The Cricket World Cup starts on Thursday night (NZT) when hosts England take on South Africa at The Oval in London.
For the next seven weeks, 10 teams battle it out in a new tournament format with any one of six challengers with a realistic shot at winning the title.
It will have to be a special event to eclipse the 2015 version (which included arguably the best ODI in history) but, as NZME's 8 cricket experts predict, it could be one for the ages – and Kane Williamson and his 14 Black Caps will have more than just a fighting chance at a first crown.
Favourite Cricket World Cup moment
Elliott Smith: Too young to remember 1992 and everyone is going to go with the 2015 semifinal so allow me to pick New Zealand beating eventual champions Australia at Sophia Gardens in the 1999 tournament. Four wickets from Geoff Allott and a stubborn 80 from our most under-rated ODI batsman of all time Roger Twose, as well as a half-century from Chris Cairns (remember him?) after coming together at 49-4. The Australia v South Africa semifinal that year is a close runner-up.
Dylan Cleaver: There's been some moments all right, from Barry Hadlee's 77-ball 19 against England in '79 through to Tim Southee's run out in the 2015 final after he forgot where his crease was. Grant Elliott's six to beat South Africa in the 2015 semifinal wins though, of course.
Chris Rattue: The dramatic Eden Park semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa in 2015. Amazing game, amazing atmosphere.
Eduan Roos (South African): It's February 26, 1992, and World Cup debutants South Africa are up against mighty Australia after more than two decades in international exile. Allan Donald finds Geoff Marsh's outside edge with the first delivery ('keeper David Richardson takes the catch in front of first slip) but Kiwi umpire Brian Aldridge remains unmoved. South Africa go on to shock the defending champions by nine wickets at the SCG - but the Aldridge blunder starts the Proteas' tempestuous relationship with World Cups. Definitely not Grant Elliott's cruel blow in that semi-final four years ago.
Steven Holloway: Mark Greatbatch charging down the wicket and smashing the bejesus out of the ball at the 1992 World Cup. I was eight years old and the Young Guns captured my imagination.
Alex Chapman: Is it too clichéd to say Grant Elliott hitting a six in the 2015 semifinal? That'd certainly be up there for level of enjoyment. Kane Williamson so calmly standing there at Eden Park as Trent Boult jumped on him after hitting Pat Cummins for six is pretty memorable, too.
Andrew Alderson: From a New Zealand perspective, the 2015 World Cup semi-final win over South Africa at Eden Park, regardless of the result. That match had everything: crowd atmosphere, oscillating fortunes, and a pulsating finish. From an international perspective, India's 2011 victory at home: the mastery of MS Dhoni in the chase, the unbridled joy outside Wankhede Stadium, and drinking cold beer on a fellow scribbler mate's balcony as the streets heaved with celebration.
Liam Napier: "You don't know what this means," an impassioned mate screamed, almost in tears, at the finish of the Black Caps' semifinal victory over South Africa at Eden Park. What an atmosphere. For such a terrible cricket venue the concrete jungle, somehow, has a knack of producing tense, gripping ties. None better than this. That same mate sat in the aisle for the closing stages, hands over his face unable to watch. Long live Grant Elliott.
Top run-scorer and wicket-taker in 2019
Smith: The term "runs-for-fun" comes to mind for Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah is going to have more poles than Warsaw.
Cleaver: He drags his shots with a heavy bottom hand and that can make him tough to watch, but Jason Roy is at home and in-form, so he just pips the usual suspects of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson for the golden bat. Can't see this being a World Cup for spinners so Trent Boult gets the nod for most wickets ahead of Pat Cummins and Jasprit Bumrah.
Rattue: Joe Root, Trent Boult.
Roos: Toss up between England's Jos Buttler and South Africa's Quinton de Kock in the runs department. Aussie quick Pat Cummins to bag the most wickets.
Holloway: Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah.
