Australia face England at Edgbaston on Thursday in the second semi-final match of the Cricket World Cup 2019. Australia lost to South Africa in their final group match which saw them slip to second place in the table. England thrashed New Zealand in their last match to leapfrog the Blackcaps and finish third.
Australia finished the group stage with 14 points after winning seven and losing two of their matches. England claimed 12 points from their nine matches, with six wins and three defeats to their name. Both sides have performed well throughout the group stage and there isn’t much to separate the two teams.
England beat New Zealand by 119 runs in their previous outing. Jonny Bairstow was the standout performer, claiming back-to-back centuries with 106 runs from just 99 deliveries. Jason Roy also batted well as he continues his return from injury. He scored 60 from 61 and made a solid 123-run opening partnership with Bairstow for the first wicket.
On the other hand, Australia come into the semi-finals on the back of a surprising defeat to South Africa. They eventually lost the match by 10 runs however their bowlers – who have been extremely economical so far in the tournament - were ineffective. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummin and Jason Behrendorff all went for over six runs per over.
England will come into this match as the more confident of the two teams. Their form seems to have peaked at just the right time as the knockout stage nears and they will thrive on the home support in Birmingham on Thursday.
In the group match between the two teams, Australia defeated England by 64 runs. Australia finished on 285/7 and managed to bowl out England for just 221. England’s pacemen struggled that day as Aaron Finch scored 100 and David Warner bagged a half century. Jason Behrendorff picked up a five-wicket haul and will be keen to get another shot at England’s batting line-up.
Both teams have two batsmen featuring in the top run scorers’ chart. David Warner (638) and Aaron Finch (507) represent the Aussies whilst Joe Root (500) and Jonny Bairstow (462) both feature for England. The top four individual scores in the tournament have also been scored by Australia and England players: David Warner (166), Jason Roy (153), Aaron Finch (153) and Eoin Morgan (148).
Mitchell Starc leads the way with the most wickets taken at the tournament so far. The Australian paceman has 26 wickets to his name. Jofra Archer (17) and Mark Wood (16) also feature in the top ten and the fast bowlers have enjoyed great success throughout the group stage.
It promises to be an exciting encounter when the two teams take to the field on Thursday. With the Ashes just around the corner, both sides will be keen to grab the early bragging rights in this fixture.
I predict that England will come out on top and book their spot in the final of the competition. Their explosive batsmen and the home advantage should be enough to get them over the line.