3 Chinks in England's ODI juggernaut
Rewind to the pre-2015 World Cup era, which were the teams that dominated world cricket in the shorter formats? Does England even feature in the top 5 list (for that phase)? They were embarrassed pre World Cup and post the World Cup. In 2014, they lost to the Netherlands in the 2014 World T20, India beat them 3-1 in England, they lost to Sri Lanka twice (both home and away), Australia beat them twice as well (both home and away) and the list goes on.
Then they were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup after the Group stage where they won just two games (against Scotland and Afghanistan). Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka thrashed the Eoin Morgan-led side. An inspiring Bangladesh side beat them to qualify for the quarterfinal and sent them packing.
However, the 2015 World Cup might have been the best thing to have happened to England. Post the 2015 World Cup drubbing, England have completely changed the way they approach and play limited-overs cricket. Captain Eoin Morgan has led the team admirably as England have lost just three bilateral ODI series (excluding the one-off ODI against Scotland) – to Australia at home in 2015, to South Africa in 2016, and to India in 2017 (both away from home).
This juggernaut and revival in the white ball cricket have been phenomenal and as Australia found out in January earlier this year and are finding out in the ongoing 5-match ODI series currently, England have been on roll. They have found players who have stood up in difficult circumstances and bailed them out of tricky situations. In 65 games after the 2015 World Cup, England have lost just 19 games out of those.
However, every team has some or the other problem (or chink) in their armour. Hence, here we look at some of England’s armour and what are the few problems in this terrific ODI juggernaut.
#3 Defending a target
It is no secret that most teams in world cricket today like chasing in limited-overs cricket. It helps them assess how to go about and pace their batting innings. But teams have learnt to adapt and have started winning batting first.
There’s absolutely no doubt that England are a magnificent chasing team. No target is beyond them. Their batsmen one after the other keeps coming at you and hence no target can be safe against this England batting line-up. Even recently they went after Scotland’s 371 and fell just 6 runs short.
However, their challenge is to win games while batting first. Stats suggest that in the last two years, they’ve won 72% batting second (chasing) but only 55% while setting a score i.e. while batting first. There will be situations in the course of the next one year before the World Cup and during the World Cup when they will not win the toss and will have to bat first. Those are the situations where England need to adapt and learn how to assess what a good score might be on that particular track.