The common consensus among the cricket world is that this edition of the World Cup is one of the most evenly balanced of all time.
The skill level across the board is phenomenal. And while no team is perfect, Australia does have a significant weakness that could be exposed during the tournament.
Our batting line-up has a combined strike rate that is well under the best teams in the world.
It seems odd even imagining that an Australian limited-overs side might have a slouchy run rate.
We’ve been blessed with free-scoring players like Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds to name a few, regularly outscoring opposing teams.
But the 2019 style of ODI cricket is a completely different beast, especially on hard and bouncy wickets.
Our current squad relies too much on David Warner and Glenn Maxwell to score at more than a run a ball and lift us to those big totals when required.
Let’s compare the career averages and strike rates of the Aussie top seven to the England top seven.
Their combined average strike rate is 93.
These are England’s numbers, on the other hand.
The hosts’ average strike rate is more than 100.
The batting averages are relatively similar across the board, while the strike rate is a significant seven per cent difference.
This might not seem like much but when you get even nerdier with the figures, this represents 21 fewer runs across a 50-over innings.
Sure, England have not been setting the world on fire lately, but remember that they have dominated the ODI format since 2015, winning the highest percentage of any team in the world.
They’ve also made multiple scores over 400 and set a new world record of 481 in the process.
How have they achieved all this and taken the game to new heights?
Despite this, Australia has a very competitive team that will go deep into the tournament and can win against anyone.
If there’s an area of concern, though, it’s this.
Maybe we are still a little old-school in our intent while the game has changed forever. It’s naive to think exactly the same blueprint for 2015 works for 2019.
Seeing players like Khawaja scoring nowhere near a run a ball in the warm-up games against New Zealand further raises these concerns and Maxwell is the one that has to take the big risks. Yet when he fails, he is selfish.
These accumulators might balance out their strike rate when they score big, but failing early means more pressure on the team with a run rate deficit.
Are we missing a D’Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, Ben McDermott or Ashton Turner in the line-up who can play those freak innings that skyrocket a team total? Maybe.
Let’s hope the boys play with positive intent from the get-go and take it to the opposition in those big-scoring games that are inevitable throughout the tournament.
We’ll have no other choice.