• Finch, Kohli put England in front

    The time for talking is almost over, but the captains of Australia, England and India have been asked one last time for their thoughts on a potential 2019 Cricket World Cup winner.

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    Speaking at a captains’ press conference ahead of next week’s opener between hosts England and South Africa, a few of the leading candidates to stand on top of the world were pressed for their opinions.

    ‘England have been in great form over the last couple of years, and along with India, they’ve probably been the standout performers. So you’d have to say England are definitely the favourites,’ said Australia’s captain Aaron Finch, who will be able to call on the big-hitting duo of Steve Smith and David Warner making his side an altogether different proposition.

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    The hosts, buoyed by an expectant nation, are ranked by the bookies at No 1 heading into the showpiece event, but skipper Eoin Morgan was keen to downplay his side’s position of strength.

    He said: ‘I don’t think there’s anybody that’s head and shoulders above everybody else. Of course being at home will be a factor. It’s called home advantage for a reason.’

    Perhaps turning the screws on his opposition number, Virat Kohli wasn’t letting Morgan off the hook. The Indian sensation joined in alongside Finch to declare England as the team to beat.

    ‘I have to agree with Aaron, I think England is probably – in their conditions – the most strong side in this tournament, but I also agree with Morgs that all ten teams are so well balanced and so strong.’

    Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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    Wade Pretorius