Preview- In-form England look determined to topple defending champions Australia
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is heading towards its culmination. And it has got just got the perfect humdinger now to light up the tournament as it heads towards an exciting finish. It will be Australia v England at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on the 11th of July in the second semi-final of the World Cup 2019.
England finished 3rd on the points table after back-to-back comprehensive victories against India and New Zealand. Australia, on the other hand, slipped from their pole position and finished second on the points table after their 10-run defeat against South Africa.
While Australia did defeat England in the league stage by 64 runs, things will be different this time in the semi-final. Back then, Jason Roy was still nursing an injury and wasn’t playing. He has made a comeback with two aggressive back-to-back fifties and will certainly have an impact. On the other hand, Australia has suffered two setbacks – Usman Khawaja has been ruled out due to a calf injury and Marcus Stoinis is uncertain because of a side strain.
This will certainly dent Australia’s chances and the in-form England, with the support of their home crowd, will begin as favorites for this high-octane semi-final.
Things are finally falling in place for England. Their top-order, with Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root looks solid. Captain Eoin Morgan, Jos Butler and Ben Stokes form a dangerous middle-order that can destroy the Australian bowlers. England’s bowling too has looked very good in the tournament. Joffra Archer, with 17 wickets, is one of the leading wicket-takers of the competition and will pose a threat. Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes are reliable seamers and should be effective.
Australia, meanwhile, will be reliant on David Warner who now has 638 runs in the tournament along with fellow opener Aaron Finch (507 runs). If these two fail, however, Australia might be in trouble. Steve Smith hasn’t been in great form. And in the absence of Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis, the onus will be on Glen Maxwell who has only been making attractive cameos. However, wicket-keeper Alex Carey has been exceptional lower down the order and is the third-highest scorer of the team with 329 runs. He will be a threat to the English bowlers.
Australia’s bowling has been great, with Mitchell Starc, the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 26 wickets, leading the way. Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff have given him good company and off-spinner Nathan Lyon has been very good too. But with Stoinis injured, Australia will struggle with the fifth bowling option and that is where England might have a significant advantage.
Pitch Conditions and Match Prediction:
The pitch at Edgbaston is expected to be batsman-friendly but will slow down as the game progresses. Two scores of 300-plus have been scored on this venue in the World Cup 2019 by the team batting first and they have both emerged victorious. Hence, the team batting first will have an advantage if they score in excess of 280-300.
The pitch does slow down later in the game and slow bowlers will have a say. Chasing might not be easy on this surface, hence. England, however, have found the perfect balance and are in scintillating form. They have all bases covered and should get past Australia who, despite a great show, do not look as balanced as they were initially. Regardless of the result, this should be a cracking contest between two of the biggest rivals in cricket history.