The preparations for the world's biggest cricketing tournament are going on in full swing as the 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is set to start on May 30. Various teams are in a last-minute preparation zone as few teams are playing each other in an ODI series while few are resting after a dramatic end to the recently concluded Indian Premier League.
England and Wales are set to be the host for this World Cup and the hosts, who are the No.1 ODI side look prime for their first ever WC triumph. The pitches look to be a batsman's delight and apart from the new ball swinging in the early overs, it's a paradise for those with the bat.
That's why the pace bowlers of each team play a key role in controlling the match and the side with the best performance from them mostly end up being winners.
On that note, let's rank the pace bowlers of the 10 teams.
Pace Bowling Options: Gulbadin Naib, Aftab Alam, Dawlat Zadran, Hamid Hassan, and Asghar Afghan
Afghanistan have some experience in their pace bowling lineup as the likes of Dawlat Zadran and Aftab Alam are seasoned campaigners. However, despite their decent stats, they haven't come against top opponents like the ones who they are going to face at the World Cup. Skipper Gulbadin Naib isn't much of a wicket-taker and needs to turn into one and lead the side with an inspiring performance
They have variety in their pace attack but they need to pull out a big surprise if they want to upstage some of the top teams in the league.
#9 Sri Lanka
Pace Bowling Options: Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Isuru Udana, Thisara Perera, and Angelo Matthews
Sri Lanka have assembled a squad which has faced scathing remarks from all parts of the cricketing world. Their pace bowling lineup is their big asset but even that seems pretty inferior to the oppositions. Though they have a host of options to choose from, none of them are in good form. The highest ranked Sri Lankan pacer in the ODI Bowlers' Rankings is Suranga Lakmal in the 41st Rank which shows how better off the other teams are.
Malinga's experience and the strength given by the all-rounders Thisara Perera and Angelo Matthews provides some comfort but Sri Lanka need to be at their best if they want to match the likes of the South African or Australian pace battery.
#8 West Indies
Pace Bowling Options: Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos Brathwaite, and Andre Russell
West Indies have quite a lot of pace bowling options to choose from but apart from skipper Holder and the experienced Kemar Roach, none of the Windies speedsters can be counted upon. The players have had a pretty horrible build-up to the WC as they leaked a lot of runs in the series against Bangladesh.
Despite their wondrous efforts to thwart England at the start of the year, there a lot of doubts over their pace attack and though the young guns like Oshane Thomas can pack a punch, they need to be groomed well.
West Indies have plenty of pace bowling firepower with many players like Cottrell, Gabriel and Andre Russell in their ranks but they need to be disciplined in their bowling if they want to be up with the other teams.
Pace Bowling Options: Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed, Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin
Bangladesh can really pose a challenge to the other teams in this World Cup as their rise in international cricket has been brilliant to watch. They have been able to hold their own against other teams and have a decent pace bowling lineup.
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has years of experience and brilliant stats while Mustafizur Rahman is one of the best pacers in the world, currently. Rubel Hossain too is a wicket-taking bowler while a couple of young guns, Abu Jayed and Mohammad Saifuddin too are available for selection.
Though the newcomers lack experience, Bangladesh have a strong 3-bowler combination which can be a threat to the batsmen.
Pace Bowling Options: Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, David Willey, Ben Stokes, Tom Curran, Mark Wood, and Jofra Archer
England have a lot of variety in their pace attack and that is what saves them from being an attack with no clear leader. Ever since James Anderson and Stuart Broad saw a decline in ODI cricket, England have lacked a spearhead in their pace attack and though capable of picking up a lot of wickets, they were always taken apart by oppositions.
Jofra Archer's advent means that Mark Wood is likely to be dropped from the provisional squad but the ECB might have a couple of surprises in store. The likes of Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes will be the main men for England while Ben Stokes, Tom Curran and David Willey can bowl few overs when the skipper is in search of a wicket.
England have a lot of options to choose from and that makes them immune to oppositions targeting the same bowler but they need to mature remarkably and stop conceding runs at a break-neck pace.
Pace Bowling Options: Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, and Vijay Shankar
The side with the No.1 ODI bowler in the world Jasprit Bumrah, unfortunately, doesn't have the best pace attack. None would argue if one says that India are playing one pacer short in the World Cup. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar's dip in form, they seem to lack a bit of bite bowling with the new ball.
While their 3 front-line pacers are great bowlers, Hardik Pandya is a worrying sight while Vijay Shankar is more of a batsman who can bowl. Hardik is a wicket-taking bowler but has proved to be expensive in recent times and relying on him to provide 10 overs of seam bowling will be absurd.
India have a quality pace attack but lack options and if they don't click, they will be in deep trouble.
#4 New Zealand
Pace Bowling Options: Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, James Neesham, and Colin De Grandhomme
New Zealand have a fiery pace bowling attack to the field during this World Cup and they will be looking up to Tim Southee and Trent Boult do repeat their heroics from the previous World Cup. Boult has been in terrific form in recent times and has risen to No.2 in the ODI Bowling Rankings while Matt Henry's inclusion is another positive for the side.
Lockie Ferguson's express pace and Tim Southee's swinging new ball spells aided by the England conditions make the Black Caps a pace bowling giant. They also have able support seamers in James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme who can clock decent speeds.
All in all, New Zealand have a strong pace attack who can rattle the opposition.
Pace Bowling Options: Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz, and Mohammad Hasnain
Pakistan apparently don't believe in pace bowling all-rounders and are the only Asian side to go in with more than 4 specialist pacers for the tournament. Their pace bowling resources have been tremendous over the years and despite a poor performance in the recent series against England, Pakistan have a very strong pace battery.
Hasan Ali has done a tremendous job since his advent during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 and will be the leader of the pack. The 3 left-arm pacers, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi, and Wahab Riaz provide a lot of variety amidst themselves. Riaz has been around since the 2011 World Cup and adds valuable experience while Shaheen has been a revelation ever since he made his debut.
With fiery Mohammad Hasnain in their ranks too, Pakistan a pace attack similar to the tag they bear, 'Dark Horse' and they can emerge to be one by the end of the tournament.have
Pace Bowling Options: Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kane Richardson and Marcus Stoinis
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will undoubtedly be the leaders of the pack with their left and right combo adding tremendous variety to their pace attack. Jason Behrendorff has looked very good opening the bowling and the angle he creates as a left-arm pacer will be tough for the batsman to handle.
Coulter-Nile has proved his worth and his street-smart style of bowling makes him a dependable wicket-taking option while Richardson has done well to redeem himself in various domestic competitions.
Though they miss their star right-arm pacers, Australia's pace attack is still a force to reckon with and remain wary of.
#1 South Africa
Pace Bowling Options: Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris
South Africa have the best pace bowling lineup for the World Cup and this will be their biggest strength for the side this tournament. Kagiso Rabada has struck fear in the hearts of many top batsmen from around the world and his recent performance in the IPL is a testimony to his adaptability for playing on all kinds of surfaces.
Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi will be very tough to play in swinging conditions and the fact that all these bowlers can easily clock speeds excess of 145 KPH makes them a feared pace trio. Andile Phehlukwayo too has been brilliant as an all-rounder and so has Dwaine Pretorius. Chris Morris too is a decent backup option which rounds off this venomous pace attack.