Birmingham, June 9: After rain played spoilsport in both their opening matches, a desperate Australia will aim to earn their first and must-win victory when they face already-qualified England in their last Group A game of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground here on Saturday.
England have already booked their place in the semi-finals of the eight-team tournament after registering comfortable victories against New Zealand and Bangladesh.
Australia have been unfortunate in the tournament so far, having failed to get a full-match against either of their initial two opponents New Zealand and England.
Going into Saturday’s crucial clash against a formidable English side, Australia will rely heavily on their batting prowess, comprising the likes of explosive openers David Warner and Aaron Finch.
Captain Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques can, on their day, torment any good bowling attack.
In the bowling department, Australia can boast of a fiery line-up of the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson with leg-spinner Adam Zampa and Maxwell the slow-bowling options. Henriques’ inclusion will only spice up the Kangaroos’ attack.
On the other hand, the hosts are comfortably in the semi-finals and will have nothing to lose in the tie. The English are, however, expected to come out all guns blazing and continue their winning momentum ahead of the knock-out stage.
England’s in-form batsmen Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jos Butler scored a half-century each in their previous match against New Zealand.
Considered the mainstay of the line-up all eyes will once again be on Root, who struck a brilliant unbeaten 133 in their opening match against Bangladesh. England will also hope their skipper Eoin Morgan to come good against the arch-rivals.
The English pacers Liam Plunkett, Jake Ball, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes have been in good nick in the tournament and so has been their lone slow-bowling option in leggie Adil Rashid, who can hurt Australia in the middle overs.
England: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Steven Finn, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, Jake Ball, Jos Butler (WK), Alex Hales.
Australia: Steve Smith (Captain), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (WK), Adam Zampa.