England face Australia at the Kia Oval on Wednesday with plenty to prove. Despite being considered the best One Day team on the planet, Eoin Morgan saw his side defeated by Scotland on Sunday.
It was a brilliant day for cricket. Scotland were superb, particularly with the bat, and deserved their historical success. For England, though, it was hardly the ideal preparation for a challenging series against the old enemy.
Australia are still recovering from the earth-shaking ball tampering scandal but will be relishing the opportunity to face-off with England. Australia’s most recent ODI form goes back to the post-Ashes series. England dominated the five-game series, winning 4-1.
England followed that success with a 3-2 series win against New Zealand, too. The white-ball revolution under Trevor Bayliss and Morgan is as good as complete. England ARE a force to be reckoned with.
Right now, however, they are weakened. Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes have been integral to much of this new era, but both are out injured at the moment. These two absences have upset the balance of the side. The batting is still formidable, but the bowling lacks depth as a result.
England need strong performances from their experienced bowlers. Adil Rashid has developed into a superb white-ball specialist and could torment the Australian’s with a favourable pitch at the Oval. He’s at 6/1 to be the top bowler in the match.
Australia’s Andrew Tye tops the bowler betting at 11/2. The right-armer is growing into a star in the white ball game. He played regularly in the IPL this season and has got off to a flying start in the international game, averaging under 22 with the ball in his four ODIs.
His ability to nail his Yorkers at pace late in the innings could prove decisive, particularly if the Oval provides a good batting wicket. Tye’s 11/4 price to be Australia’s top bowler is a little on the short side, but I think it is still the best value in the market.
Turning towards the batsmen, it’s hard to look past Jonny Bairstow right now. Bairstow scored his third consecutive ODI century against Scotland at the weekend, doing so at an electric pace.
The 8/1 price on Bairstow to claim man of the match is my favourite bet for Wednesday’s encounter. Even in a fearsome line-up, his raw power, innovation and hustle are hard to ignore.
An interesting longshot bet for this one is Moeen Ali to be the top batsman at 33/1. Moeen has had a torrid time lately, being dropped from the Test team, sitting on the bench in the IPL and struggling for form.
We all know his class, though, he has the ability to counter-attack down the order or go crazy as England look to accelerate. His 114 against Warwickshire last week shows he’s in good touch, too.
England are 4/7 for the win on Wednesday. Aside from a self-destructing batting performance – which we know England are capable of – I can’t see how Australia restrict this line-up. The bowlers need plenty of run support, and they should get it.
TIP: England to hit the most 6s @ 10/11
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*