Today Match Predictions(ODI 1)
England will Win the Match
All-rounder Ben Stokes who is recovering from his hamstring injury and pace spearhead Chris Woakes who sustained a leg injury earlier will both be missing the first part of this ODI series. Batsman Sam Billings and fast bowler Jake Ball have been drafted into the 14-man squad as replacement for Stokes and Woakes respectively. Jos Buttler who was rested for the Scotland ODI has returned to the side.
England have a powerful batting line-up with Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler holding the key. Root and Morgan are among the leading run-getters for the side in ODIs and are averaging over 50 at this ground. Buttler and Bairstow have both been going through golden form. The latter blitzed a whirlwhind knock of 105 runs off just 59 balls against Scotland and he now has two centuries in his last two ODIs. England’s bowling will rely largely on Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid. These two are the most experienced of the lot with 102 and 95 ODI wickets to their names respectively. Plunkett has six wickets in five matches at this ground and he is going to be the key man with the new ball.
England’s shock defeat to Scotland last Sunday was their fourth loss in the 50-overs format in the eleven matches they have played so far this year. Overall, they have been doing quite well in the one-dayers with just a few slip-ups here and there. The hosts will be slightly worried about their bowling as they allowed Scotland to amass 371 in that game.
Australia have been struck by injury blows ahead of this opening encounter of the ODI series. The Aussie pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood who is recovering from a back injury have all been ruled out of the series. Uncapped bowling all-rounder Michael Neser has been added to Australia’s 15-man squad as replacement for Hazlewood. The team is already without their regular captain Steven Smith and David Warner, both of whom are serving a one-year ban for their involvement in the ball-tampering saga during the Ashes.
In the absence of Warner and Smith, Australia’s top-order batting is going to depend mainly on Aaron Finch. The opening batsman has scored 3200 runs in 88 ODIs and he was also the leading run-scorer in the earlier home ODI series against England – 275 runs in three matches which included two centuries and a fifty. The visitors will also have their hopes pinned on Travis Head, Shaun Marsh and Marcus Stoinis for some healthy contributions. With the ball, the skipper will be counting on Kane Richardson who will be leading an inexperienced pace attack. The fast bowler has taken 21 wickets in 15 ODIs and has a decent economy rate as well. Ashton Agar will be the go-to man for Australia when it comes to spin. The left-arm spinner has not played much international cricket but he has been very impressive at the domestic level.
Australia have suffered a big downslide in ODIs in recent times, losing 11 of their past 13 matches. Their last one-day international series came at home in January against England. It was a five-game series which they ended up losing 1-4. Prior to that, they were thrashed by India by the same margin.