Australia finished the round-robin saga of the ICC World Cup 2019 at the second spot on the points table as they succumbed to a heartening 10-run defeat at the hands of South Africa in a thrilling contest at the Old Trafford, Manchester. With this result, Australia have seven wins and two losses in nine matches of the league stages, finishing just behind India. Australia captain Aaron Finch said that he was “excited” by the prospect of a World Cup semi-final against England even though his reigning champions will go into Thursday’s blockbuster match.
Australia’s loss to South Africa handed India the top spot on the points table and a semi-finale meeting with New Zealand on July 9 at the Old Trafford, Manchester. Previously in the group stages, Aaron Finch and his troops did manage to give a crushing 64-run beating to hosts England at the Lord’s and thus, they will be taking confidence from that win.
“You have to beat everyone, regardless of who it is or where it is. Playing well against England a couple of weeks ago obviously will give us some confidence going into that game. England have been in really good form recently so we are going to have to be at our absolute best to win that.
But it’s going to be exciting. Any time Australia plays England, it’s exciting. But any time you are at Birmingham as well. It’s a fun crowd to play in front of,” quoted Aaron Finch during the post-match press conference.
Usman is not looking great
While chasing a huge target of 326 runs, Australia got off to a horrible start losing two early wickets in the form of skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith with 33 runs on the board. Usman Khawaja who came in to bat at three was forced to leave the field after pulling out his hamstring, leaving Australia effectively 33 for 3. However, Khawaja did come out to bat afterwards, but failed to take his team home. Also, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis continued to struggle with a side strain.
While speaking on the injury concerns, Finch said, “Usman is not looking great in all honesty. He has done a couple of hammies (hamstrings) before and today feels a bit similar to that. He didn’t aggravate it anymore when he got out there (again). He wanted to go out, especially when we got as close as what we did. He has well and truly put the team first there.”
“Marcus is just a bit sore in his side. We will have to wait for scans tomorrow (Sunday).”