It’s time for England to turn up. This stumbling about in the group stages, only to spring a surprise in the knockout stages is a great plan. So devious that nobody has yet figured it out. But this master plan of peaking at the opportune moment, of course relies on England actually being able to make it out of the group in the first place.
After a pair of embarrassing shellacking’s against both co-hosts, England simply have to win against Scotland. In fact, they have to win by some margin to begin to arrest their terrible net run rate. For England this fixture is the ultimate hiding to nothing. If England lose then they will face unimaginable embarrassment and ridicule. Well, actually not unimaginable, just remember the fall out from the last Ashes campaign and that should just about do it. Even if they muster a victory, they will still gain few plaudits. Surely dispatching of Scotland should go without saying
On the plus side, England’s woeful performances have added an extra intensity to this clash between auld enemies. Scotland will view this as their best chance yet to get one over on their bigger, wealthier neighbours.
For England a couple of changes may be in order. Steven Finn was dispatched to all parts against New Zealand, as his overs cost 42 runs. Chris Jordan may be the best replacement, he will add much needed lower order batting, and has hopefully reversed his previous waywardness. Another area up for debate is the role of number three Gary Ballance. Coming into the opening two matches without a List A match since September, Ballance has looked every inch a player without match practice. He may well be deemed expendable for this match, with Alex Hales gaining another chance to put forward his aggressive talents.
For the Scots, they must surely be looking at England and seeing a wounded team, there for the taking. Experienced batsman Kyle Coetzer will be expected to take a lot of responsibility for Scotland. He has faced most of the England bowlers in county cricket and his success is likely to be key to his side’s chances of posting a decent total. Alongside exciting young talent Matt Machan, Coetzer will need to give to make a score to give his side a chance to take the scalp that they so desperately want.
After plenty of one-sided matches over the opening week of the World Cup, we got a whiff of competitiveness last night during the Afghanistan v Sri Lanka match. Perhaps this contest, which is a mismatch on paper, could just provide us with a competitive meaningful pool match