Cricket World Cup 2019

Aussie skipper relishing England semi-final

Despite their 10-run loss to South Africa on Saturday, Australia can look to David Warner, who is at the top of his game, in their semi-final against England.
Despite their 10-run loss to South Africa on Saturday, Australia can look to David Warner, who is at the top of his game, in their semi-final against England.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Australia captain Aaron Finch insisted he was "excited" by their Cricket World Cup semi-final meeting with hosts England despite their 10-run loss to South Africa in Manchester on Saturday.

Had his team defeated the already eliminated Proteas, they would have had an arguably easier last-four clash against a slumping New Zealand side, who have lost their last three group games.

However, Australia will now head to Birmingham on Thursday and will face a confident England side who have beaten India and the Black Caps in their last two games.

While they overwhelmed England in their group-stage encounter at Lord's, their opponents were without Jason Roy that day.

The opener, though, is now fit again and firing on all cylinders, and Finch admitted England "have been in really good form recently".

He said: "Playing well against England a couple of weeks ago obviously will give us some confidence going into that game."

But Saturday's loss was compounded by the sight of Usman Khawaja retiring hurt on six with a hamstring injury, and Finch revealed the left-handed batsman's campaign might be over as he "is not looking great in all honesty".

Fortunately, the Australia A-side is also on tour in England with Matt Wade, a veteran of 94 international one-dayers, in fine form with the bat and ready to fill the breach.

In David Warner, though, Australia also have a batsman who is at the top of his game, with the team's former vice-captain notching 122 for his third century of the event.

Hailing him as a "big-game" player, Finch said: "He played magnificently today. It is never easy when you are losing wickets at the other end... That was as good an innings he could have played."

Separately, Rohit Sharma became the first player to hit five centuries in a single World Cup while his opening partner K.L. Rahul also struck a century as India topped the standings after cantering to a seven-wicket win in their final group match against Sri Lanka on Saturday at Headingley.

The batsman's 103 means he leads the World Cup's run-scoring charts with 647 runs in eight matches. His form makes India the favourites ahead of tomorrow's semi-final meeting with New Zealand.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2019, with the headline 'Aussie skipper relishing England semi-final'. Print Edition | Subscribe