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Super Eight: England Vs Australia

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Today’s match between England and Australiais one of the most eagerly awaited contests of the World Cup, more so now that the only India-Pakistan game that can happen is in the stands between disgruntled supporters. Australians have dominated the face offs for more than a decade now. But every once in a while, England manages to gather courage, talent and enough motivation to take the giants down. Enough to keep interest alive.

 
England, having lost a close game to the Lankans, have given away a chance to hold advantage in the Super-Eight stage, and more importantly, have lost a chance to reduce the impact that a defeat tonight will have. However, with matches yet to be played against the Windies, South Africans and Bangladeshis, they still have enough cricket left to stage a come back. Thus, a victory here will be nothing short of a bonus for England. And a key boost to perform better from hereon.

 Australia seems have recovered the key to success which they seemed to have misplaced before the world cup. Six in six till now, the giants are looking more invincible than ever before. They look to be singing the right tunes to take the Cup away one more time. But as we all know, overconfidence can drown anyone.

 
At any rate, let’s see what squadstats have to say about the match.

 

Muscles up the order

 Of the Australian batsmen lineup, Hayden, Ponting and Clarke have batting averages which are 13 points above the team’s average, with Hussey clearing the team’s average by 33 points. Players such as Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting and Symonds have a 50-to-100 conversion rate of over 20% (Ponting has a 28% conversion rate). The batting on the whole takes consistency to a new level, as every player provides a 50+ innings every 4 matches. The best so far by any team.

 The English batting, if they hold their wickets, is dynamic and capable. Strauss, Bell, Collingwood and Flintoff bat at 10 points above the team’s batting average while Pieterson scores at a whopping 33 points above the team’s average. However, they lack in consistency as compared to Australians, with batsmen putting up a 50+ score only once every 8 matches.

 

Bowling problems

However, bowling remains their weak point this world cup. South Africa had almost pulled out a replay of epic 2005 chase against Australia in group stages. This clearly shows their vulnerbility. Unlike in the days of yore when the Aussie bowlers hunted in large packs, only Mcgrath and Bracken in the current squad are above the team’s overall bowling average, each by 6 points.

 However, unsurprisingly, England isn’t spectacularly ahead of the aussies in this aspect as they too rely on their two key bowlers, Flintoff and Anderson. Although Sajid Mahmood’s recent performances will be encouraging, it isn’t likely to be enough to scare the Aussies.

 

 Projected scores

Australians concede, on an average, only 234 runs in their 50 overs whilst scoring a massive 252 runs each game. No wonder they win most of their games and are cricketing giants. England, however, scores around 231 and concedes around 245 runs. A gap too large to be plugged? Possibly. Australians seem outright winners before the match is played. But then again, that’s what many said before the legendary 2005 Ashes series.

 
The stage is set. Australia will come out confident of winning, while England will come strengthened by a certain amount of desperation to win so as to strengthen their case for a semi-final spot.

 But at the end of the day, more than points, more than runs, more than anything else, it is a question of pride. Every member of this English will want an epitaph that reads “ Here lies a man who defeated Australia in the World Cup”.

 



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