World Cup 2015: All you need to know about Australia v England

  • AFP, Melbourne
  • Updated: Feb 13, 2015 21:46 IST

England face a formidable task against hosts Australia in their World Cup opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday as they look to end a depressing run against the old enemy.

England, chasing a maiden World Cup title, head into the tournament with fresh painful memories of three losses to the Australians, including a crushing 112-run defeat in last month's tri-series final.

Eoin Morgan's team have to turn around a wretched record of two wins from their last 15 ODI encounters in Australia before an expected 90,000 crowd at the MCG.

The last of England's three losing World Cup finals was in Australia in 1992.

Adding to their problems is that in a tough Pool A they will also face 1996 winners Sri Lanka and the improving tournament co-hosts New Zealand.

England are banking on home expectations getting the better of the Australians as it proved when the World Cup was last held Down Under 23 years ago and they knocked the Aussies out in the semi-finals.

"It's important to focus on what we do best. I think a lot of times in the past we've strived for a formula that hasn't been ours," Morgan said.

"I think if we can produce what I think is our best cricket on Saturday, we'll be able to beat Australia."

The Australians, who will go into the tournament opener without skipper Michael Clarke as he strives for full fitness after hamstring surgery, are looking for the impetus of a commanding victory to get the country behind them for the rest of the six-week tournament.

"There's pressure on every team in any World Cup, wherever you're playing, to win," Australia coach Darren Lehmann said.

"For us it's about embracing our own country and getting the support from the crowd, entertaining them and playing the brand of cricket we have over the last 18 months in the one-day format.

"If we do that, the results will look after themselves.

"We don't look any further ahead than England and looking forward to great crowd support and putting on a good show."

Australia are peaking at the right time for a crack at their fifth World Cup triumph and have only lost one of their last 12 ODIs against all-comers.

Australia accounted for the third-ranked South Africans 4-1 in a series at home last November and comfortably beat England and India in the tri-series in the final weeks before the World Cup.

Morgan has issues of his own heading into cricket's showpiece with three ducks in his last four outings restricting his meaningful batting practice.

"I'm not really that concerned. I've had a couple of low scores, but obviously I'm looking to cash in on Saturday if I manage to get past 10 to 20 balls," Morgan said.

"Four or five games since I last scored a 100, so I don't have to look that far back to actually reconnect with what works well for me.

"I took a lot out of that 100 I scored in Sydney (last month), particularly as it was against Australia. I take a lot of confidence from that game."

Lehmann mischievously hopes Morgan's batting troubles continue for a little while longer.

"He's a good player. I'd like him to continue that run against us on Saturday, but he's a fine player so we'll come up with our plans as we did in the tri-series," he said.

The highest crowd for an ODI at the MCG of 87,789 for the 1992 Pakistan-England World Cup final is under threat this weekend.

Australia v England World Cup squads for Saturday's Pool A opener at the Melblourne Cricket Ground (Feb 14, 09:00 IST/03:30 GMT)

Australia - George Bailey (capt), Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.

England - Eoin Morgan (capt), Jos Buttler, Moeem Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.
Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
TV Umpire: Billy Bowden (NZL)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)

Australia v England -- five match facts

Five match facts for Saturday's World Cup game between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground:

- Australia have won 13 of their last 15 ODIs against England played in Australia.
- Australia have lost their last two World Cup matches, after winning 32 of their preceding 33 (one tie). They have not lost three consecutive World Cup games since 1979 (last two games of 1975 tournament and first of 1979).
- A win for England on Saturday would be their 50th in ODIs against Australia. They have lost 76 and tied two so far.
- Australia have won nine of their last 11 ODIs at Melbourne. England have lost eight of their last 11 against Australia at the venue.
- Brad Haddin needs four runs to become the 18th player to score 3,000 ODI runs for Australia.

Australia v England - five classic ODIs

Traditional rivals Australia and England have played 130 one-day internationals since 1971. AFP Sports looks at five memorable matches ahead of Saturday's World Cup showdown in Melbourne:

June 18, 1975
Headingley, Leeds
Australia won by 4 wickets
The late Gary Gilmour captured six for 14 off 12 overs with mesmerising swing bowling to rout England for 93 off 36.2 overs, only for Australia to squeeze home in the World Cup semi-final with 94 for six off 28.4 overs. Gilmour also starring with the bat in an unbeaten 28 as paceman Chris Old captured three for 29.

November 8, 1987
Eden Gardens, Calcutta
Australia won by 7 runs
Australia won by seven runs to clinch their first World Cup at Eden Gardens in what remains the closest final outcome to date. Australia scored 253 for 5 off their 50 overs with David Boon top-scoring with 75 as opener before restricting England to 246 for eight. Bill Athey was run out for 58 and Steve Waugh abd Allan Border captured two wickets each.

March 5, 1992
Sydney Cricket Ground
England won by 8 wickets
Ian Botham ended Australia's World Cup chances at home in the semi-final with a match-winning double of four for 31 and 53 off 77 balls to get England into the final. The Aussies were bowled out for 171 with opener Tom Moody hitting 51 off 88 balls before skipper Graham Gooch and Botham cracked half-centuries to help get England home with 9.1 overs to spare.

March 2, 2003
St George's Park, Port Elizabeth
Australia won by 2 wickets
Andy Bichel undermined a great start by England in their World Cup pool match with figures of seven for 20 off 10 overs to send England crashing from 66 for one to 204 for 8 and leave the Aussies with the task of scoring 208 for eight with two balls to spare with Michael Bevan hitting an unbeaten 74 and Bichel 34 not out off 36 balls.

September 14, 2013
Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
England won by 3 wickets
England overhauled Australia with just three balls to spare to win with man-of-the-match Jos Buttler slamming 65 off 48 balls and aided by skipper Eoin Morgan (53) and Michael Carberry (63) in England's 231 for seven. Aussie paceman Clint McKay took a hat-trick among with four for 39. George Bailey cracked 87 from 91 balls in Australia's 227 off 48.2 overs.

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