This will be the second series of the inaugural ICC ODI Super-League and 30 points will be up for grabs [10 points for every win], giving a much-context to the rubber. England and Ireland kicked off the ODI Super League last month, where the hosts grabbed 20 points courtesy back-to-back wins before getting a shock of their lives in the final game as the Irish completed a record run-chase.
England, however, will go in as firm favorites in the series. And, that is not only because they are better accustomed to the conditions or because of their recent form. It is also because the world champions have had a lid over their Ashes rivals in 50-over cricket in the past three years. The Eoin Morgan-led unit has won the last two bilateral rubbers [4-1 in Australia and 5-0 in England] and their only defeat to the five-time world champions and perennial ODI heavyweights came in the league-stage encounter of the 2019 World Cup at Lord’s.
Will Australia shrug off their poor run of form in ODI cricket or will England once again dictate terms?
England has undergone a whirlwind revolution in white-ball cricket since the debacle of the 2015 World Cup. But if you delve into the details, you’d realize that England’s rise in the 50-over format has coincided with Australia’s decline in a format that they have dominated for the major part of the past 40-plus years. And, one of the reasons for that is the lack of quality middle-order batsman in the Aussie set-up.
Gone are the days of middle-order legends like Michael Clarke, Michael Bevan, Mike Hussey, Dean Jones, Steve Waugh, or Andrew Symonds, who used to be the heartbeat of the Aussie batting line-up, often leading them to improbable victories despite the rare failures of the top-3. Australia has tried and tested the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell for the middle-lower-order spots but none of them have been able to nail down their spot.
Australia’s middle-order woes and their inability to play spin was truly evident in the T20I series and once again the spotlight will be on it in then ODIs. The addition of Marnus Labuschagne will provide much-needed solidarity to the middle-over but it is the 5-7 spots, which is likely to feature the likes of Glenn Maxwell, one of Marcus Stoinis or Mitchell Marsh, and keeper Alex Carey, that will ultimately decide Australia’s fortunes in the tournament
England vs Australia, 1st ODI, Manchester: Weather Forecast
According to the weather report on the BBC, it is set to be an overcast day in Manchester on Friday but the chances of rain are minimal. The temperatures are set to hover between 10-16 degrees Celsius while the humidity is set to be around 71 percent.