England vs Australia is usually a keenly-awaited contest due to the great rivalry the two teams have had. This time, in the ongoing ICC 2019 World Cup, this match assumes a much greater significance. England, the hosts and pre-tournament favourites, are suddenly under serious pressure. They are lying fourth on the table and need to win in order to put themselves out of danger.
Australia, on the other hand, are starting to get into full stride and play as one of the best sides in the tournament. But there are couple of issues that need to be sorted out and that's what the Kangaroos will try and do in this game. So, as both teams prepare for this extremely crucial match, let's look at the biggest reasons why you should tune in to watch it.
England's response to pressure
Since their disastrous run at the last World Cup, England's ODI cricket has been all about preparing for this event. They have spent the last four years shaping their team in order to win the coveted trophy at home. Now, due to them having lost two matches, one to Pakistan and the other to Sri Lanka, they are in some pressure. Now we will find out whether they can thrive under the real pressure of World Cup. They may have dominated ODI cricket by winning most of their series, home and away, but this is where the players will have to show their true quality. Can they thrive when the going is tough?
Australia's spin conundrum
Australia have two contrasting spinners in their squad. The erratic but wicket-taking Adam Zampa and the consistent but orthodox Nathan Lyon. So far, the former has got the nod to play in the XI. But he hasn't always been dependable. There has been talk of getting Lyon back into the team. The off-spinner is bound to guarantee a tight bowling performance where he can keep the scoring down and maybe, get the odd wicket as well. Australia may have opted for Zampa till now, but would they want someone like him in the knockout stages. If they have to get Lyon into the team, they have to use him now. That's another interesting aspect of the game to watch out for.
England's batting approach
Just when the English team finds itself under pressure, people have started questioning their batting approach. This leads to an interesting question: Will England stick to their aggressive batting style or try to temper it in view of what happened against Sri Lanka. This would become all the more relevant if the conditions for batting are not all that easy. English batsmen have been criticized for not adapting well when the pitches are not flat. Changing their batting style at the last moment may be hazardous as it may disturb their long-set plans. But committing the same mistakes might be even more dangerous. Watching how they approach their innings would be very interesting.
Can England show their much-vaunted chasing prowess?
The Eoin Morgan-led side came into this tournament with the reputation of a team that can chase down any score. But their defeat to Pakistan and then against Sri Lanka suggests the pressure of chasing in the World Cup is proving too hot to handle. If they bat second against Australia and are given a decent target to chase, we will get to see another test of their much talked-about preference of chasing. If they fail again, it will be an incontrovertible proof of them being unable to deal with the added pressure of batting second in the big event. This would mean that going ahead, in the knockout matches, the toss would be extremely crucial. It is one aspect of the game that needs to be followed closely.