Despite Australia’s predicament, team changes are unlikely unless the weather intervenes.
Above all, Australia need undefeated New Zealand to beat England in Brisbane on Tuesday night, clearing a path for the semi-finals.
This means that for the Australians, and the many thousands who follow the national cricket team around the country, the most important sporting event on Tuesday won’t be the Melbourne Cup.
And the omens are good for Kiwi success on Cup day. Since its inception in 1861, 43 New Zealand-bred horses have won the Melbourne Cup, including 33 of the past 55 winners.
Perhaps it’s just as well for the Australians they’re not playing on Cup day, with Irish horse Deauville Legend a strong favourite at Flemington.
It’s remarkable that Australia are still in such strong contention for the semi-finals having won just one of their first three games, such has been the impact of rain on the tournament.
With all six teams in Australia’s group having played three matches, New Zealand have five points from two wins and a washout, while England, Ireland and Australia are all on three points from a win, a loss and a washout.
However, Australia have the worst run rate in their group by a significant margin, so if England get over New Zealand and win their last group match, against Sri Lanka in Sydney next Saturday, then barring some mathematical miracle, New Zealand and England will go through to the semi-finals.
The weather may continue to play a heavy hand in teams’ fortunes, with the weather forecast for Brisbane looking grim for Tuesday in particular.
The last time Australia defended a World Cup title on home soil, rain denied them a finals berth.
Likely Australian team: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim David, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
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