Can England really win the World Cup?

July 18, 2019 11:26 am

As we stand, only two games lie in the way of England and cricketing history. The first, against the old enemy Australia who have already harmed England once in this domestically staged event. The second, against the other antipodean threat, New Zealand in the final at Lords on Sunday. Hopefully, that’s the case at least.

This week, England face Australia in their first semi-final appearance since 1992 and if Eoin Morgan’s side are to progress to the final, they are going to have to negotiate a tricky tie. Should they do so, they will go on to meet The Black Caps at the home of cricket at the weekend.

New Zealand booked their place in Sunday’s final courtesy of a brilliant win over India at Old Trafford. In doing so, The Black Caps reached a second successive World Cup final, defeating the favourites and group stage winners India by 18 runs. For New Zealand, only England and Australia are standing in their way, either one of which would be a satisfying final opponent for the Kiwis.

While England are still hoping to the World Cup for the first time, Australia, the most successful team in the competition, are going for a sixth title. Worryingly, England, who have not won a World Cup knockout match in 27 years, have lost their last four world cup games against the Baggy Greens, most recently two weeks ago. But somehow things feel very different this time around, and even the recent poor result feels like a freak one.

England are now ranked world number one in one-day internationals (ODIs), while the test squad is ranked third. Currently, most cricket betting markets rank England as favourites for both the short form World Cup and the upcoming Ashes test, which start on August 1st. What a double that would be!

Despite the optimism, a reality check is briefly required. England only finished third in the group stage and only won six of their total nine matches, a figure they would like to have been higher. But, in a tourney like this, the round-robin stage can often provide slip-ups. Indeed, Australia themselves stumbled in their final group match, meaning that they finished second instead of India who topped the group only to go on to lose to New Zealand so does this even matter?

So why the optimism for The Three Lions? Well, put simply, over the course of the past four years or so, England have managed to beat everyone in front of them and in all conditions too. There is also another stat that offers hope to the Barmy Army. England boast a superb record in Birmingham, winning their last four ODIs at against Australia at Edgbaston.

So, now it is time to show the world that England can perform under pressure in front of their own fans. With the odds going for them and history going against, it is time for England to step up and take their chance. And against who better than New Zealand to do such a thing?

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