Having survived a massive eligibility scare, the host nation’s dream of winning their first World Cup remains very much alive. To maintain it and reach their first final since 1992, England will need to conquer their oldest rival and, in doing so, reverse a hefty defeat earlier in the tournament.
Aussies have dispelled doubts and defied pundits
In keeping with 50-over cricket in general, the formbook has stood up well. Not many pundits doubted England, India and Australia could reach the semis, while New Zealand were a favorite option.
1 aspect which many of us and to some degree the betting got wrong, however, was underestimating the Aussies. Perhaps they’re still only third best but the difference is evidently skinnier than five weeks ago.
The doubts were obviously valid. Nobody knew how they would react to all the controversy and upheaval regarding David Warner and Steve Smith’s return to international cricket. Nor whether Mitchell Starc are the exact same force as in 2015. After 932 runs out of the former group, and 26 wickets in the latter, we can safely say they delivered outside the most optimistic expectations.
Defeat to South Africa in Saturday’s dead rubber maybe take some of the glow off but I would not read anything to it. The Aussies have won 15 of their last 17 matches and, before the World Cup, eight on the bounce came against India and Pakistan.
England’s response to crisis was superb
In terms of England, their wobble not just livened up the tournament but possibly brought an drunk sense of realism. Yes, they’ve been the finest ODI side of recent years but as Sri Lanka proved, nothing could be taken for granted at the elite level.
England have been outstanding in their two newest must-win matches, doing what they do best – compiling unattainable totals. In defeating India and fellow semi-finalists New Zealand, their pedigree was re-affirmed.
Aussie bowlers could provide the key edge
But I have to question their status as clear favourites here. There was not anything flukey regarding Australia’s 64-run victory over them in the group. For all their batting power and thickness, England couldn’t handle Starc and Jason Behrendorff – let alone hit them out of the park.For my money, the general rule to follow in elite level cricket would be that bowlers win games. Only by controlling the scoring speed and take wickets throughout the middle overs, can totals be contained.
Bowling isn’t England’s strength but, to be honest, they’ve delivered. Jofra Archer and Mark Wood possess 33 wickets united, while Chris Woakes has also been excellent and unlucky on event.
Nevertheless I rate the pace trio as a superior combination and Starc is frankly unplayable at times. Given that their batsmen also have performed, with the best order flourishing, patriotic concerns have to be put aside. 2.28 about this kind of in-form outfit, boasting a vast advantage in terms of managing stress in previous Earth, has to be the wager.
300 looks a winning total in Edgbaston
Pre-tournament, Edgbaston was on my list of reasons accountable to yield very high totals. Having a company pitch, 400 will be possible but this surface has been low and slow.
The very first two totals were 241 and 237 – both of which proved aggressive if not quite enough. Since, England won 337 along with India with 315. Both scores looked and demonstrated comfortably above level.
If 300 or more starts at odds-on in our 1st Innings Runs marketplace, I’ll be putting it, and a ring around the 270 mark will be well worth opposing at 1.30 or less.
So far as Leading Australian Batsman is concerned, it’s really hard to argue for anyone past the top purchase. Warner and Aaron Finch have amassed 1145 runs and therefore are perfectly reasonably worth to top-score again at 11/4 and 10/3 respectively.