After it looked as if the four semi-finalists were going to be a procession, England were stunned by Sri Lanka to leave the Lions, Bangladesh and Pakistan all with a chance of chasing the hosts down for that fourth spot. Australia, India and New Zealand are all but confirmed to qualify and intriguingly, they are England’s next three opponents.
Not only could Eoin Morgan’s men lose all three matches, but the opportunity to eliminate the hosts from the final four can act as great motivation for those three teams.
Australia are starting to peak at just the right time, but as has been the case with all their victories so far this tournament, it’s been down to individual brilliance, rather than team efforts.
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc or Pat Cummins have all excelled, but the lack of depth of to their team was exposed against the quality of India, and despite their two defeats, the hosts are on a similar level to Virat Kohli’s men.
Although the Aussies represent the value in the match outcome market, we’re reluctant to get behind in case their big guns don’t fire. We are, however, keen to keep them onside in the highest opening partnership market. Jason Roy isn’t ready to return form injury and he’s struck up a superb partnership with Jonny Bairstow over the last 18 months.
Bairstow himself has been inconsistent, with four scores of over 30 and two golden ducks, while James Vince is yet to convince. In contrast, Finch and Warner have put on an opening stand of at least 60 in five of their six matches, averaging 87 overall.
This fixture takes place at Lord’s where Pakistan beat South Africa on Sunday. Although Pakistan posted over 300, you get rewarded for finding gaps at the home of cricket with a lightening outfield, as there was certainly something in it for the bowlers.
Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have been sensational this World Cup for Eoin Morgan. Both are bowling rapid and the latter has stayed injury free and has 12 wickets so far, but Archer is up at 15 – leading the way alongside Mitchell Starc and Mohammad Amir.
If he can rough up Warner and co, then not only will it go a long way to helping England win this game, but also etch his name into the starting XI for the Ashes. We’ll stick with the paceman again for top England bowler.
*all odds are subject to change