The four semifinalists were practically decided quite early
After the completion of 45 games of the group stage, the 2019 World Cup is entering the semifinal stage.
The four semifinalists were practically decided quite early as Australia were leading the points table with India on second, closely followed by hosts England and New Zealand.
But Australia’s defeat to South Africa and India’s crushing win against struggling Sri Lanka in their last group stage game led to some reordering in the top two spots in the points table and made the semifinal stage interesting.
According to form, Australia were favourite against South Africa, who were sitting on the number eighth position. But Australia’s defeat by 10 runs to them means now Australia will face hosts England at Edgbaston on July 11 while India will face New Zealand at Old Trafford on July 9.
Meanwhile, Australian captain Aaron Finch said their group stage game against England at Lords, where they won, will give them a boost ahead of the semifinal blockbuster.
“You have to beat everyone regardless of who it is or where it is. Playing well against England at Lord's a couple of weeks ago will give us some confidence going into that game. There's been a lot of build-up to the World Cup and especially, getting towards the pointy end. England have been in really good form recently so again, we're going to have to be at our best to win that,” said Finch after their match against South Africa.
“But it is going to be exciting. Anytime Australia play England, it is exciting, but even at -- any time you are at Birmingham as well, it's a fun crowd to play in front of (smiling). There's always plenty of support there for both the sides and it's going to be a great atmosphere. It will be a great spectacle no doubt,” he added.
Australia are currently dealing with multiple injuries ahead of their semifinal clash against England and both Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis are suffering from injuries incurred their last game.
Wicket-keeper Mathew Wade and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh have been called up as cover to join the Australia squad as back up for Khawaja and Stoinis.
ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019— K-SPORTS (@ksportsbd) July 7, 2019
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On the other hand, India are in superb form and went on to crush Sri Lanka in their last group game, finishing the group stage with the highest points.
One of the main reasons behind India’s dominance is their opener Rohit Sharma’s red-hot form. He is in outstanding form and scored his record fifth century of the tournament. He scored 67 runs in just eight innings with an average of 92.42. But the right hander believes winning the World Cup will be a greater achievement for him than scoring five centuries in the World Cup.
“If we win the World Cup then probably I would feel that it is the biggest achievement in my career. If not, then I can't, because eventually winning the cup -- winning the game is important, no matter how many runs you score or how many wickets you take. For us, as cricketers, it's important to get the job done, because we all have been looking forward to this World Cup, which comes every four years. You have to wait for four years for this. Eventually, the job for us is to go and win the finals -- the semifinals before that, yes. But as long as that is not accomplished, no matter how many runs you score in the tournament or how many hundreds you get, you won't feel satisfied,” said Rohit, after the Sri Lanka game.
India will face New Zealand in the first semifinal at Old Trafford on Tuesday while the second semifinal between Australia and England will be played on Thursday at Edgbaston.