England’s ODI Resurgence: Are They The Current Favourites For The 2019 World Cup?

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Chris Woakes of England celebrates with team mates after taking the wicket of Marcus Stoinis of Australia during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 21, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

After a miserable Ashes series, England have bounced back in fine fashion in the ODIs. Admittedly the ODI series carries significantly less importance than the Ashes, but it has provided some consolation. England have outplayed Australia in pretty much every department so far. England’s ODI resurgence means that they are currently one of the best sides in the world and could be in a strong position to launch a successful campaign to win the 2019 World Cup.

Do They Have the Best Side In The World?

There is a case to be made that England have the best top order in the world. Jason Roy’s blistering 180 against a phenomenal bowling attack has cemented his place as one of the most exciting openers in the world. With either Jonny Bairstow or Alex Hales opening aside him, England have certainly one of the best opening partnerships in the world. In many ways they match the calibre of India’s Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan or Australia’s David Warner and Aaron Finch.
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Their middle order is probably their main strength. Jos Buttler’s rampant hundred today showed that. Coming at number six, with the score at a precarious 107-4, Buttler snatched the game away from Australia. Buttler’s 83 ball unbeaten hundred was also aided significantly by a rapid fifty from Chris Woakes, who smashed five fours and two maximums. England’s middle order is full of potential match-winners.

There is no other side in the world that has the same depth as England. We also have to remember that this is in the absence of Ben Stokes, who would further shore up their batting in the middle order and is another proven-match winner.

England’s pace attack have also fired. Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have economies that are significantly less than Australia’s pace quartet and Adil Rashid has the joint highest wickets in the series so far. Their bowling unit is not full of blockbuster names like Australia’s, but each individual player has a wealth of talent and they combine well to form a lethal attack.
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How Significant Is Home Advantage?

The past two ODI World Cups have been won by one of the hosts. India secured their second trophy in Mumbai in 2011, while Australia defeated rivals New Zealand in a packed MCG. England will be keen to continue this trend.

However, home advantage did not seem to play that great a role in the Champions Trophy last year. Despite looking good in the group stages, topping Group A, they failed to deliver in the knockout stages as they succumbed to a crushing defeat at the hands of eventual winners Pakistan.

In the 2013 Champions Trophy England made it all the way to the final and narrowly lost to India in a rain-affected 20 over clash. This was a harsh fate for England to endure, as losing a 50 over tournament in a 20 over match just does not seem right.

Arguably the pitches England had over the last summer were not typical English pitches. A combination of unusually high temperatures and a busy home season meant that there was a lack of grass and pitches were relatively flat. England will be keen to rectify this in 2019 and will no doubt aim to produce greener wickets.
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Are England The Real ‘Chokers’ Of Cricket?

England’s failure in the Champions Trophy semi-finals was not the first time they have ‘choked’ in limited overs tournaments. In the last World Cup, England failed spectacularly as they were unable to qualify from their group. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka both qualified ahead of them. To put this in context, both of those sides have recently been defeated by Zimbabwe. In 2011 Sri Lanka produced an historic ten wicket victory over England in the quarter-finals, as England’s bowlers looked toothless.

England’s knockout track record is woeful. South Africa often are labelled the ‘chokers’ of cricket tournaments, but England are certainly giving them a run for their money.

However, there is some hope. Coming into their ODI series in Australia, England were under immense pressure. They desperately needed to secure a series win to regains some dignity, which they have done exemplarily. If they can cope with being the hosts, and possibly the favourites, then England certainly have the raw talent to win the competition.

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