The last time England played in a World Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, they were playing their 3 World Cup final in 13 years. They had just played in a 5th consecutive World Cup semi-final – the only team to have done so, in history. They lost that final and are yet to win a knock-out match since that World Cup [A dubious distinction that they share with New Zealand and of course, perennial underachievers – South Africa].
In that sense, England who open their campaign against Australia at MCG – will be trying to forget the 5 World Cups since 92 and would like to repeat the results that were produced by the English teams in the 5 World Cups till 1992. They can take a look at the opening match of the 92 World Cup, where New Zealand who were on a bad run in the World Cups for the past decade or so, promptly upset defending champions – Australia. England will certainly be happy to have history repeat.
One thing every cricket expert will agree on – England’s chances are definitely better now, than a few months back with Alistair Cook at the helm. In the few matches they have had, Eoin Morgan’s men have certainly displayed an ability to play Cricket of the 21st century and not the old style cricket that England seems to have been stuck in since the last time the World Cup was played in Australia. They will have to continue this aggressive brand of cricket – most emphasized by Ian Bell’s batting and Steve Finn’s bowling for the next month to have a shot at the ultimate prize in Cricket.
England’s bowling looks in good health with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan to assist Steven Finn on the fast bowling front. Moeen Ali and James Tredwell are capable of holding up their end and inflicting timely damages even on the not-so-spin-friendly pitches of Australia. It is with their bowling that England will be leading their campaign and they will need the fast bowlers to keep continuing the good work they did in tri series against Australia and India.
Their batting is going to be the weaker flank and this is where England will need players like Moeen Ali, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jos Butler and Ravi Bopara to step up their game and put up totals that will give enough leeway for the bowlers to operate without being under the cosh from opposing batsmen who are spurred by not-so-great totals.
There is a good chance that England will break their streak of not winning knock-out matches in 23 years at this World Cup, but it will be a small miracle for them to win 3 in a row.