England playing with home advantage are the team everyone’s tipping they need to beat in the Cricket World Cup.
The tournament kicks off with England against South Africa at The Oval.
Despite a dismal contest four years ago, England are the bookies’ favourites to life the trophy for the first time this year.
Rated the world number one team, most pundits and players reckon the side should breeze through to the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.
Australia could be their undoing as cool and crisp batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner return to the team after a 12-month ban for ball tampering that ended on March 28.
Five wins to reach semis
Both have had a year off and are fresh out of the traps raring to get to grips with proving their detractors wrong.
India are always in with a chance while the world’s best rates batsman Virat Kohli is at the crease, backed up by top-rated bowler Jasprit Bumrah.
From the remaining teams, either Pakistan or South Africa should tangle for the fourth semi-final place.
Farther down the favourite rankings is the West Indies with the magic weaved by Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer they could be the surprise package of the world cup.
The semi finals are played on Tuesday, July 9 and Thursday, July 11, followed by the final on Sunday, July 14.
Before then 10 teams will compete in 45 matches, each playing all the other sides. England need five wins from their nine games to reach the semis.
Favourites for a reason
England are ranked first in one-day internationals, followed by India, South Africa and New Zealand.
Winning the world cup would mean a huge amount,” said England captain Eoin Morgan on the eve of the South Africa game.
“The world cup raises the profile of the game and can be a platform for every kid in this country to have a hero or inspiration to pick up a ball or a bat.
“We have spoken about being favourites. The favourites’ tag is there for a reason — over two years, our form at home has been outstanding.
“In previous world cups that myself and a couple of the guys have played, we went in with little expectation and did not play well.”