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. Joe Root is determined the “spicy” nature of England‘s latest clash with Australia won’t prove a distraction when the arch rivals meet for a place in the World Cup final.
Tournament hosts England and reigning champions Australia will lock horns in Thursday’s second semi-final at Edgbaston in a fixture that takes place just weeks before the start of the Ashes series between the old foes. Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has already done his best to unsettle England by insisting “it’s their World Cup to lose”.
“It might be a way of taking pressure off himself and his team. I try not to get too involved to be honest. I think there have been times within games when it has got a bit spicy and there have been a few exchanges on the field,” quoted Joe Root.
“But generally we will go about things in our own way and just get ourselves ready as best we can,” he added.
There has been a lot made of the fear factor
England have yet to win the World Cup and made the last of their three losing appearances in the final back in 1992, while five-time champions Australia have never lost a World Cup semi-final. England, however, have won 10 of the last 12 one-day internationals between the sides.
“There has been a lot made of the fear factor of playing against Australia, but I think this group of players over the last four years, their experiences against Australia are very positive,” Root noted.
“They have got a lot of success in the bank. We will be drawing on that confidence that over a long period of time now we have been successful against Australia and we should take that into Thursday. It’s a great chance and a great week, it does feel special,” he concluded.