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Tue, Jul 16, 2019 11:06 AM
Thu, Jul 11, 2019 1:01

Another mini ashes to be held at Edgbaston

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Region Champion Australia has won world cup five times in the past, England has never won World Cup

After the breath taking first semi final of the eventful ICC World Cup 2019 at Manchester two traditional rivals Australia and England lock horns today at Edgbaston. Any contest in cricket anywhere in the cricket world in format between these two old foes, always create huge excitement and tensions.

Region Champion Australia has won world cup five times in the past, England has never won World Cup. Their best is losing finalist three times. Australia has already beaten England in this tournament once. But England is now ICC top ranked team. They have assembled a team of big striking batsmen and some high quality bowlers from different countries of the world. This team has players of origin from South Africa, Ireland, West Indies and Pakistan. They are naturalized Englishmen. On the other hand Australia is a bunch of matured quality players and budding youngsters. The contest would create excitement and heat. In summary it is a 50-50 match. At Edgbaston where the boundary is short in one side it is expected to grow into a high scoring drama.

Australia finished 2nd behind India in the points table after preliminary round. England was third. Its qualification became uncertain at crunch stage losing matches against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. India was not in a winning mode in their closely contested match which brought England back to winning momentum.

England all remembers was knocked out in the preliminary round in 2015 losing to Bangladesh in Adelaide.  Since then lot of waters have flown through River Tames. Four years intensive planning of England and their brilliant run in ODI over the past two years will be put into acid test today in another attempt for winning against old foe for a final date against New Zealand at Lords on Sunday 14 July.

Australia never lost any of their previous seven semi finals in World Cup. They went on winning five times and finished losing finalists twice including once against vintage West Indies in the first version of the tournament.

England have never won world not even the past four times held in own backyard. In its mission 2019 English bowlers will need to restrict the flamboyance of Aaron Flinch and David Warner at the top and English batsmen have to keep Starc and Cummins at bay. Australia is in HEXA mission. They will leave nothing unturned to rewrite history. The teams will have another edition of Ashes after the World Cup.

Getting knocked out at the preliminary round of WC 2015 seriously dented English cricket pride. With their eyes for another edition of World Cup in their own backyard ECCB drafted Trevor Bayliss the Australian coach for orchestrating plan for mission 2019. The transformation over the last four years has been phenomenal.

England has graduated to the top of ICC ranking in ODI. The climb to the top of Mount Everest is led by dynamic blasters Jason Roy and Jonny Baitrstow at the top , world class batsmen Joe Root and Eoin Morgan in the middle order and blasters like Jose Buttler and Ben Stokes in the lower middle orders . Couple of tear away fast bowlers like Jofra Archer and Mark Wood clicking often 150 Kmh added spice to English attack which also have steady Chris Woakes , Liam Plunket and Ben Stokes . Wrist spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are also more than able spinners. England bats deep and if any team is capable of scoring 450 runs in the world cup that is England now.

Australians are always a steady performer in World Cricket. In matter of success at the top level Australia has already matched Brazil's achievement of PENTA in World Cup Cricket. Cricket Australia ran into troubled water from unfortunate ball tampering in South Africa leading to suspension of Bancroft, David Warner and Steve Smith. Australia also passed through a lean patch for some years following their MCG triumph in 2015. The team bounced back without Warner and Smith under leading from the front Aaron Flinch. Subsequently the suspension of two world class batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith was lifted. They off course sharpened their rust playing in BPL and IPL. Fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Cummins also recovered from injuries. Australia looked ready for the big show right from the commencement of WC 2019 after achieving success against India in India and against Pakistan in UAE.

Australian challenge got a bit difficult as inform top order batsman UsmanKhawaja got injured and got knocked out from the World Cup. Another quality batsman Shaon Marsh also got injured earlier. Most of their runs in their 9 first round matches, were scored by Warner and Flinch. If English fast bowlers make early in roads, Steve Smith need firing in full cylinders. He is not in his top form yet. Dynamic Glen Maxwell is not in his self. Peter Handscomb replacing Khawaja will have to shoulder responsibility for holding the innings together. However, all rounder Marcus Stoinis recovered from injury and Wicket Keeper. Alex Carey is in prime form. If necessary, Kangaroo tails can wag. Coulter Nile and Cummins are good for quick 30-40 runs if need be.

Australian bowling is in the safe hands of leading wicket taker Mitchell Starc, his left arm young mate Behrendorff and pacey Cummins. Marcus Stoinis and Coulter Nile also are no less effective. Australia has delayed in giving quality spinner Nathan Lyon match practice. He will be handy against English middle and late order blasters.

England on the other hand have inform quality batsmen all the way down to number 8. Roy and Bairstow are prolific at the top. Root and Morgan are classy. We all know how destructive Buttler and Stokes can be. Moeen, Adil Rashid and Woakes can also contribute. Bowling wise Archer is a great addition to Wood, Woakes and Plunkett. We are unsure whether at Edgbaston England would play two spinners.

Whatever be the case the two even matched teams are expected producing great contest. The team executing their match plan clinically would win this 50:50 match.

Probable Squad:

Australia: Aaron Flinch, David Warner, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Coulter Nile, Cummins, Starc, Behrendorff and Lyons.

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Joss Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali/Adil Rashid, Chris Stokes, Jofra Archer Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood .

It will be a big set back if four years plotting and planning by English think tank is not crowned with a win. If that happens, WC 2019 will witness champion which world cricket has not seen ever.