New Zealand’s clinical performance against the Indian juggernaut in the first semi-final on Wednesday put them in their second consecutive World Cup final. Rain played its part, converting a one-day match into a two-day affair that was eventually won by the team that held their nerve better. As the Kiwis chase their maiden World Cup title, they’ll eagerly await to find out who they face in Sunday’s blockbuster finale at Lord’s.
Come Thursday, five-time world champions Australia will be up in the second semi-final against England, who are in the best phase of their ODI cricket. With the most explosive batting line-up in their ranks, they’ll start as firm favourites despite a few initial hiccups. But times like these bring out the best in the Aussies and the Englishmen cannot afford to take them lightly. They’re coming off an unwanted loss against South Africa in their last league game, so a comeback in a knockout clash will be on their minds.
Australia vs England, 47th Match – 2nd semi-final
Edgbaston, Birmingham (03:00 PM)
With showers predicted on match day, both teams will hope to bat first and put the runs on the board.
Australia have thoroughly enjoyed dominating their Ashes rivals in World Cups. In the 8 matches played between both teams since 1975, the Aussies have come out on top 6 times. England have only a couple of victories against the five-time world champions. The last time both teams met in this World Cup, Australia crushed the hosts by 64 runs. England will want to avenge that loss and book a spot in the final.
Injured Usman Khawaja’s unavailability for the rest of the World Cup means that Australia will be forced to make one change to their playing XI. That they’re also sweating on a half-fit Marcus Stoinis has further thrown the team into imbalance. Australia called in Matthew Wade to replace Khawaja in the squad, while Mitchell Marsh has been brought in as cover for Stoinis for the second time. Wade has been in tremendous form over the last year, scoring runs aplenty for Australia A and Marsh has also picked up form. But head coach Justin Langer has confirmed that Peter Handscomb, who was earlier flown in as Shaun Marsh’s replacement, will play ahead of late entrant Wade.
Hosts England appear to be the more balanced side on paper as compared to their struggling nemesis. Unless there are any last-minute freak injuries, they should be sticking to their winning combination. The batters are in red-hot form, while the pace bowlers have executed their plans in perfect sync. With momentum on their side, England will hope to A) win the toss on a batting paradise at Edgbaston and B) put up a huge total on the board and gain the psychological edge in a high-intensity knockout contest.
Australia: A Finch (c), D Warner, P Handscomb/M Wade, S Smith, G Maxwell, M Stoinis, A Carey (wk), P Cummins, M Starc, N Lyon, J Behrendorff
England: J Roy, J Bairstow, J Root, E Morgan (c), B Stokes, J Buttler (wk), C Woakes, L Plunkett, A Rashid, J Archer, M Wood
- David Warner needs 11 more runs to surpass Rohit Sharma as the leading run-scorer in this World Cup. He is also 35 runs away from becoming the all-time highest run-scorer in World Cups, breaking the long-standing record held by Sachin Tendulkar (673 runs)
- Mitchell Starc needs just 1 more wicket to break countryman Glenn McGrath’s record of most wickets in a World Cup (26)
- England have not lost whenever Jason Roy gets a hundred in ODIs – 9