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Sports


Old rivals lock horns for a place in the final

Old rivals lock horns for a place in the final

Birmingham, Jul 10 (UNI) Five-time champion Australia and six-time semifinalist

England meet the second semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2019 at Edgbaston

here on Thursday.

Australia have beaten England in the warm-up as well as the group stage game,

but the hosts will want to settle scores in the match where it matters the most.

Before the tournament, hosts England, along with India, were touted by some

as unequivocal favourites to lift the cup. No team has burst that illusion quite as

magnificently as their Ashes rivals.

Australia's dominating performance at Lord's, where they beat England by 64

runs in the group stages is still fresh in everyone's minds, but the five-time

champions had announced themselves even before the tournament actually

began, triumphing over the hosts by 12 runs in Southampton in the warm-ups.

England, on the other hand, have been inconsistent. They have struggled to

chase scores throughout the tournament – their 20-run defeat to Sri Lanka in

chase of a modest 233 exemplified that. They will have to hope for a much more

solid batting performance from their batsmen should Australia get the chance to

bat first yet again.

Australia too have looked a lot more comfortable defending. The two games

they lost in the group stages were both while chasing, the second defeat came

in their previous game against South Africa, where they fell short of 325 by 10

runs.

That defeat has forced Australia to look at potential changes. Peter Handscomb,

who was drafted into the side as a replacement for the injured Shaun Marsh, is

confirmed to make his World Cup debut. Matthew Wade has been lined up as a

replacement for Khawaja in the squad, who has been ruled out of the tournament

with a hamstring strain. Wade has been in terrific form for Australia A, and may be

considered in place of the misfiring Glenn Maxwell.

England seem relatively settled coming into the semis on back of two wins

against sides like India and New Zealand. But the two recent defeats to Australia

might well cancel out any perceived psychological advantage. One can expect a

close affair.

Squads:

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk),

Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben

Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Alex Carey

(wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins,

Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Wade

(pending official confirmation).

UNI XC-BM

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