Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne said youngsters can learn a lot from Rohit Sharma after the India opener became the first player to score five hundreds at a single Cricket World Cup as India eased to a seven-wicket win in their final group match at Headingley on Saturday.
“Every time he gets a start, he keeps scoring big runs. That’s what you want. He was fearless and he knows how he is going to get a hundred, and he has planned it really well,” Karunaratne said.
“At one time, he went to take a charge and chose what bowlers he wanted to respect. That is what I want for the youngsters. He is an ideal character to watch and learn something from him, if you keep batting and batting.”
In a big blow for Australia, batsman Usman Khawaja has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2019 ICC World Cup following his injury in Saturday’s loss against South Africa.
The southpaw picked up a hamstring strain in the 10-run loss at Manchester and has now been confirmed to miss the rest of the tournament.
The defending champions had earlier named wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade as cover for the injured Khawaja and will now seek the approval of ICC’s event technical committee to permanently replace the player.
“Ussie’s got a hamstring strain so he’ll be out for probably three to four weeks which is a real shame but we have to work hard on getting him up for the Ashes now,” Australia head coach Justin Langer stated on Monday.
“Such a pity for him he’s been so intergral to how we’ve been playing. Like Shaun (Marsh) I feel sad for him that he’s going to miss the World Cup semi-final.”
Justin Langer says Usman Khawaja will be out for around 3 weeks with a hamstring strain. Decision on Stoinis in the next 24 hours but doesn’t look great. Confirmed Wade and M Marsh likely replacements in the squad. #CWC19 #AUSvENG— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) July 7, 2019
While Khawaja has now been ruled out, the Aussies are still sweating on the fitness of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis ahead of their semi-final against hosts England at Edgbaston.
Stoinis had injured himself in the clash against South Africa as well with all-rounder Mitchell Marsh named as his cover. The five-time champions are hoping to take a call on Stoinis’ fitness in the coming two days.
“And Marcus is the same, got another strain in his other side actually so we are working through that at the moment and we’ll have to make a decision on him in the next 24 to 48 hours,” said Langer.
“Not in the final XI yet but Matthew Wade is coming up. He’s in great form, he’s had a great 12 or so months back home but he’s also just scored two hundreds in one-day cricket so he’s in great nick.
“And Mitch Marsh is going to come on standby for Stoinis to see how he comes up.”
The semi-final meeting before Australia and England at Edgbaston is due to take place on Thursday.
Mitchell Starc believes Australia have already created the blueprint of how to beat England at this World Cup and has highlighted taking early wickets as the key to their mouth-watering semi-final.
The old rivals met at Lord’s during the group stage of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, where Australia set a target of 285/7 and then skittled England for 221 to complete a dominant 64-run win.
In that encounter, James Vince was removed second ball and the hosts were reduced to 53/4 in their chase, which is the sort of start that Starc is targeting when the sides meet again at Edgbaston this Thursday, with a place in the final on the line.
“The blueprint, if you like, from last time we played England was to get early wickets,” explained the left-arm seamer, who took 4-43 in that game.
“They’ll get Jason Roy back for the fixture, so we’ll have a few days now to discuss if we’ll change anything but the way we played England last time is a great blueprint.
“I think the game against India as well, where we didn’t take early wickets and they were able to build an innings before exploding towards the end, showed what we’ve looked to improve since then.”
Taking consistent early wickets was exactly what Australia were unable to do against South Africa at Old Trafford, as the Proteas top four scored 281 runs between them in a total of 325/6.
Valiant innings from David Warner (122) and Alex Carey (85) got Australia close but they ultimately lost by ten runs.
“This performance wasn’t our best – we got a couple of wickets but they had a partnership through the middle, whereas in the past few games we’ve been really good at taking wickets in that period,” added Starc.
“We were off it out there but we’re still in the World Cup semi-final which is no mean feat, especially given how a few people around the world were talking about this team three or four months ago.
“It’s something to be proud of but there’s a lot of work going forward to the semi-final and a lot to still take out of the South Africa game.”
Defeat against the Proteas saw Australia miss out on top spot in the table – which would have meant a semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester, rather than a clash with England.
But Starc isn’t worried about taking on the hosts, as they look to move a step closer to winning a sixth ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
“To win a World Cup you’ve got to beat everyone,” he explained. “Whether we play England in the semi-final or the final, or play India in the final or whatever, you’ve got to beat the good teams to win a World Cup.
“It’s a big game now in the semi-final and hopefully we can knock them off and advance to another final.”