England cricket team celebrating during a sunny match. England cricket team celebrating during a sunny match.

England set to face Oman with title defense on the line

Defending champions England are set to take on Oman in a match necessary for them to win and win big to stay alive in the tournament and stay in contention for the Super Eights. England also would want Australia to beat Scotland and will be looking to win their remaining two games by huge margins. 

Oman have been impressive in both of their previous games. They took the game to a super-over in their opening encounter against Namibia which they eventually lost courtesy of the heroics of David Wiese, and threatened with the ball up-front against Australia. However, they were dominated by Scotland.

Form hasn’t been with England that is for sure. Jos Buttler’s side came into this tournament short of practice as two of their games in the warm-up series against Pakistan before the World Cup were washed out due to rain and they did not have any warm-up matches either. To make matters worse, their opening game of the mega event against Scotland was also abandoned, but not before Scotland gave them a hard time scoring nearly 100 runs in 10 overs.

England are already coming off a disastrous title defense in 2023 of the ODI World Cup in India. They would desperately be hoping for the remaining results to go in their favor if they want to progress to the next round this time.

On one hand where England are enjoying the return of their fast bowler Jofra Archer, they have concerns over the form of some players on the other. England are still unsure of the perfect position for Harry Brook. With Moeen Ali given a floating role, Brook’s position in the batting line-up remains inconsistent. As per the stats, no.4 would be the perfect spot for the right-handed batter, the sample size might be small, but the Yorkshire born batter has scored two half-centuries at that position with a strike rate of 231 and 186.

As for Oman, their own captain has to be self-accountable as he has not delivered any meaningful performance yet. Batting at the crucial number three spot, Aqib Ilyas has just managed to score 34 runs from 25 balls collectively. 

Buttler is likely to include Reece Topley in the playing XI which would be his first appearance at this World Cup and would give England some much-needed variation with the ball. This inclusion could see Chris Jordan sitting out as England are not expected to tinker with the pace-duo Mark Wood and Jofra Archer.

Oman would want to strengthen their batting as it has been failing consistently to provide good starts. Their lead batter Ayaan Khan, who has scored 92 runs at 46, is currently batting at number six and it might be a good option to push him up the order.

The pitches at North Sound so far has been decent enough for good cricket. The ball seem to have carried with good bounce but batters with positive intent have brought good rewards. The weather forecast is clear with occasional cloud cover.