Former Australia captain Allan Border believes that bowlers will play a decisive role when England, the No. 1-ranked ODI team, take on Australia in their World Cup 2019 clash at Lord’s.
“The game will be won and lost in the bowling,” Border told ICC media. “If Australia can hold their ground against the onslaught and put pressure back on England, that’ll be key. Both sides have the potential to post big scores, so whoever takes those opportunities will win.”
Barring their failure against Sri Lanka at Headingley, England have displayed their famed batting prowess at the World Cup, with consistent scores in excess of 300, including a monumental 397/6 against Afghanistan in Manchester. Australia, too, come into the match high on batting form, having amassed 381/5 in their last game against Bangladesh, on the back of a 147-ball 166 from David Warner.
Australia lead the head-to-head count between the two sides, with 81 wins to England’s 61. However, their recent history of nine losses in the last ten completed ODIs against the hosts doesn’t make for great reading. Border, who led Australia to the first of their five World Cup wins, in 1987, said that the Eoin Morgan-led side start Tuesday’s clash as the favourites.
“Rivalries run deep and bragging rights are up for grabs ahead of the semi-finals,” he said. “It’s going to be a good assessment for both teams in terms of where they’re at. England are playing this gung-ho form of cricket and are red-hot favourites.”
Australia’s fast bowlers have been delivering consistently, with Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins sharing 26 wickets between them from the six matches played so far. Border, who led Australia in a record 93 consecutive Tests, felt that Nathan Lyon’s inclusion in the set-up would further bolster the bowling unit.
“The full 100-over performance hasn’t been there quite yet, and I’ve just got a little voice at the back of my head saying, ‘try Nathan Lyon in a couple of these games’,” he said. “He’s a wicket-taker and knows how to get people out. Test bowling is obviously different, but Lyon is a good attacking bowler and gets lots of revs on the ball.”
Border, who was renowned for his gritty knocks during his playing days, believed that an aggressive mindset is an important attribute for teams competing in major tournaments such as the World Cup.
“The mindset of players now is to really attack the opposition spinner, and it can go two ways, but the other side of the coin is that to win this tournament, you’re probably going to need to have more of an attacking mindset so that you can limit the opposition.”