2019 Cricket World Cup: England prepare for Aussie semi-final showdown
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2019 Cricket World Cup: England prepare for Aussie semi-final showdown

The winners face New Zealand in Sunday's final at Lord's.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

A sporting history spanning over 130 years, Australia against England is always one of the most anticipated cricket fixtures on the planet, boasting even more significance with a World Cup final at stake.

The Home of Cricket plays host for the enticing encounter that will hope to be rain-free under a cloudy and muggy forecast, perfect for those who like to swing the ball.

Vavel take a look at the great rivals with New Zealand awaiting the winners after their epic semi-final victory with India.

Australia

Results

Writing Australia off from any major competition is always a dangerous game and in true Aussie fashion they have proved to be one of the most consistent teams in the competition.

Victories over Afghanistan and West Indies got them off to a comfortable start before they lost their first game of the tournament to India.

The response was swift, battering anyone and everyone in their way, including England, until a surprise 10-run defeat to South Africa last time out.

Run Scorer

David Warner has put any controversy behind him to be one of the players of the tournament thus far. Only Rohit Sharma has scored more runs with Warner formulating three centuries, including 166 against Bangladesh which is the highest score of the tournament.

Warner's average of 79.75 is the fourth best in the competition and his wicket will be key.

Wicket Taker

Mitchell Starc has already picked up an incredible 26 wickets, at least six more than his closest rivals. The pace bowler has two five-wicket hauls to his name and boasts one of the fastest deliveries in the competition.

But could fatigue be an issue with only two bowlers sending down more deliveries thus far in the competition?

Key Man

Captain Aaron Finch has a key role to play and not just with the bat where he has scored 507 runs at an average of 56.33.

Put simply, if England bat first they tend to win. Forcing the home side to chase by winning the toss could be the downfall of the hosts, as has been the case in all three of their defeats so far.

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England

Results

England have been somewhat shaky throughout periods of the competition. Whilst they have blown away the likes of South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan, they also suffered surprise defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with that loss to Australia.

Yet crucial victories over India and New Zealand have seen them through and suggest England are still more than capable of winning the competition.

Run Scorer

One consistently solid feature of the England squad is Joe Root. He is one of just six players to post 500 runs thus far, enjoying an average of  62.5.

Root has made two centuries in this World Cup but will hope to go on and score more if he reaches the milestone again, failing to score more than another seven runs during those opportunities.

Wicket Taker

The fastest man in the competition, Jofra Archer, has bludgeoned his way to 17 wickets at an average of 22.76.

His economy has been particularly impressive and Archer has combined well with Mark Wood who is only a wicket behind despite playing a game less.

Key Man

It would be easy to suggest Jonny Bairstow after successive centuries but it is his opening partner who has got the best out of the fiery wicketkeeper-batsman.

Jason Roy has missed three games through injury but still possesses 341 World Cup runs to his name at an average of 68.2. The opening pair offer something not many other teams have - an aggressive onslaught that can easily take the game away from the opposition before they pick up their first wicket.

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Head-to-head

The 64-run defeat to Australia during the group stage almost ended England's World Cup campaign. Already lacking confidence after a surprise loss to Sri Lanka just a couple of days previous, the pace of Starc and swing of Jason Behrendorff tore through the England upper order in a chase of 285.

Australia coasted through the first half of their innings as Finch and Warner made an opening stand of 123 within the first 23 overs. Finch went on to score a century but regular wickets kept the Aussies at bay, eventually failing to make it past 300.

Yet England's chase was doomed as early as the second ball when James Vince became the first of Behrendorff's five victims. England slumped to 53-4 as only Ben Stokes truly registered on the scorecard with a valiant 89, at least 62 runs more than any of his teammates.

Falling for 221, it left England needing to win their final two games of the group stages to qualify.

Prediction

Yet it is that result and performance that propelled the hosts back into life. Since the humbling defeat, England have looked untouchable against the other two semi-finalists.

Australia will make this a close contest and have never been pushovers but England should have learnt from previous mistakes enough to edge them into the final.

If Eoin Morgan wins the toss and bats first, it could be an ever so slightly less daunting semi-final for the home fans.

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