Chapman: Run scorer – Virat Kohli. Hard to argue with the quality of a man who averages a tad under 60 in ODI cricket. Has scored just two World Cup 100s too which you'd expect he'd be looking to improve on. Wicket-taker – Mitchell Starc. He's fast, swings the ball, bowls a deadly yorker. Enough said.
Alderson: I'll opt for Jonny Bairstow with the bat, given he averages 68.71 in 17 ODI innings opening for England at home in the last three seasons. With the ball, Trent Boult could scythe through line-ups if swing prevails. Rashid Khan might also be worth a look, given his spin could secure the lion's share of Afghanistan's wickets.
Napier: Could be a straight shootout between Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson and Jos Buttler. Smith may have a chip on his shoulder in his return to the international arena so expect him to front. South African quick Kagiso Rabada to edge Pat Cummings and Indian star Jasprit Bumrah as top wicket-taker.
The Black Caps to make the most impact will be...
Elliott: Trent Boult and Matt Henry. We know how good the former is, the latter has been able to weave his magic at county level in the UK and will relish the return.
Cleaver: As mentioned above, Boult, who needs to capitalise with swing in the early overs and yorkers at the death. Martin Guptill has to set a tone of controlled aggression early to allow Williamson and Ross Taylor to function how they like to in the middle overs. One of Jimmy Neesham or Colin de Grandhomme needs to bat like Glenn Maxwell – tough ask.
Man-of-few-words Rattue: Boult.
Roos: Martin Guptill at the top of the order. Nowhere near as explosive as Brendon McCullum four years ago, but able to provide big starts nonetheless. With the ball, I'm backing Ish Sodhi to claim crucial wickets in the middle overs. For all the talk of the ball bending in English conditions, an effective leg-spinner goes a long way in tournament cricket.
Holloway: Trent Boult with ball, Marty Guptill with bat. If these two don't fire - we're toast.
Chapman: Trent Boult. So much has been made about the expectation that this World Cup will be just a run-fest. If anyone can restrict opposition from doing that to the Black Caps, it's Boult. Worth mentioning as well how key Guptill will be at the top of the order.
Alderson: The usual suspects. World Cups tend to highlight the value of experience. This is where batsmen Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill and bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee (if he gets the nod ahead of Matt Henry) should rise to the occasion, given their past records in England.
Napier: Trent Boult. Relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, Boult is at the peak of his powers. Any ounce of swing, in the air or off the pitch, and he will extract it. The world's No 2 ranked bowler for good reason.
Will a team score 500 this tournament?
Elliott: Nope – not enough bunnies this time unlike Zimbabwe and England last time around. India gets closest.
Cleaver: Probably not. If England click against a weak team such as Afghanistan, or a team that can drop their bundle on a bad day like the West Indies or Pakistan, they could get close. Perhaps their best chance will come when they play Bangladesh at Sophia Gardens, which has short straight boundaries. India on a classic Rohit Sharma type of day might give 450-plus a nudge.
Rattue: No. Australia comes closest.
Roos: Not quite. But a few could get close - Australia v Sri Lanka, England v Sri Lanka, New Zealand v Sri Lanka...
Holloway: No. But England will go closest with a 425 against Afghanistan.
Chapman: I certainly hope not. The ICC will be probably hoping not as well, especially with how much focus there has been on this apparently being a top heavy tournament with just 10 teams. Ross Taylor also mentioned to the Radio Sport Breakfast on Tuesday that he thinks everyone should just calm down a bit with such predictions, and if anyone knows what it's like to play in the UK, it's the bloke who's recently been involved in county cricket.
Alderson: No. I see it like an object trying to reach the speed of light. The closer you get, factors conspire to push you away. England will get nearest, as prefaced by their 481 for six at Trent Bridge last year, but my mind's struggling to reconcile with this concept. Still, that's what naysayers said about Neil Armstrong and the moon, and Roger Bannister and the mile… Curiously, scorecards have been printed up to 500, just in case.
Napier: No. World Cups are different beasts, bringing a different form of pressure which could choke and constrain the world's best hitters. The odd blowout is expected and the likes of England and India possess serious batting firepower, but I can't see 500 being threatened. On their day, though, England could go off.
