England, for the first time, will go into the event as leading contender to win the trophy and the extent of their dominance can be judged by the fact they have not lost an ODI series in the last two years
The biggest strength for England by far is that they have the strongest batting line-up among all teams participating in the World Cup. The opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy has been destructive at the top of the order and have been in sublime touch. While Roy blasted two centuries in the recently concluded ODI series against Pakistan, Bairstow also scored a ton, which was succeeded by his 445 runs in his debut IPL edition. However, their weapon-in-chief has been Jos Buttler, who has performed for them in almost all the three formats of the game. And in the middle order, they have the likes of Morgan and Joe Root who can prove to be equally destructive.
The England bowling department boasts of having the likes of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer. Woakes and Wood, although depend on swing and if, it is not available on a particular day, they can go for plenty. Another cause of concern is the inconsistent form of all-rounder Ben Stokes. Stokes and Ali both had an ordinary IPL and didn’t impress much either against Pakistan in the ODI series which England won 4-0.
The biggest opportunity would be perhaps for Jofra Archer who got included in the final 15 after impressing everyone in the IPL and the following ODIs against Pakistan. His ability to bowl consistently at the 140 kmph is something which all teams would have to be wary off. Also, playing at home and being familiar with the conditions also provide England with the best possible chance they could have ever asked for in the World Cup. Former skipper Michael Vaughan also believes that this is the best opportunity for England to win the World Cup. “This England squad is the best I’ve seen. They have earned the right to be favourites,” Vaughan said. “It’s the best opportunity in my time for England – I remember 1992 as a youngster, watching that final at college,” he added.
One of the threats that England will have to beware of is the pressure of expectations. They have never gone into the World Cup as favourites and the additional pressure of being the hosts would mean Morgan will have to lead his troops in a manner they don’t get carried away and play fearless and attacking mode of cricket they have been playing in the last four years.