England finished third in the group table and would have spent a few days anticipating a repeat of their Edgbaston clash with India. But instead, Australia’s last group game defeat to South Africa at Old Trafford saw them slip to second and head to Birmingham to take on the tournament hosts. This is a semi-final that pits the two oldest rivals in world cricket against each other for a place in the World Cup Final.
SECOND SEMI A TIGHT AFFAIR
Australia beat England in the group phase at Lord’s by 64 runs and England will require a much bigger showing if they are to make the final. England was in a slump back them, however, after a lackluster defeat to Sri Lanka and the Australia loss was part of the hangover. Eoin Morgan’s men fought back from the edge of elimination with wins over India and New Zealand to finish in third place.
If England retains that positive mentality, they can live up to their pre-tournament favorites tag. England has not beaten Australia at a World Cup since 1992 but, if they are going to play their old rivals anywhere, Edgbaston is a venue that gives them plenty of hope. The Australian’s have not won a match at Edgbaston in any form of cricket since 2001.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow’s opening partnership has flourished since the Surrey man recovered from his hamstring problem. Bairstow comes into the semi-finals after becoming the first England player to score back-to-back centuries and he has 462 runs at 51.33. Joe Root at number three is the glue that holds the England batting together and when he fires England end to follow suit. The Yorkshireman has 500 runs at 62.50 and has scored two of England seven centuries so far – that’s as many as English batsmen have compiled in total across all over World Cup tournaments.
With Ben Stokes hitting four fifties in the middle-order, England’s depth of batting is a worry for any opposition, but they will be keen to see the dangerous Jos Buttler find his best form when it matters. The keeper-batsman has 253 runs from eight innings but take out his 103 and the rest of his contributions are not up to his usual high standards.
Jofra Archer, fresh to the team just before the tournament, has looked like he has played international cricket for years. He has taken 17 wickets and only gone for 4.78 runs per over. With Mark Wood contributing 16 wickets, Chris Woakes 10 and Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid controlling the middle overs, England appear to have all bases covered,
Australia has endured a difficult 18 months after Sandpapergate but with David Warner and Steven Smith back in the fold have been galvanized under Aaron Finch’s captaincy. They won seven group matches and Warner was pivotal with 638 runs at 79.75. With Finch, 507 runs at 56.33, he has formed a dangerous opening partnership. Steven Smith at number four has only produced 294 runs at 32.66.
Mitchell Starc has been the star bowler of the World Cup with 26 wickets and is a vital cog in the Aussie machine. India’s Jasprit Bumrah has underlined his all-round class with the ball in this tournament whilst Starc has shown he is the best strike=bowler around.
AUSSIES ARE THE WALKING WOUNDED
Australia suffered the loss of batsman Usman Khawaja on Saturday when he went down with a hamstring strain that has ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament. Keeper-batsman Matthew Wade has been called up as cover after his strong performances for Australia A but top order batsman Peter Hanscomb had previously been added to the 15-man squad as a replacement for Shaun Marsh (broken arm) and is likely to replace Khawaja for Tuesday’s game.
Marcus Stoinis (side) is also a doubt and Mitchell Marsh has been drafted in as potential cover. Starc is rumored to be struggling with an ankle issue, although he is expected to play.
England has no injury concerns with Jofra Archer continuing to play through a side niggle. The three lions are likely to keep the team that saw them through the final two group wins with Liam Plunkett preferred to Moeen Ali.
England is the best team on paper in ODIs in recent years but this matchup is a serious test of their world title-winning mettle. Australia has been a force throughout the group phase and will come into the semi-final with confidence. England knows they are a tremendous side, but do they believe they can be world champions? We find out the answer to the most important question of this World Cup on Thursday.
- England to win at 8/11 (Bet365 Sports App)
- Joe Root to be England’s top batsman at 7/2 (William Hill App)
- Aaron Finch to be Top Australia batsman at 10/3 (William Hill) – he seems to save his best scores against England
- England to score the most runs in the first 10 overs at 8/11 (Marathon Bet) – England have got out the traps quicker than the slightly more considered Aussies.