The old enemies are at it again. After a comprehensive win in the group stages of the 2019 ICC World Cup, Australia will hope to do a double over England. This second semi-final will be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday.
Australia finished second in the group standings with two losses. The second of those came in their last league match, pushing them for a game against their Ashes rivals. England will feel a test of their credentials after making their first WC semi-final since 1992.
Not just the loss to South Africa, but also the injuries to key players threaten to derail Australia. Usman Khawaja is out of the tournament, while Marcus Stoinis remains a doubt. Matthew Wade has joined the squad, while Mitchell Marsh is on stand-by.
Amidst all this, the form of David Warner (638 runs, Avg. 79.75) gives a glitter of hope. Aaron Finch (507 runs) will also hope to lend his weight. With the ball, Mitchell Starc (26 wickets) looks set to continue his consistent wicket-taking performances.
England would have loved facing India, but will be happy they are playing at a favourable venue. The hosts haven’t lost their last ten matches in all formats here. They have also beaten Australia in the Champions Trophy 2017 here. The Aussies haven’t won an ODI here since 1993.
The return of Jason Roy (341 runs, SR 114.04) gives them firepower at the top. Joe Root (500 runs) and Jonny Bairstow (462) have shouldered the responsibility of scoring runs. Jofra Archer with 17 wickets has been their leading light with the ball.
Fantasy Players to Watch
David Warner has six scores of 50 and above this tournament in nine innings. His new-found calmness will help Australia start on a right note.
Ben Stokes has 381 runs and seven wickets in the WC. With four 50s to his name, the all-rounder has proven to be a worthy fantasy pick.
Liam Plunkett has picked up eight wickets in this WC at a miserly ER of 4.89. More importantly, his cutters are suited to this ground more than anyone else.
Australia will play Handscomb and Stoinis is likely to be fit.
Australia: 1 David Warner 2 Aaron Finch (C) 3 Peter Handscomb 4 Steve Smith 5 Glenn Maxwell 6 Marcus Stoinis 7 Alex Carey (WK) 8 Pat Cummins 9 Mitchell Starc 10 Jason Behrendorff 11 Nathan Lyon
England are likely to use the same line-up that took the field against New Zealand.
England: 1 Jason Roy 2 Jonny Bairstow 3 Joe Root 4 Eoin Morgan (C) 5 Ben Stokes 6 Jos Buttler (WK) 7 Chris Woakes 8 Liam Plunkett 9 Adil Rashid 10 Jofra Archer 11 Mark Wood
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