Sunday, February 22, 2015

Can England Stop the Rot against Scotland?

England vs Scotland, 23rd February 2015 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch - Match Preview

This was not a match that i had intended to review when I had looked at the schedule of the Cricket World Cup 2015. But England's campaign has been rocked by two morale sapping defeats to both the co-hosts, they lost to Australia at the MCG before capitulating to Tim Southee's 7-33 at Wellington against New Zealand.

England lose this and they will almost be sure to miss the bus to the Quarter Finals. And the way they are playing at the moment, Scotland will be licking their lips at the prospect of playing England. Scotland has never beaten any top side but they do have a lot of very good players who play county cricket in England. The fact that they gave New Zealand a hard time will also fill the Scots with confidence.

England have all to play for in this clash and they will be looking to come out unscathed. What they will also be looking for is to win convincingly, that can put their campaign back on track. In long tournaments like the World Cup, building confidence is the main ingredient and fortunes are known to change overnight (ask the Indian team who seemed incapable of winning anything just two weeks ago but have now defeated both Pakistan and South Africa in their opening two games).

England will have to fix their batting and as I have a number of times they have to slot James Taylor back at number 3 as he is their most dynamic batsman at the moment along with Joe Root who can come in at number 4. Morgan also seemed to find just a bit of form against New Zealand in that disastrous 8 wicket rout. Ian Bell seemed to be in decent nick in the tri series in Australia that preceded the World Cup and Moeen Ali must look to spend some time in the middle before trying out expansive shots. England can also try to create a place for the hard hitting Alex Hales in place of the out of sorts Gary Ballance.

Peter Moores will need to inject some confidence in the English squad 
ahead of their clash against Scotland in the World Cup 2015

The bowling is something that will be the biggest worry for the England management after their last game against the Kiwis. There was no swing to be found for the supposed master of swing, James Anderson even though Tim Southee had got the ball to talk. Stuart Broad has looked good only in patches but needs to improve significantly if he is to make any impact. Steve Finn is another one who has leaked runs and looks a pale shadow of what he once was. Chris Woakes is the only one who has bowled with a lot of heart and accuracy. He has been relatively accurate and has also swung the ball marginally. The whole bowling unit needs to introspect after having two horrendous games and a third might mean that the end will be near for England in this tourney.

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