New Delhi: England will look to win their second ICC tournament, after winning the World T20 in 2009, as they gear up to host the Champions Trophy this year. Eoin Morgan and his boys have left no stones unturned in preparing for the showpiece event.
They were runners-up in 2013 and lost to India in the final. But, England have the home advantage again and considering the way the team has turned fortunes under Morgan post the 2015 World Cup debacle, England surely hold an edge.
Prior to the event the Three Lions looked solid as a unit in the three-match ODI series against South Africa where they won 2-1. With the showpiece event starting on Thursday, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Morgan’s outfit.
Firepower At the Top
England have two very explosive batsmen at the top of the order. If Alex Hales and Jason Roy get going they will be quite a force to reckon with. Roy boasts of an ODI strike rate of 102.19, whereas his partner in crime Hales too has a strike rate of over 95.
The batting firepower doesn’t end there. England will also have the services of their wicket-keeper and hard-hitting batsman Jos Buttler and skipper Eoin Morgan who too can hit the ball quite a distance. And then who can forget Joe Root? He is just the calm influence a team needs in an explosive batting department.
England might lack experience in the fast bowling department but there’s no dearth of raw pace. Both Jake Ball and Mark Wood can easily tick the high 140s and they have the ability to swing it both ways in testing conditions.
David Willey too is a wily customer who possesses an economy rate of 5.72 which is quite acceptable in modern day ODI cricket. When needed the likes of Ben Stokes too can chip in with a few overs of seam.
You can expect to face a lot of spin when you are facing Bangladesh. But England players have never been known to be good players of the turning ball. Bangladesh know this very well and would look to exploit the same on Thursday. The Tigers have quite a few spinners like Shakib Al Hasan who can create a lot of problems for the English batters.
Except for Joe Root, England’s middle-order mainstay, the other English batsmen lack the willingness to play long innings. Usually in a 50-over game a team need players who can build an innings and then change gears towards the end of an innings but England lack that experience in the middle.
Ben Stokes can be England’s trump card. He bowls well and can tonk a few, lower down the order. Also, he is coming off a very successful Indian Premier League (IPL) where he pocketed 12 wickets and scored 316 runs from 12 outings.
England Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood