Okay, it’s not exactly the Ashes, but probably more important. England take on Australia in a do or die clash. Lose this match, and they are almost out of the World Cup 2019 – a competition held in their own country, which they were the favorites to win.
This is unthinkable, but that is where we are now. On paper, England are so good – swashbuckling batsmen from 1 to 8. Bairstow, Jason Roy, Morgan, Root, Stokes, Butler, Moeen Ali – match winners in every position.
They have the fastest bowling attack in the World Cup with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. And yet, they are so close to bowing out of the World Cup!
Australia, on the other hand, have been solid. David Warner has looked hungry like a wolf. Every time he gets his eye in, a 100 looks a certainty. He may well turn out to be the player of the tournament.
Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja and the new captain Aaron Finch have been an excellent supporting cast. The bowling looks very impressive indeed with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc leading the attack.
What is clear is Australia will join India and New Zealand in the semi finals. The competition is for the fourth spot, and it could be anyone. England have their task cut out and they will be up against the old enemy, who will love to take them out!
They will be without key batsman Jason Roy though, who is out with an injury suffered from an on-field incident.
England: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 James Vince, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Liam Plunkett/Mark Wood
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile/Jason Behrendorff, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Adam Zampa/Nathan Lyon
The match will be played at Lord’s, the Mecca of World Cricket. The forecast is good, but there could be a shower late in the day. The Lord’s pitch has always been a sporting one, has plenty for fast bowlers and good for batting as well.
Prediction: On paper, England have a better team than Australia and are playing in home conditions. So they should win. However, applying Murphy’s Law here, when things go wrong, they really go wrong. Which is why we expect Australia to win.