Eoin Morgan’s England have continued to provide excitement for fans with an aggressive brand of cricket in the ODI format. The visitors thrashed Sri Lanka once again in the ongoing ODI series to go 3-0 ahead after 4 matches.
The weather has been terrible and also a crisis-laden Lankan team have ensured this series has not offered the world number one ODI side many challenges. But as England keep their winning formula going, the happiness in the camp will continue to be there.
England’s status as favourites to win the World Cup on home soil next year is intact at the moment.
In his post-match conference, Morgan stated that, “The fact we have won the series doesn’t mean we won’t want to win the next game – but it may be an opportunity to look at other guys as well.”
The words highlight the desire that they aren’t tired of winning and want to excel. England have been trying a lot of players to get a look in and things are going well at the moment.
Here are the reasons why England are favourites for the 2019 World Cup which is less than 8 months away.
England have been unstoppable since 2015 WC
Morgan’s side has been on song with the white ball in the last couple of years. After the latest victory against Lanka, the Three Lions have made sure that they sealed the last nine ODI bilateral series which consisted of two or more matches.
England last lost 1-2 against India in January 2017. Since then they have never looked back. They lost a one-off ODI match against Scotland in 2018. Barring that, they have won almost everything. Overall, they have set an example for other teams in how to get into a groove and make winning a habit. Only India have matched the momentum.
England had suffered a terrible group stage exit in the 2015 World Cup. But since then, they have worked their way to change their fortunes and the performances have been telling. When you look at the stats, Morgan’s side have won 51 of 76 ODI matches since the World Cup.
England have lost only a mere 20 matches during this phase. This shows the domination they are enjoying at the moment.
Players taking responsibility
Players have been responsible for England. The openers took charge against the Aussies earlier this year. Alex Hales too came in and did well as a 3rd choice opener. 457 runs this year shows his impact too. This helped England overcome Australia.
That being said, when you look at the series against India, it was the stupendous successive centuries by Joe Root that helped England take charge. Skipper Eoin Morgan, who was undergoing a lean patch in the start of 2018, took control from there on. His consistency told from the series against New Zealand.
He did well against India and now versus Sri Lanka, he has been the carrier of the side with 181 runs in three matches. His presence till the end has helped England win matches. In the ongoing series he is averaging 195. This is crucial for England to see their skipper stand strong.
Former skipper Michael Vaughan stated recently that Morgan has been in the best form of his career in recent times. When your skipper performs, the team ultimately benefits. India’s Virat Kohli is another example in this suggestion.
Batting among the best in ODIs
England have the best batting unit in the world at the moment. Yes, India is strong as well and are brilliant on their day, but the workload for them is the top order. The middle order hasn’t been tested well. But for England this isn’t the case.
Openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow provide the ultimate joy atop and are both aggressive with their intent. They deserve a special mention for being the best in business going into the World Cup. Seven centuries amassed between them, tells you a story of two players enjoying the company.
Every time, someone or the other across the line-up has come and stood tall. There is no panic in that middle order. Imagine having a star performer like Jos Buttler coming in at number 6 and clearing the ropes at ease. He is that perfect finisher in the side.
His 671 runs this year tells you a story of sheer work and motivation shown by him. Among top run-scorers in ODIs in 2018, England see a plethora of names in the mix.
Jonny Bairstow leads the proceedings with 1,025 runs and was the fastest to 1,000 runs this year. Test skipper Joe Root (936), Jason Roy (890) and Eoin Morgan (756) are all there to show their contributions in a timely fashion.
All-round department is the best
England have tremendous depth in all-round department. Looking at the players they have in this zone, one can easily claim them as the best in business at this moment.
Enigmatic Ben Stokes is a class act with Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali offering immense contributions time and time again. Woakes in particular provides that assurance in the lower middle order. With the ball he solves a lot of problems. In 2018, Woakes has 19 wickets in 12 ODIs. He also scored an impressive 205 runs in this period and with the batsmen above him delivering, he hasn’t got many chances.
What bodes well for England is that Woakes knows how to bat sensibly and his power hitting capabilities make him a sheer match winner. He promises so much and his consistency is class above the rest.
Then there is spin all-rounder Moeen. He has been a regular in the side and has played 22 matches this year. Moeen has 27 wickets to his name, which has been handy. Moeen like Woakes, is a power performer. England bat real deep which helps the side to keep themselves in the game.
Sam Curran may have settled in the Test side well, but he can be tried in ODIs as well. He has played a solitary match so far in this format. The promise of Sam, makes him someone they can fall upon if any of the star players miss out.
Bowling has the base covered
England’s bowling has a fabulous mix of experience and youth on offer. Spinner Adil Rashid, in particular, has been in his own league with 41 scalps this year. He has been among the wickets consistently and has the wicket-taking ability in the middle overs.
The pace attack has the required depth and England have plenty to choose from. The experienced duo of Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood are contenders and know their job well. They have snapped up 31 wickets between them this year. Tom Curran adds a voice and since his debut earlier this year, he has picked 16 scalps in just 10 games.
Our view point: Win against India a crucial motivational factor
Perhaps the biggest moment for England were against a visiting Indian team in the 3-match ODI series in July. And the hosts came out strong to seal the three-match series 2-1. In both their wins, England were class ahead of India. That will gave them the intensity and belief to be strong headed.
Apart from that, the dual series win against Australia both away and home was a terrific feat.
The World Cup being in England gives them the edge just like the host nations India and Australia got in 2011 and 2015 respectively.