World Cup 2019: England face survival test against Australia

Published: Jun 25, 2019, 08:21 IST | Santosh Suri

Having lost two games already, England will be keen to beat arch-rivals Australia in crucial clash at Lord's today

World Cup 2019: England face survival test against Australia
England players during a training session at Lord’s yesterday. PIC/AFP

The oldest rivalry in the game comes alive at the Mecca of cricket today when England take on defending champions Australia in a match which will be viewed
by local fans as a prelude to the Ashes series after the World Cup.

However, for the hosts, this is more than just bitter rivalry as it is a crucial game for England, who are in a spot of bother after unexpectedly losing to two Asian rivals, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They cannot afford another slip-up, especially as their next two matches are against India and New Zealand. If England go on to lose all three, it will raise the prospects of the three teams behind them in the points table — Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan — to make it to the semi-finals.

No pressure for Morgan

Despite the setbacks, England captain Eoin Morgan sounded quite confident and did not feel the need to take on any pressure. “No, it’s not a must-win yet. We don’t need to win every game to get to the semi-final. It’s another game where we try and produce a performance that’s worthy of winning at Lord’s against Australia,” he said yesterday, adding that though his team was disappointed with the defeats, they are excited to bounce back nevertheless. “Naturally, the guys are upset [about the losses] but they are very excited about getting back on the park to try and produce something that everybody’s used to seeing us play. And if that means that we win the game, that’s great.”

Morgan refuted the possibility that the favourites tag was putting his players under pressure. “The guys have performed under pressure for a very long time. They have performed under pressure of being favourites for the last two years in series that we’ve gone in, both away from home and at home, and have no question mark about producing under pressure.”

Aussies peaking

Despite all the bravado, England will be vary of Australia who are peaking at the right time with David Warner, Steven Smith, skipper Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc hitting top form.

Morgan said it will be a good game between two evenly matched sides. “It’s a good match-up for both teams. The games we’ve played against them in the last two years, probably the scoreline hasn’t been as fair. The way both sides play lends itself to a good game of cricket. So it will be a challenge for both sides.”

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