England vs Australia: Cricket World Cup 2019 semi-final: live score and latest updates How can England beat Australia? By bringing their A-game to the party and that should do the trick.
England are the best all-round team in the competition and for two years or more have played great cricket. It lifted them to No1 in the world rankings and favourites to win the World Cup.
In horse racing favourites don’t always win. Why? Because it is what happens on the day that counts. You have to produce your best. Anything short of that and you have had it.
Three times in the round robin stage England shot themselves in the foot by playing poor, or stupid, cricket. Or will Australia continue on their charge to win two World Cups in a row and five in six? That is the question we all want answering and it’s the question that will be answered at the end of this match, as we find out who will join New Zealand in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.
England, you might say – being the number one ranked team in the world, at home and with two wins in their last two games – should be favourites. But this is the World Cup and that is Australia’s domain. And, naturally, the fact that England struggled to a 64-run defeat to their rivals in the group stage of this tournament, has to have some significance on the mindset of the English fans, if not the English team.
As does England’s weakness against left-arm pace bowling – and Australia have two of them in Mitchell Starc, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, and Jason Behrendorff. They both caused havoc against England last time, taking a combined total of nine wickets for 87 runs as England slumped to 221 all out chasing Australia’s total of 285.
But that was a slightly different England side. Without the firepower of Jason Roy at the top of the order. Since his return England have looked like the England of old. Liam Plunkett has also bowled superbly in recent matches. And the match takes place at the more favourable Edgbaston, rather than Lord’s. North London has been a very fruitful place for Australia to play their cricket whilst Birmingham has not.
Australia, too, have some selection issues. Peter Handscomb is set to replace Usman Khawaja and there is a chance they will leave out Glenn Maxwell for Matthew Wade. Marcus Stoinis has, though, recovered from an injury.
Before this World Cup you’d say that England were a good chasing team but all three of their defeats have come through batting second. Bat first then? Maybe. With the chance to inflict some scoreboard pressure. Or risk the pressure themselves of Australia’s left arm pace? It’s a dilemma if you win the toss. Not long to go until the most important match in English cricket the 2005 Ashes. Probably.