It’s not quite the Ashes, but this ICC Champions Trophy group stage game is of relative significance.
There is no love lost between these two, and with Australia yet to finish a game in the tournament, they suddenly find themselves in a situation where no less than a win will permit them a place in the semi-finals.
It’s far too close to call, but for the fact that England have little to play for, I would tip Australia for this one at an inviting evs with Betway. Mitchell Starc has said that his team will up their game knowing that this match is effectively their first knockout game and with England already safe and sound in the semis, they won’t want to, but they may let their standard slip a little.
Starting with the Aussies, it is only their bowlers who have had a fair crack at the whip so far. Mitchell Starc is the frightening, lightning fast left armer who just narrowly missed out on a hat trick against Bangladesh, but it is Josh Hazlewood who has picked up the most wickets (7) so far.
A flawless graduate from the School of Glenn McGrath, Hazlewood has immense control over the ball and will be a constant threat to a strong English batting line up. Selection permitting, Adam Zampa may be one to watch with his probing leg spin, though he was left out of the squad last time they lined up at Edgbaston. I’d take Hazlewood to be Australia’s Top Bowler at 3/1 with Betway.
To date, their batting has been unable to flourish. Though they boast the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell, they were rattled at the hands of New Zealand bowlers and limped to 53-3 before rain saved their blushes. Against Bangladesh, it was a much simpler ride as Warner and captain Smith eased to 83-1 as rain this time prevented them from a probable victory.
They say the third time is the luckiest, and Australia will hope that is the case as in order to defeat their arch enemies, they will need to bat through. We fancy Steve Smith to go well as he usually does, but David Warner to be Top Australia Batsman at 11/4 with Betway.
As for England, there may be some changes as Bayliss and Farbrace look to try out Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings and David Willey in major competitions. Jason Roy, who has struggled incredibly with the bat may face the axe, but Eoin Morgan is quick to defend his opener and dropping one of the players focal to the side’s rise might induce a rethink; something England don’t want or need mid-tournament.
Joe Root is an obvious candidate for top scorer given his two innings of 133* and 64, but Alex Hales has been ticking along nicely, scoring five 50s in his last eight ODIs, securing a century just once backing in Bridgetown against West Indies. If he gets in, we would tip him to reach 100 this time around and be England’s Top Batsman at 7/2 with Betway..
Liam Plunkett has been the standout bowler so far, picking up seven wickets in England’s two appearances. We fancy him to carry on as he is, but Jake Ball looked increasingly dangerous against New Zealand and with criticisms of his place in the side, the Nottinghamshire bowler is always bowling for his place. He could be an outsider to be England’s Top Bowler at 9/2 with Betway.
As for the outcome, we would tip Australia. In the grand scheme of the tournament, England are looking a tastier proposition, but given the circumstances of the game on its own, there is too much to lose for Australia.