Captain Morgan Can Top Score in First ODI v Australia

Eoin Morgan

England and Australia continue their summer of cricket this week with the first of five one day internationals on Thursday 3rd September. England followed up their Ashes victory with 5-run win in a one-off Twenty20 game in Cardiff, and confidence is high in the camp right now. Captain Eoin Morgan scored an excellent 74 to get England on the way, surpassing Kevin Pietersen as England’s highest T20 run-scorer, and he looks to be bang in form after a well-deserved summer break.

Despite the optimism and enthusiasm that has stemmed from a very successful summer, there was little to choose between the sides in Monday’s Twenty20, and Australia remain a very dangerous animal – particularly in the one-day format.

Twenty20 Pointers

It was a thrilling one-off T20 match on Monday, with England coming off the better by 5 runs after Australia looked to be on the way to victory. Eoin Morgan was inspired with the bat, racking up 74 and smashing seven sixes in a third-wicket partnership of 135 off 71 balls with Moeen Ali. The hosts batted their way to 182-5, but Australia hit back with a vengeance. Captain Steve Smith hit a brilliant 90 from 53 balls, but after he was caught with 18 more runs required, Australia crumbled and lost 5-16 in just 14 balls. Ben Stokes stepped up to bowl the final over with just 12 Australian runs needed, but he held his nerve impeccably to concede just half that total and score two run outs and one wicket.

England were jubilant, but had Smith not been caught at such a crucial stage of the game, Australia could easily have gone on to win. The returning Shane Watson was dismissed in bizarre fashion, as he failed to kick the ball clear of his stumps after a good delivery from Steven Finn. He only managed 8 runs, while the Aussies other opener David Warner could only contribute half of that number. It would be something of a surprise if those two batsmen didn’t deliver a better return on Thursday, although the same could also be said of England openers Roy and Hales who only managed 14 runs between them.

The Captain’s Rest

Eoin Morgan says he is feeling ‘fresh’ after a month-long break from cricket, and he’s chomping at the bit to get stuck into this one day series. Prior to the T20 match, he last played on the 1st August when he was bowled out for a duck for Middlesex in a one day cup game with Hampshire. The left-hander’s 74 from 39 balls in Cardiff showed how much good the break has done him, and he admitted that he had felt jaded after not having a break for a full 11 months. He has been practicing for the last ten days or so, and should come into the series refreshed and fired up.

Captaining the side can take its toll on some players, but Morgan is the type to relish the responsibility and he seems to up his game when he dons the England shirt. But he will almost certainly have his hands full against an Australian team with damaged pride.

Dangerous Australia

Australia are  -150  with BoylesportsBetfair and Coral to win the match, and they are worth backing to bounce back from Monday’s disappointment.

The Aussies are often at their most dangerous after defeat, and like a wounded animal, they often come out fighting. After defeat in the Ashes and then in the T20 game in Cardiff, the glorious World Cup win must seem like a lifetime ago, and once again, their presence at the top of the cricket table is under threat. That should give Steve Smith the perfect motivation for his side to get them to raise their performance levels, and he will want to get the first win against England as captain under his belt as quickly as possible.

The Batting Stakes

There’s plenty of value in the betting for top batsmen for either side, and Thursday’s game provides a great opportunity to have a couple of punts at decent prices.

Eoin Morgan is a fair  +450  with Boylesports and BetVictor to top score with the bat for England, and he’s primed for another good display on Thursday.

Morgan top-scored in the T20 match in Cardiff, with only Moeen Ali (72) coming close to his total of 74. By his own admission he is well rested both physically and mentally, and he should be ready to lead from the front. He notched up some good scores over the course of the one day series with New Zealand earlier in the summer, including a century, and if he can regain that form he has every chance of coming out on top in this market. His work with the bat in the T20 win suggests that he is back at his very best, and he’s worth following here.

For the Aussies it may be a bit of a flyer, but we’re backing one of their openers to come back to form.

David Warner was bowled out for 4 in Monday’s Twenty20 game, but he’s still one of Australia’s top batsmen, and he’s worth backing at  +350  with Paddy Power to make up for it on Thursday.

The big-hitting left-hander has been the subject of controversy in the past for his on-field and off-field antics, but one thing you can be sure of is his determination and will to win. He’ll be hurting after being ousted for just 4 runs the other day, and will be desperate to make up for it here. Smith, Watson and Joe Burns (if selected) are the likely competitors for top Australian batting honours, but its worth sticking with the big-hitter in a format that really suits his game.

Tips Summary

Australia to beat England
Thursday 3rd September 14:00 GMT
Odds:  -150

Eoin Morgan to be Top England Batsman
Thursday 3rd September 14:00 GMT
Odds:  +450

David Warner to be Top Australia Batsman
Thursday 3rd September 14:00 GMT
Odds:  +350

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