About the Match
England and Australia have had two very contrasting Champions Trophy campaigns up until now. Whereas England has two wins in two games against Bangladesh and New Zealand and has already qualified for the semi-finals, Australia, on the other hand, has had two washouts against the same two opponents. This means that Australia’s chances of making the semi-finals hinge completely on their last group game against England to be played at Birmingham on 10th June. If Australia wins, they are through, but if they lose, it will in all likelihood mean an end to their Champions Trophy 2017 campaign.
England is the host for this edition of the Champions Trophy and also one of the most improved ODI units in the last couple of years. They have proved to be a very dynamic ODI team in recent months, and have lived up to such a billing in this tournament till now. England has played some fantastic cricket and defeated both Bangladesh and New Zealand with conviction to become the first semi-finalists of this edition of the Champions Trophy.
The England batting lineup has been in sensational form in the first two matches, with Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan all getting good scores. The bowling has also done well as a unit with Liam Plunkett being the stand out performer with four-wicket hauls in both the games.
Being the hosts has provided England the all important home advantage and this will continue in this game as well. They will know the conditions inside out and the crowd will be on their side as well. This familiarity with conditions also brings added pressure though, and how well England is able to handle this pressure can determine the result of this game.
Most of the players in the English squad are in good form and have done well in both the games till now. Ben Stokes, who was in sensational form with both bat and ball in the IPL, will be a crucial player for them in this game. England will be entering this game with a well-balanced squad and some good recent success. Though how successful they will be against Australia will depend on how well they are able to handle the pressure of expectation.
Australia had entered the Champions Trophy as the current World Champion and the second-ranked ODI team in the world. They could not live up to this billing in the first game however and were staring at a likely defeat against New Zealand but for the rain. The weather did get one up on them as well when rain deprived them of a victory against Bangladesh when the game was all but over.
These two washouts mean that Australia has two points from two games so far and now need to win their last group game against England to enter the semi-finals irrespective of other results. This will not be as simple though, as England has been in great form in this tournament and are undefeated till now.
However, Australia has a good squad of players to choose from; the conditions will not be alien to them, their pace bowlers will enjoy the bounce and their batsmen favor batting on such wickets, and so they will surely fancy their chances against England. Though the current tussle between CA and the ACA has led to an unnecessary controversy, Australia has a great overall record at ICC events, and they would be hoping to maintain this record with a win in this game.
Josh Hazlewood was fantastic in the game against New Zealand and Mitchel Starc was at his venomous best against Bangladesh. Australia would be hoping that these guys keep up the good work and others raise their game as well. The batting department has appeared a little flustered though, and players like Captain Steven Smith, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell will have to shoulder more responsibility.
Australia appears to be a very strong unit on paper and they have a history of strong performances in ICC events. This is their last chance in this edition though and they will surely give in their all in this game to get to the semi-finals.
Both England and Australia are two very competent ODI outfits. Both these sides are pretty well balanced, but Australia traditionally performs better at ICC events. However this England side is one of the best ODI outfits going around currently, their squad appears to be more settled and in form on paper, and they will carry the confidence of two superb wins in their previous games into this match, and this gives them a slight upper hand in this contest.