Tuesday’s match at Lord’s was always going to be a showpiece occasion, but it has been given added spice by England’s 20-run loss to Sri Lanka.
ICC WORLD CUP 2019: FULL SCHEDULE | POINTS TABLE
Despite their second defeat of the pool phase following an earlier loss to Pakistan, the tournament hosts remained in the top four and on course for a semi-final spot.
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What: England vs Australia
Where: Lord’s, London
Time: 3:00 pm (IST)
But England, bidding to win the World Cup for the first time, cannot afford many more slip-ups in their remaining pool fixtures against fellow title contenders Australia, India and New Zealand — teams they have not defeated at a World Cup since 1992.
England’s rise to the top of the one-day international rankings since their woeful first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup has been based on aggressive batting.
They have twice posted a world record score at this level in the intervening four years, including the current mark of 481/6 against Australia at Trent Bridge just over 12 months ago. Doubts, however, persist about England’s ability to bat in less than ideal conditions for shot-making.
By contrast, Australia have been buoyed by the productive opening partnership between captain Aaron Finch and David Warner and are second in the table after five wins from six matches.
Mitchell Starc is the joint-leading wicket-taker at the World Cup — his tally of 15 putting him level with fellow pacemen Jofra Archer (England) and Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) — but Australia’s bowling in support of the left-armer has looked vulnerable.