It’s the showdown many have been waiting for – England v Australia 2019 World Cup semi-final.
Two of the best teams from the group stage will face off in Birmingham on Thursday for a spot in the Lord’s final against New Zealand. And going by what happened in the group stage between the two teams – where England lost to Australia by 64 runs – should have an epic pace.
Australia enter the semi-final on the back of a tense defeat to South Africa that saw them slip to second in the league stage and set up a semi-final clash with third-placed England instead of fourth-placed New Zealand.
Here we take a look at three key clashes that can have an impact on which team makes it to the final.
Jofra Archer v David Warner
The most explosive fast bowler of the tournament against a batsman in sizzling form with more than 600 runs under his belt in the tournament. If Archer has pace in abundance, then Warner has the form to get on top of not only the 24-year-old quick but also the English attack, as he did during a valiant knock of 122 against South Africa in a tense chase of 326.
If Archer can get Warner out, it will be a big chunk of the job done. But if the Aussie can somehow negotiate the initial spell, there will be runs to be had against the likes of Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid.
Joe Root v Mitchell Starc
England are a team filled with scintillating strokemakers. And the batsman holding it all together is Joe Root, who has quietly gone about his business to emerge as the top run-getter for England with 500 runs from nine matches. He has mastered the art of holding one end up and allowing the likes of Bairstow, Buttler and others to tee off from the other end.
It will be job of left-arm quick Mitchell Starc to find a way past Root. What will make the job tougher for Starc is the fact he had knee issues in the previous match. If he can fire on all cylinders on Thursday, England will have real battle on their hands. His yoker to Ben Stokes during Australia’s win in the group stage was arguably the ball of the tournament and he will want to produce more of those in Birmingham.
Jos Buttler v Alex Carey
Let's talk about Alex Carey's World Cup— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) July 10, 2019
🔸4th best avg in a WC by main WK.
🔸2nd best avg for Aus in WC 2019
🔸2nd most runs by main WK in this WC.
🔸Most dismissals in WC 2019 (19)
🔸2nd most dismissals ever in a WC by WK after Gilchrist's 21 in 2003.#CWC2019#cwc19#ENGvAUS
England gloveman Jos Buttler is a pioneer of the modern game. The strokes that he pulls off, no one else in the game can. While he has had a relatively quiet tournament with just a hundred and a fifty, he has the ability to bat the opposition out of the game in half an hour.
While Buttler’s audacious strokes make the headlines, Aussie keeper Carey is the one who has actually done a ‘Buttler’ this tournament, consistently keeping up the fight at number seven. His 85 against the Proteas in a losing cause was brilliant and the game won’t be over as long as Carey is at the crease. Without doubt, Australia’s find of the tournament.
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