It will be a clash between the No1 ranked ODI side and heavy tournament favourites England against the defending world champions.
MORGAN INJURY SCARE
Just days before the start of the World Cup, hosts England have been dealt a major scare with skipper Eoin Morgan injuring his finger during the team’s practice session on Friday.
“Eoin Morgan took a knock to his left index finger fielding this morning. He is going to hospital after practice for a precautionary X-ray,” a brief statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) read.
A veteran of 222 ODIs, Morgan is one of the most experienced campaigners in the England outfit while his leadership has been vital in the team’s rise as the No1 ODI outfit.
AUSTRALIA AIM TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING
After what was a dismal 2018 for Australia in ODI cricket, Aaron Finch and his men have been peaking at just the right time. The five-time world champions come into the World Cup on the back of an eight-match winning streak which included a 5-0 whitewash of Pakistan in the UAE and a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in India.
The Aussies are now also bolstered by the returning David Warner and Steve Smith who have served their one-year suspension from international cricket for their role in the infamous ball-tampering episode in South Africa.
Warner has just returned from a stellar IPL 2019 campaign for Sunrisers Hyderabad where he scored 692 runs in just 12 matches at an average of nearly 70. Smith, meanwhile, had an indifferent start to his IPL campaign with Rajasthan Royals but grew in both confidence and form towards the latter stages of the competition.
With Warner and Smith back, Australia will hope to keep their winning momentum going while also looking to find the right balance in the playing XI.
ENGLAND AIM TO CONTINUE AUSSIE ODI DOMINATION
While Australia have been on a roll in recent months, they have not had the best of times in recent clashes with their arch-rivals England. In the past 10 ODI meetings between the two sides, it is England who have dominated with nine victories.
This includes a 5-0 whitewash of Australia on English soil last year as well as a 4-1 thumping Down Under. England’s ODI domination hasn’t just been limited to Australia with Morgan’s men yet to lose a bilateral series in the format since January, 2017 when they were beaten 1-2 in an away series by India.
“England have been in great form for a number of years and you have to say they are definitely favourites,” Australia skipper Aaron Finch stated at the captains’ meet on Friday.
“If you look over the past couple of years, their scores have been going up and up,” he added.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan/James Vince, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc.
It will be a chance for both teams to sharpen their preparations for the World Cup where all 10 sides are slated to take on each other in a round-robin format.
Newly appointed Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss at Cardiff and has elected to bat first in the warm-up fixture.
Do not miss any of the action from Cardiff by following the ball-by-ball updates from the clash below.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his Pakistan side will be hoping to break a run of 10 straight ODI defeats which included a 4-0 whitewash at the hands of World Cup hosts England recently.
Afghanistan, meanwhile, will be hoping to gain some momentum under new ODI skipper Gulbadin Naib.
As the two neighbouring countries battle it out at Bristol, follow the ball-by-ball live action from Bristol below.