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Mark Wood: Questions will be asked if England lose to Australia

Mark Wood at net practice
Mark Wood knows beating Australia on Saturday would settle England's nerves after last year's dreadful World Cup defence - Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Mark Wood says England’s match against Australia on Saturday is now a “huge game” following the wash-out with Scotland and losing it would raise fears of another poor World Cup.

England can afford to lose to Australia and still make the Super Eights if they beat Oman and Namibia in Antigua next week while also boosting their net run-rate. Results elsewhere will be important too and defeat by Australia would leave very little wriggle room either on the field or with the weather.

This is also an England team scarred by what happened in India last year and the pressure on Jos Buttler, the captain, was evident before the Scotland game when he reacted testily to questions about that tournament.

Beating the 50-over and Test world champions would lift England, whose preparation was dogged by the weather even before the Scotland game was abandoned without them having the opportunity to start their chase of a tricky 109 in 10 overs.

“It is obviously a huge game with what is coming up. A Super Over for the other teams [Namibia beat Oman after a Super Over on Monday] before will keep their run rate similar. Now it is a big chance for us if we get points on the board,” said Wood. “If we don’t that makes everything crucial and you have to win by margins again with weather around. The Australia game becomes huge for us. It is a game you never normally need to get up for because they are your rivals and all of that stuff but it is now a game that takes even more importance because of the points.

“It puts a different spin if we win that game compared to losing [that] has a different look and feel. Lose and I’m sure there will be questions asked like the last World Cup in India, so it’ll be an important game for us and one we’ll be desperately trying to win.”

England’s campaign in India never really got going, losing six of their first seven matches and the pressure ratcheted up pretty quickly. England, for their own peace of mind, need to hit this tournament running. Two from five in Group B go through to the Super Eights. With three associates in the group – Scotland, Oman and Namibia – it should have meant England and Australia could ride out the result when they meet in Barbados on Saturday but the weather in the wet season in the Caribbean has added a layer of jeopardy that could trip up one of the big teams.

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