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England look to break jinx

They have never won the 50-overs World Cup despite being in the final thrice and ...

England look to break jinx

They have never won the 50-overs World Cup despite being in the final thrice and hosting the event as many as four times. They were thrashed by West Indies in 1979 final, although they had such players as Boycott, Gooch, Gower and Botham. In 1987 final, they lost by a very narrow margin, going down against Australia by seven runs, after a solid middle-order performance. In 1992, they were beaten in the final by a team that they had bowled out for only 74 runs in their league match. After that they failed to reach the final.

This time, too, as has been the case in most of the 10 World Cups, they are a very strong squad. But this time, there is a peculiar difference. They have now got players that are capable of snatching the victory from a losing position. They now have players that are mentally strong and that can be expected not to panic and crumble in the final overs.

There may be few better One-day International batsmen in the world right now than Eoin Morgan. He can play any ball anywhere in the ground. He once hit a fast bowler’s ball pitched outside the off stump for six over the slip fielder’s head. And it was not a Gilchrest-style six — it was not a cut. It was a good length delivery that he hit over the rope in a style roughly similar to a reverse sweep. (Perhaps I cannot describe it properly; so unique it was.)

They have Jos Buttler, who has a strike rate of 119 runs in ODIs. He is excellent at scoring fast in the final overs, one of the most important things in limited overs cricket.

Their captain Alastair Cook may not be as good in ODIs as he is in Test cricket, but he is still dependable with an average of 37 and strike rate of 77.

Ian Bell is the backbone of their middle-order with an experience of around with an average of 36 and strike rate of 76 runs.

They have one of the most lethal fast bowling attacks in the world. James Anderson has been the most consistently successful bowler for England in the years since 1992.

In the 1990s, England lacked quality fast bowlers. In the 2000s, they had some good bowlers, but they were inconsistent. But Anderson has been equally effective in ODIs since his debut in 2002, having taken 257 wickets from 184 matches.

Similarly effective is Stuart Broad, with 168 wickets from 108 matches. Besides, he is a handy batsman.

They have a reliable pacer in Tim Bresnan who also has a decent batting record with a strike rate of over 90 runs.

Steven Finn, with 62 wickets from 42 ODIs, can also be reasonably expected to do well at the Australian pitches.

They have other capable all-rounders in Stokes, Woakes and Tredwell, and Ravi Bopara.

If there are no injuries to these players, and they are able to play as they have done in the recent past, there is no reason why they cannot reach the final this time and win it.

Mushfiq Ahmad

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