Five-time champions Australia will face arch-rivals England in Match 36 of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The match will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Australia found themselves in some early trouble with two consecutive defeats to begin their tournament, but they are now on course with four big wins on the trot. It all began with a hard-fought win against Sri Lanka, where they had their moments of struggle but emerged triumphant.
The Pat Cummins-led team followed it up with blistering batting performances against Pakistan and Netherlands. David Warner and Mitchell Marsh scored centuries against Pakistan, while Glenn Maxwell broke the record for the fastest century in World Cup cricket against the Netherlands.
In their last match against New Zealand, Travis Head returned to the scene with a bang. He smashed a 67-ball 109 on his World Cup debut and alongside Warner’s valiant 81, Australia scored 388 runs batting first. New Zealand nearly chased the total but fell five runs short. Adam Zampa starred with the ball picking three wickets, while Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood took two each.
England are on the brink of exiting the ICC World Cup 2023 and may also be on the verge of breaking some unwanted records. The defending champions have picked up only one win in six matches and are at the foot of the points table. In their previous outing, they were hammered with a 100-run defeat against India.
The English have very little to play for, but for Australia, if they take the foot off the pedal, teams like Pakistan and Afghanistan are waiting on the brink of making it to the top four.
Here’s how the Aussies might line up for this all-important clash.
Openers: David Warner, Travis Head
David Warner is among the leading run-scorers in the ongoing tournament, scoring 413 runs in six matches. This tally includes two centuries, coming in the last two matches. He is also batting at an impressive strike-rate of 112.53, providing solid starts to the team in the powerplay overs.
Travis Head returned to the playing XI and made an instant impact in the last match. His rampant century added further strength to the Aussie top order. In eight ODIs this year, Head scored 350 runs at an average of 58.33 and a sensational strike-rate of 147.67.
Middle order: Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis
Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who possess great ability to switch gears in the middle order, are an ideal choice for the No. 3 and No. 4 positions. Smith, despite getting only one half-century in the tournament, has looked in good touch whenever he came out to bat. Labuschagne scored 201 runs in six knocks and he too has scored one half-century.
Josh Inglis has shown some destructive signs batting in the lower middle order. Although he scored only 128 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 114.28 and his attacking intent is exactly what the team needs from him.
All-rounders: Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis
Glenn Maxwell was chipping in with some top performances but an unfortunate injury rules him out of this clash. Cameron Green, who played two matches in the tournament without really making an impact, might return to the XI as Mitchell Marsh too is unavailable for selection.
The opposition will be wary of Marcus Stoinis’ strength although his role after the losses to India and South Africa has been minimal. Stoinis has proven himself as a big-match player in the past and Australia will bank on him for that one big contribution which usually comes at a crucial juncture.
Bowlers: Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa
Captain Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have not been at their best in the ongoing tournament, but both of them bowled well in the second innings against New Zealand, picking two wickets each. There’s proven pedigree among these two bowlers and their return to form is a massive boost for Australia.
Adam Zampa was off to a poor start, but lately, he has been spearheading their spin department, as he was expected to on these spinner-friendly conditions. He has picked up 16 wickets at an average of 19.06 and an economy of 6.22. Mitchell Starc, a bonafide star at the World Cup with 50+ scalps in the tournament history, added seven to his tally so far in India.
Australia’s Predicted Playing XI
Josh Inglis (wk)
Pat Cummins (c)
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