The aisles and stands at the iconic Lord’s will neither be empty, nor quiet, as cricket’s oldest rivals face off in the 32nd match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 today, reports ICC-Cricket.com.
England, who started their World Cup campaign with four resounding wins from their first five games, suffered a shocking 20-run defeat against Sri Lanka on Friday. The hosts, who came into the tournament as overwhelming favourites, now enter the toughest phase of their competition, marked by three tough games, starting with the one against Australia, needing a win. To add to their woes is the unavailability of Jason Roy, who has been sidelined due to hamstring injury.Australia, powered by some monumental contributions from their openers and the wicket-taking form of their strike bowlers, currently occupy the second position in the points table, with five wins in six matches. Marcus Stoinis’ return has further bolstered the team’s balance, as the all-rounder returned figures of 2/54 in the previous game, against Bangladesh. The middle-order, which hasn’t been able to contribute significantly in their last three games, is likely to face a stiff challenge against a well-rounded England attack.
Australia are ahead on the head-to-head count, with 81 wins to England’s 61. However, the hosts have had an edge over the five-time World Cup winners in recent times, having won nine of the last ten games against them. With the stakes high for England, and Australia looking to continue their dominance, an exciting contest could be on the cards today.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was unimpressed, writing in Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “He (Moeen) was there to win the game but it was dumb cricket taking on the man at long off having just hit the ball for six.”
“I think we were a little bit passive as a group,” said the usually big-hitting Buttler, who made just 10 before becoming the last of four wickets for veteran paceman Lasith Malinga.
Allan Border, Australia’s captain when they beat England in the 1987 World Cup final in Kolkata, believes it will be the bowlers who are decisive.
“The game will be won and lost in the bowling,” he wrote in an ICC column. “If Australia can hold their ground against the onslaught and put pressure back on England, that’ll be key.”Squads
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.