Elliott: England, India, South Africa, Australia.
Cleaver: England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand. (I'm pretty sure India will make it but I refuse to say who I would take out of this list to accommodate them.)
Rattue: Australia, India, England, Pakistan.
Roos: Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand.
Holloway: England, India, Australia, New Zealand.
Chapman: Really wish I didn't have to predict this. England and India have to be there. Australia with their bowling attack and power hitting should be. Then I think it's a toss up between Pakistan and New Zealand. Shall be patriotic and go for the Black Caps.
Alderson: England, India, Australia, New Zealand – possibly in that order.
Napier: New Zealand, England, Australia, South Africa. India the big omission but they may struggle to adapt to English conditions.
It could happen...
Elliott: Not only will no team break 500, no team will break 400.
Cleaver: Ross Taylor retires from international white-ball cricket after scoring 17 off 19 balls in his final "at-bat". Announces he will remain available for the test team until he at least plays 100 tests.
Rattue: David Warner wins a fair play award.
Roos: Neither India nor South Africa make the playoffs, the former crashing to a few of the big teams and the latter having its share of upsets and weather interruptions.
Holloway: Rain will be the biggest factor in many big games with the English summer turning on a stinker.
Chapman: Unsure if it's really a boiling take, more 180 degrees on fan bake because they're in the World Cup for a reason, but Afghanistan will win at least three games. Rashid Khan is a deceitful, mysterious and crafty spinner, Hazratullah Zazai is a destructive batsman, and they're well captained by Gulbadin Naib. I wouldn't be overly surprised if they beat the likes of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or the West Indies and maybe toppled a big name.
Alderson: South Africa defy a catalogue of past disappointments and secure the ultimate ODI prize.
Napier: At some point, home pressure will be too much, and England will choke. It's in their sporting DNA.
Who wins the World Cup (and who is the biggest letdown)?
Elliott: India. The biggest let-down is the Black Caps. Took too long to start building for the 2019 World Cup by persisting with players that were obviously not going to be there (Luke Ronchi and Neil Broom spring to mind), the coach left a year out and the team is heading into the tournament with some question marks over the top XI. Feels like it's poised for a letdown. I hope not.
Cleaver: I was talking to a cricket nut named Jeremy who remains convinced England will wet their pants come semifinal time because of the weight of expectation. I'm not so sure. Their batting is so deep and explosive that they will mask any deficiencies their bowling attack may have.
Straight-to-the-point Rattue: Australia. South Africa.
Roos: Australia, beating Pakistan in the final in a repeat of the 1999 tournament. An emotional David Warner is seen flipping the bird at abusive spectators from the Lord's balcony, leading to another lengthy ban and, finally, retirement from the game. Kohli and India crumble under the weight of expectation and public scrutiny.
Holloway: England win with their strongest ODI side and Davie Warner is the biggest letdown, only hitting double figures twice in a sad, lonely tournament.
Chapman: I have it being an England v India final that's where I believe it's a coin flip. I think India's experience and well balanced side will give them the edge. Sorry Poms, you've got to lose one to win one right? Biggest letdown will be South Africa. As much as I love Dale Steyn, he's old and not the seriously lethal pace bowler he once was. Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla aren't as threatening as they used to be with the bat. And let's be honest, it's kind of funny watching your boss squirm when his team loses.
Alderson: On current form, England win and reach a goal previously unattainable across 44 years and 11 editions, including four at home. Anything other than making the final would be a letdown for India, who could be mercurial under Virat Kohli's leadership. Can they stand up to the scrutiny?
Napier: As much as it pains to say the tournament seems set up for Australia to crash England's high tea party. Steve Smith and David Warner completely change the complexion of the canary yellows (could their year-long bans not have been extended for six more months?) and the defending champions have enjoyed the luxury of flying under the radar somewhat. Australia traditionally loves 50 over cricket, and Ricky Pointing's smarts is another asset on the coaching team. With a history of flopping in this format outside home comforts, India could be the major disappointment.