Australia had a slow start to the World Cup, suffered a setback against India, but kicked into higher gear and went on a brilliant winning run but stumbled right towards the end against South Africa to settle for second place in the table.
The openers – captain Aaron Finch and David Warner – have been in superb touch for Australia and have accounted for 1,145 runs between them. Usman Khawaja, despite struggling initially found his rhythm but sadly, will miss out on the rest of the tournament after pulling his hamstring against South Africa.
Defending totals has been Australia’s forte and that is where the immaculate Mitchell Starc has been the key. He looks set to walk away with the highest wicket-taker’s tally for the second World Cup in a row; he has 26 to his name now. Australia’s games against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand had the five-time world champions in a spot of bother at various points in the match. However, they managed to pocket two points with wickets at key intervals.
Their opponents in the semi-final, England, were also at the receiving end of some hostile bowling from Starc and Jason Behrendorff. The final group game at Old Trafford, despite ending in defeat, showed the famous never-say-die spirit of the Aussies with wicket keeper Alex Carey establishing himself as one of the finest lower-order batsmen in the world.
Australia's road to World Cup 2019 semi-finals
|Afghanistan||Bristol||Won by 8 wickets|
|West Indies||Nottingham||Won by 15 runs|
|India||The Oval, London||Lost by 36 runs|
|Pakistan||Taunton||Won by 41 runs|
|Sri Lanka||The Oval, London||Won by 87 runs|
|Bangladesh||Nottingham||Won by 48 runs|
|England||Lord's, London||Won by 86 runs|
|New Zealand||Lord's, London||Won by 86 runs|
|South Africa||Manchester||Lost by 10 runs|
- Australia’s openers have been brilliant barring a rare failure against South Africa. Coming into the tournament, their middle-order was a bit of a concern but Warner and Finch made merry and were competing against each other in the run-scoring charts. If England have Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, be warned, Australia also have well-oiled run machines in their ranks.
- Mitchell Starc....well, cometh the big tournaments, cometh Starc. It is incredible how the left-armer delivers for Australia with such jaw-dropping consistency. Starc practically started Australia’s comeback in the tournament. He had a rare bad outing against India but performed like a man on a mission since then. He has 26 victims to his name at the moment.
- Australia have been excellent when it comes to defending totals. Their only two defeats – against India and South Africa – came when they were chasing. If Australia win the toss and elect to bat, England will have to be at their absolute best. Especially at Edgbaston, where toss has played such a crucial role in a team winning.
- Injuries...they have been Australia’s Achilles Heel even before the tournament. Jhye Richardson, who was bowling like a dream, was ruled out. Shaun Marsh was ruled out. Now, Usman Khawaja has followed suit. As if this was not enough, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell and Starc are also struggling. Will this affect Australia’s chances?
- The middle-order has been good but have been vulnerable in certain games. They collapsed against West Indies, Pakistan, England and New Zealand and needed a lower-order fight to bail them out of trouble. With Khawaja out, will England expose Australia’s soft core?
- There is a speculation that the Edgbaston wicket might be a high-scoring one. If so, can the bowlers alter their lengths accordingly? For all their brilliance on wickets that offered a little bit of movement, Starc and Co were taken to the cleaners by India, Bangladesh and South Africa.