England has a rollicking batting line-up
England’s World Cup so far has been a tale of missed opportunities. Chances have appeared, then disappeared.
English seamers had the West Indies on the mat in the summit clash at the Lord’s in 1979, before a rampant Vivian Richards and a brutal Collis Kings scripted a jail-break. Then Joel Garner’s toe crushers were on target.
In the title duel of the 1987 edition at the Eden Gardens, Mike Gatting’s attempted reverse sweep off Allan Border’s occasional spin had disastrous consequences for England. Then, in the 1992 final down under, a wicked spell of speed, swing and cut by Wasim Akram broke the back of England’s batting on the chase. Imran’s Tigers triumphed.
Subsequently, England, with conservative, boring cricket, has largely struggled in the World Cup.
Things changed following the side’s debacle in the 2015 World Cup in Australia.
England embraced an attacking brand of cricket where the likes of Jason Roy and Alex Hales flourished. Under the circumstances, Hales’ substance abuse that ruled him out of the World Cup is a blow to England.
However, Hale’s replacement at the top of the order, James Vince, is is a stylish stroke-maker with timing and placement.
The pitches are expected to favour batsmen in this World Cup and England has a rollicking batting line-up which can breach the 400-run barrier.
Leading the charge at the top of the order is Jonny Bairstow, who can innovate and create with daring strokes. The experienced Joe Root lends solidity to the line-up. He has an expansive range of shots too.
Skipper Eoin Morgan, a southpaw, is an aggressive and rather unconventional batsman who can disrupt the rhythm of an attack.
Then England has Jos Buttler, among the most dangerous and influential batsmen around. He picks the length quickly, uses his feet, has tremendous bat speed. The wicketkeeper-batsman fires the ball through the gaps or clears the ground effortlessly. His blitzkriegs has shut out sides.
And no other side in this World Cup, apart from, perhaps, the West Indies, is blessed with as much all-round talent and depth as England.
Ben Stokes can swing matches with his seamers or his explosive left-handed batting. Moeen Ali’s off-spin can be very useful while he is a serious left-handed option with the bat as well.
Chris Woakes, a fine swing bowler in the English conditions, is a strokeful batsman down the order. And new boy Jofra Archer can bowl at blistering pace and strike the ball out of the park.
Adil Rashid’s leg-spin provides variety and he and Moeen could come into picture when the pitches assist the spinners more in the latter stages.
Both Rashid, and old warhorse Liam Plunkett, who can still work up pace, are telling strikers of the ball.
England will be playing at home, comprehends the conditions, has all-round ability and if it handles the massive pressures of the occasion capably, can go all the way this time.
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