be a surprise package in the Cricket World Cup

Though England and India are touted to be favourites, these are the three cricketing nations who could turn few heads in the World Cup

WS
Last updated: 21.02.2019
World Cup 2019 Trophy

The ICC Cricket World Cup has seen some surprises over the years, which has managed to stun the cricketing world through outcomes which are difficult to digest even in today's day age.
With the World Cup close to initiation, starting May 30, let's take a look at some of the ‘dark horses,' of the tournament who have it in them to go all the way, and shock the globe with a few tricks of their own, up their sleeves. Though there might not be as many teams in the 2019 World Cup in comparison to its previously held editions, here are the top three sides who could, in fact, make a mark of their own for good.

Afghanistan 

A nation and a team filled with dreams and aspirations, which is clearly displayed through their grit when on the field is what has turned this Afghanistan unit as the genuine dark horses while heading into the tournament. A team packed with match winning flair, that has the likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Hasmatullah Shahidi to take responsibility with the bat, while their trump cards – Rashid Khan, and Mujeeb ur Rahman will yet again prove to be lethal weapons for the Afghans, as their mystery is an element which still needs to be unraveled.
Though the subcontinent nation couldn't make it to the knock out stages of the Asia Cup of 2018, Afghanistan packed a massive punch and often made their opposition sweat by taking the game to the very last over, against Pakistan, Bangladesh, as well as the mighty Indian side.

Their ability of scoring 250 on the big UAE grounds clearly signified their mature state of mind, as anchoring the innings is what was needed on those mammoth size grounds. But, Afghanistan did thump Sri Lanka by 91 runs in the tournament, while also restricting India to a nail-biting ‘Tie' at the Dubai International Stadium.
The recently introduced Afghanistan Premier League also nourished a few fresh talents of their own which gave them and their management another alternative of shortlisting the perfectly pitched squad when the time arrives. Afghanistan's unconventional quality, combined with a ‘never say die' attitude will surely and certainly make them a team to watch out for on the biggest stages of them all.

South Africa

Considered as the favorites in almost every recently held World Cup, this would be the very first time when the Protease would be going in as the "underdogs," as stated by South African captain – Faf du Plessis himself. Hashim Amla is not being his usual self with the bat, while Ab de Villiers' unmatched cricketing ability in the field will be missed the most, not only by his countrymen but also by the rest of the cricket fraternity.
Dale Steyn might still have it in him when it comes to red ball cricket, but the limited overs format doesn't seem to kind at times for the ‘Steyn Gun.' South Africa suffered a heavy defeat by the hands of Kohli's men by the start of 2018 but got back to their best against the Aussies by beating them in their own den. Pakistan made life difficult for South Africa in the colored kits, as the series had to go to the final game in what was the decider, as the Protease just managed to beat Pakistan while claiming the series 3-2. A topsy-turvy display of performances only tends to confuse a rational cricket lover's thought process, whether to rank South Africa as the contenders in the World Cup. But that is something which might be of help for South Africa.

Faf du Plessis is pretty happy with his team not being termed as the "favorites" this time around, after a really long time as that now puts the pressure off of them, which might finally allow the South Africans to take necessary risks and play with a little more freedom in order to register something special in England. Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla, and Faf du Plessis' experience along with Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, and Phelukwayo's exuberance, combined with the wicket taking abilities of world number one Kagiso Rabada and the evergreen Imran Tahir will certainly boost South African hopes to blossom in the campaign with a mellowed down approach. 

Bangladesh

Bangladesh cricket seemed to have changed ever since knocking out England in the last sixteen, of the 2015 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, which propelled them to the quarterfinals of the tournament for the very first time, since their existence in the cricket arena. The Bangla Tigers have made it to knock out rounds and finals of big tournaments ever since, but have always failed to cross the line in the final few crunch moments of the game. Their true nemesis to this regard is the men in blue – Team India.

 The Indians have mostly had the last laugh on the final delivery of big matches, be it MS Dhoni's iconic run out from behind the stumps in the World T20, Dinesh Karthik's last ball six in the Nidihas Trophy final, or the most recent final ball finish in the Asia Cup 2018. Bangladesh has it in them to beat the best and go through the group stages under the leadership of Mashrafe Mortaza who has been as charismatic as one should be.

Mushfiqur Rahim, Soumya Sarka, Mohammad Mithun, and Mahmadullah have often guided Bangladesh to post a formidable total. The rest is usually taken care of by the likes of Mustafizur Rahim, who is considered as one of the finest deceptive modern day bowlers. Shakib al Hasan's never ending experience with both bat and ball, while Mehndi Hasan and Rubel Hussain add further solidarity to Bangladesh's armory in the bowling line-up. One would not make the mistake of terming the current lot of Bangla players as minnows anymore, especially with the kind of ‘cockiness' and confidence they've now gained over the past couple of years, which will surely turn them as one hungry team when the World Cup arrives.

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