Group A: England v Australia at Edgbaston
Saturday Jun 10, 2017 – 19:30 AEST
|Top Batsman Australia||Steve Smith ($3.75)|
|Top Batsman England||Alex Hales ($4.35)|
|Top Bowler Australia||Josh Hazelwood ($4.50)|
|Top Bowler England||Mark Wood ($4.50)|
There is no older rivalry than Australia v England when it comes to cricket. Unlike the old days though when Australia would turn up and pummel England into submissions, this England ODI side is rewriting the way cricket is played around the world.
The head to head record between the two teams over the last 5 years is tilted in favor of Australia 13-9. A closer look at the results of the ODI’s played in England over the last five years shows that England has an 8-5 advantage including 2 of the last 3 matches they have contested.
The Wolf would, however, like to caution looking too deeply into these stats since the two teams have not met since 2015, the year which England began its remarkable ODI transformation.
This match will also be a must-win for Australia while England has already qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. While Australia can be expected to revert to aggression and intimidation, England will try and knock their Ashes opponents out of the tournament and land an early psychological blow.
Players to Watch Out For
Joe Root has started this tournament in absolutely sparkling fashion and scored 197 runs from two matches already. In fact, all of England’s top order has started the tournament strongly with Root averaging 197.00, Morgan 88.00, Hales 75.50, and Stokes 48.00. Jos Buttler is yet to be dismissed this tournament and has scored 61 runs at a strike rate of 127.08.
What was very impressive to see was the fact that England lost wickets at regular intervals against New Zealand, struggled for a large part of their innings and yet ended up scoring 310. Their batting order just does not end and one or more of them almost always comes good.
England has scored 296 or more in 6 out of the last 7 games they have batted first and scored at an average run rate of over 6 for the last 2 years.
For this match, the Wolf is recommending backing Alex Hales as the top batsman. With 151 runs from two games, he is in fine form and will relish the extra pace on the ball that the Aussies provide. Expect him to go hard.
Two washed out games have hampered Australia’s progress in this tournament, however, they would relish a knockout contest against their arch rivals. In all the talk about England’s batting, it should not be forgotten that Australia scored over 350 runs the last two times they batted first in ODI’s.
It has, however, been 5 matches since they tasted victory thanks to three abandoned matches and two losses against New Zealand.
The Wolf is backing Australia’s big guns to come to the party and thinks Steve Smith will get a big score. He has two low not out scores this tournament and is due for a big one. His record against England is not too great with an average of only 32.38 with one hundred but this is the time to change that.
The Wolf also sincerely hopes that Chris Lynn gets a look in this game because he is one player that can change the complexion of the game by himself. Maybe, Finch, Head or Henriques has to make way but get Lynn in.
England does not have the greatest bowling side but Plunkett and Wood among them have been the most impressive. The Wolf thinks Wood has been unlucky so far to have only picked 1 wicket in the tournament and has bowled much better than his figures suggest. Back him to the top bowler for England.
Australia, on the other hand, is spoiled for choice and will back their bowling attack to break the back of the English batting. Mitchell Starc cleaned up the Bangladeshi tail with ease, while Josh Hazelwood was brilliant against New Zealand.
In this match, the Wolf is going with Josh Hazelwood as the bowler most likely to trump all others because of his ability extract any little movement from the surface.
Pitch and Conditions
Edgbaston will offer a flat pitch with a quick outfield. The weather can be expected to play a role, however, early forecasts indicate that a full game will be played out most likely.
There is no team in the history of cricket that has done better than Australia in must-win games. They have always lifted their game in such situations and we expect them to do the same this time around. This could be one the best games this tournament throws up and the Wolf is backing Australia to win.