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World Cup 2019, Australia vs England: Top five player battles - Mitchell Starc threat looms large

Hosts England face defending champions Australia in the second World Cup semi-final in Birmingham on Thursday.

cricket Updated: Jul 11, 2019 11:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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Australia's Mitchell Starc celebrates with teammates.(Reuters)

Hosts England face defending champions Australia in the second World Cup semi-final in Birmingham on Thursday. Eoin Morgan’s England came back strongly to finish the group stage with six wins from nine matches, while Australia were the first team to book their final-four spot. The defending champions, who finished at the second spot in the round-robin stage with 7 wins and 2 defeats, will feel they are the favourites, having already beaten the Three Lions convincingly earlier in the competition.

Here are the key player battles that could define the competition:

READ | Numbers reveal biggest threat for Australia in semi-finals against England

David Warner vs Jofra Archer

Jofra Archer has given England’s attack a new dimension with his raw pace, taking 17 wickets in nine games in the round-robin stage. On the other hand, David Warner is right back at the top of the international game after returning from a year-long ban for ball-tampering with something to prove. He has scored 638 runs in the tournament so far, with three hundreds and three fifties already. He failed to take his side to a win against South Africa, despite scoring a ton, and will be eager to make up for the defeat.

Jonny Bairstow vs Mitchell Starc

With 462 runs from 9 matches, England opener Jonny Bairstow has been a force to reckoned with for England. The right-handed batsman has found form at the right time with scoring two hundreds, against India and New Zealand. . On the other hand, Australia primary bowler Mitchell Starc is in lethal wicket-taking form at the moment, and is ruling the bowling charts with 26 wickets. As a result, it is safe to say that it will truly be a clash of titans when these two established names face off at Edgbaston on Thursday.

READ | Numbers reveal why Australia are a daunting opposition for England

Steve Smith vs Liam Plunkett

Liam Plunkett has shown the ability to trouble the opposition with pace and bounce. He was impressive against India, where he picked three crucial wickets and ended India’s chance of going for the win. The seamer could only manage just one wicket against New Zealand as he managed to take just one wicket, but he managed to curtail run flow and allowed the pressure to build on the Kiwis. In his 9 overs, he gave away just 28 runs. Against Steve Smith, who is still not at his best in the tournament, Plunkett can offer a stiff competition.

Jason Roy vs Jason Behrendorff

England opener Jason Roy would be eager to not miss out on a hundred, after he was dismissed after scoring half centuries against both India and New Zealand. The batsman has been in good form since his return from injury. But Jason Behrendorff, who has been splendid against right-handed batsmen with the new ball, can pose troubles for the side. The left-armer has been given long spells with the new ball since he has been included in the side for Nathan Coulter-Nile, and he would be eager to continue his form and shine with the new ball again.

Ben Stokes vs Nathan Lyon

The allrounder Ben Stokes has been in splendid form in the series. He fought single-handedly the last time the two teams faced each other, but was castled by the “ball of the tournament” by Mitchell Starc. The left-handed batsman will be eager to redeem himself and take his side to a win by scoring his first ton of the tournament. But the batsman could find it hard to face Aussie leggie Nathan Lyon, who has been brilliant in the middle overs. He could restrict the run flow and then cause Stokes to panic and play unncessary shots.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 10:34 IST