Semi-finals are always the worst, no one ever remembers losing semi-finalists and when it comes to the knockout stages it’s all about holding your nerve and finding a way to get over the line if the game does get close.
I will always remember our semi-final back in 2017 in the ICC Women’s World Cup. We had just under a week to get ready which gave us a really good chance to have a good quality preparation leading up to the game.
That obviously makes a real difference but the real key was that we also had a few days off to just get away from cricket.
I’m sure the boys will have done the same over the past few days, switching off and forgetting all about batting and bowling.
That’s the great thing about being the tournament hosts, you can go and sleep in your own bed and spend time with your friends and family and then come fresh and ready to put your full focus on the semi-final.
I would be interested to know how many of the England guys will watch the first semi-final.
My guess is that it will be personal choice – some of the guys will want to avoid it altogether, focus on their semi-final and let that result take care of itself.
The danger of watching it too closely is you can start dreaming of getting to the final as well, but I am sure that most of the guys will have one eye on India v New Zealand, it’s hard not to!
The key to the game will be the new ball.
Australia took early wickets at Lord’s in the group match and that pretty much decided the game then and there.
The left-armers Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff made hay that day, so it is important that England’s openers are watchful and nullify that threat if the ball is swinging.
South Africa last weekend showed that there will be balls to attack and runs to be scored up front as well.
But the key is making sure you pick the right balls to go after and which ones to defend or leave alone with the ball swinging around.
And then when it comes to England bowling with the new ball, I think the key wicket is that of captain Aaron Finch.
David Warner might have scored more runs at this World Cup, but when Finch goes big, Australia invariably win.
The captain’s wicket is the one that England will be itching for and then it will be interesting to see how what might well be a remodelled Australian middle order can cope.
Usman Khawaja is out, Shaun Marsh has already gone home and Marcus Stoinis is in a race against time to prove his fitness.
That means that someone like Matthew Wade might come into contention – and England will need to be wary against under-estimating a guy like him.
He is in fantastic form, with two centuries already this summer on English soil for Australia A, and he always seems to score runs when he has got a point to prove.
What an occasion it will be, I can’t wait to see how it will play out and I have got everything crossed that England can make it through.