Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

If you're going to the World Cup, go to Manchester

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ESPNcricinfo can reveal the full and – nearly – final schedule of the 2019 World Cup. It was approved by the ICC’s CEC (chief executives’ committee) and will be presented to the ICC Board, for final approval, on Thursday in Kolkata. Here are five takeaways from the schedule as it stands.

Home advantage?
Hosts England will be hoping to break their World Cup duck (they’ve been runners-up three times), but unlike other sides they won’t play at the same ground more than once in the round-robin phase. They have matches at The Oval, Nottingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Manchester, Leeds, Lord’s, Birmingham and Chester-le-Street. This schedule means they will have played at the three venues holding the knockout games: Manchester, Birmingham, and Lord’s.

The day-night divide
Four of the ten teams – England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – won’t play any day-night matches in the round-robin phase. New Zealand will feature in four of the seven day-night matches in the tournament, while Australia and Afghanistan play three each. The semi-finals and final are all day games.

Manchester the city to be in
The World Cup will be played in 10 cities and 11 venues, across the length and breadth of England and Wales. But fans in Manchester will relish a bumper schedule. Old Trafford will host the tournament’s big one – India-Pakistan – as well as another India game, against West Indies. On July 6 fans can expect an Australia-South Africa cracker and if all that wasn’t enough, Old Trafford will also host the first semi-final.

1992, but longer
The last time the World Cup was played this way, with each side playing the other in a round-robin format, was in 1992 in Australia and New Zealand. It ranks among the most beloved of World Cups. From start to finish that tournament took 33 days. In 2019, the World Cup – with one more team than 1992 and a far smaller geographical area to cover – will take 46 days, or nearly two weeks longer. However, there will be 48 matches in 2019 compared to 39 in 1992. The 2015 World Cup, which had a different format, featured 14 teams playing 49 matches in 44 days.

More downtime, for most
One benefit of a longer tournament is that sides get more recovery time in between games: some teams have gaps as long as four or five days. Possibly because of their later start in the tournament, India are one of only two teams who will have to play two games in three days – when they take on England on June 30 at Edgbaston and then Bangladesh on July 2 at the same venue. The other team is Afghanistan, who play India in Southampton on June 22 and then Bangladesh on June 24.



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