Apologies for the belated “match preview” of the semi-final clash between Australia and England. We can’t really call it a preview as such as the match is well underway and Australia batting first are 46 for 3 at the time of this writing.
So, let’s call it a preview + live match report. Why the delay?
Perfectly justifiable really. Like most Indians we are also reeling from the completely unexpected defeat of the Indian team in yesterday’s semi-final against New Zealand. That was a major shock for us, but life goes on.
Fact is, New Zealand may have won, but they will go into the final as an underdog. Both Australia and England would fancy their chances against them. They just need to get over this one hurdle.
England have bowled with fire so far, especially young Jofra Archer, who reminds one of the legendary Malcolm Marshall. But Australia are fighting back, with Steven Smith and Alex Carey.
Carey has been particularly impressive. The young man was hit directly in the jaw by vicious fast bouncer by Archer. But instead of retiring hurt and leaving the field, Carey has just had his jaw strapped and is fighting on.
This courageous act reminds one of the great Anil Kumble, who was also hit in the jaw, but came on to the field to bowl with his jaw strapped. One can only imagine the kind of pain he must be in. One cannot praise this young man enough.
As for England, they are doing everything possible to break the Carey-Smith partnership. We will see how it goes, but with an attack comprising of Archer, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes, England are certainly not short of wicket taking options.
But they have to somehow restrict Australia to a score of 230. Anything more than that can be a challenge, as we saw in yesterday’s match. England have a very good batting line-up, but then so did India!
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch(c), Steven Smith, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler(w), Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, James Vince, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson
Match Conditions: Pitch looks perfect for batting, but there is something there for fast bowlers. No rains expected, thankfully!
Prediction: Tough match to predict. Historically Australia always have had an edge over England in important matches. They should just about win this one. Remember, cricket is a very mental game, it’s all in the mind, and psychologically England do not really believe they can beat Australia.