The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 starts May 30. The biggest cricketing event of the year had a star-studded opening ceremony on May 29 that was short, crisp and entertaining. If the curtain raiser was so exciting, we can only expect a cracking cricket tournament over the next 46 days in the United Kingdom.
The captains of teams playing for the WC were in attendance to meet Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Sussex at Buckingham Palace.
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 29, 2019
While England host South Africa in the World Cup opener on Thursday, India take on South Africa in their first match of the quadrennial tournament on June 5.
“It’s lovely to be here. We have such a huge fan base in England. The number of people travelling from home as well. It’s great to see at every stadium we play at, at least 50 per cent of the crowd is Indian fans. For us, that’s a thing of pressure but a thing of pride as well. Hopefully, we have got to use to the crowd support to our advantage,” Kohli said in an interview.
The 60 Seconds Challenge
The organisers of the opening ceremony got this right with a fun little game! The 60-second challenge in which 10 nations, represented by a former cricketer and a celebrity, played gully cricket at the Mall added a lot of excitement to the glittering ceremony.
India were represented by Anil Kumble and Farhan Akhtar. They eventually finished last in the 60-second challenge, which was won by England.
The host nation was represented by Kevin Pietersen and Chris Hughes. The duo scored 74 runs, 5 more than 2nd-placed Australia who had Brett Lee and tennis star Pat Cash taking to the field (street).
Some of cricket’s greatest stars, including Vivian Richards, Pietersen, Brett Lee, and Mahela Jayawardene, were part of the fun-filled 60-second challenge.
Celebs in attendance
Among the ones present on Wednesday was Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan. Yousafzai, who has been an advocate of women’s cricket, stressed the importance of women taking up sports.
She said in an interview, “Right now were are seeing more and more women taking part in sporting activities. In Pakistan, we have some amazing cricketers, including Sana Mir. These role models are inspiring women to believe in themselves that they are capable of anything. Women should engage more in sports and we all have to contribute to that and encourage women and girls.”
I have been a big fan of cricket since my childhood. I used to play it on the streets, on rooftops. I still remember fighting with my brothers to let me play even if I get out. This sport connects people from different backgrounds, different cultures. It is uniting people from different countries,” she further added.
Here is a footage of the whole ceremony and exciting moments that took place, shared by ICC.
After the challenge, former Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who lifted the trophy in 2015, brought the glittering trophy on the stage.
LORYN and Rudimental performed the theme song ‘Stand By’
The event ended with the ICC World Cup 2019 theme song with the fans dancing along!
The matches kickstart today at 3 pm IST when England take on South Africa in the tournament opener at the Oval, London.