The more likely scenario for the Australia vs England quarter-final on Saturday is… you guessed it – no result. And that is not just judging from this rain-marred Champions Trophy.
In the last six ODIs, Australia have played at Edgbaston stretching way back to 2005 – five have ended up as NR. And while there is, thankfully, only a slight chance of rain falling in Birmingham we all know the unpredictability of the English summer means it could be six from seven come tonight.
Which is a pity, as although the rest of the world may be up in arms about the rain and the vagaries of a fixture list that could see Australia eliminated without losing – or even completing – a match, don’t expect to hear too much bleating from the Australian team themselves.
Indeed, if anything, they’ll be happy about the circumstances that have turned the match against England into sudden death.
The reason goes back to the Australian sporting psyche and two simple words – back yourself.
Aussie teams, no matter what sport they are playing, whether it be underwater hockey or ultimate Frisbee, will always back themselves, especially against England.
They believe they will win. It’s not arrogance, it’s merely a statement of fact.
This in part is due to the fact that Australia has enjoyed such success as a sporting nation, with a relatively small population, that the winning mentality infuses teams across all levels.
So even before Australians take the field they believe they will win, not because they are better prepared, more skilful or more experienced – they feel they will win because it is their divine right. It’s the way things are meant to be.
Lehmann, Warner and Smith assess the pitch at Edgbaston.
No offence if you are reading this as an England fan but Aussies always believe they will beat you. They’ve beaten you in the past, they’ll beat you in the future.
There are of course aberrations to the rule – “Bodyline” and the 3-0 drubbing in 2013 – but overall Australia have won 140 Ashes tests to England’s 108. In ODIs the margin is even more stark with Australia winning 80 matches to England’s 51.
True, England have improved in the one-day game but Australia still hold a 13-9 winning record over the last five years.
On their day Australia can match anyone. And who can claim with certainty today won’t be Australia’s day? It will take just one batsman – David Warner, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch – or one bowler – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa – from their high octane arsenal to take the game away from England. Ben Stokes, do your best.
So Australia will back themselves to spoil England’s party and then fully expect to meet the Englishmen again in the final at Lords next Sunday… and beat them again.
Not arrogance, just confidence.
And if by some fluke they don’t manage to beat England, the Australian players also have a fall-back plan – blame Cricket Australia (CA). Warner has already set it up beautifully, choosing to openly speak out against his cricket board in the ongoing revenue-sharing impasse.
“At the end of the day, we’re here to win,” said Warner after CA released a video arguing their side of the case. “And if Cricket Australia want to try and help us win, I think they wouldn’t be releasing videos like that.”
“We have an important game coming up this week and that is our focus, and the memorandum of understanding can wait until after the game and the tournament.”
Persecuted by the tournament schedule on one side and undermined by cricket authorities on the other. It puts Australia’s back exactly where they want them to be – up against the wall.
Aussies are never more dangerous than when you are ready to count them out.
Just a pity that Australia’s greatest foe may turn out to be… the rain – and that is one opponent they can’t beat.