Australia v England: All you need to know

Ben Stokes England South Africa World Cup PA

This article was produced in association with Paddy Power as part of our coverage during the Cricket World Cup 2019. Paddy Power are offering a risk-free £10 bet for new customers during the tournament.

What is it?
It’s a World Cup semi-final. Exciting, isn’t it? Yes. Yes it is. It’s also not the semi-final that many – not least a great many Indian ticket-holders – expected. But Australia’s failure to beat South Africa condemned them to second place and a semi-final against England rather than New Zealand. The winners will face either India or New Zealand in Sunday’s final.

When is it?
Thursday July 11, starting at 1030 BST. Worth noting that the three knockout games, unlike the 45(!) group games that have preceded them, will have a reserve day available to allow a result to be reached. If even after two days no result is possible, then the league table will hold sway. Which means in this case it would be Australia who progress.

Where is it?
Edgbaston, a ground famous for giving Australians a lovely friendly welcome. David Warner and Steve Smith can expect plenty of attention. The Aussies avoided a trip to Birmingham in the group stage, and may come to regret missing the straightforward opportunity to do so in the semis. A win over South Africa at Old Trafford would have seen them remain in Manchester to face the Kiwis. Now it’s off to what is anecdotally England’s favourite ground, a venue where they have already defeated India in this tournament. This is also not the first time Australia have found themselves at Edgbaston for a World Cup semi-final. The last time was pretty memorable. You can get more details on the ground – and that game – here.

Where can I watch it?
It’s on Sky Sports Main Event (ch 401) and Sky Sports Cricket (ch 404) in the UK. Or you can follow it ball-by-ball with our live scorecard and our live blog.

What are the odds?
The odds give a clue as to how significant Australia’s misstep against South Africa could prove to be.They would have been pretty warm favourites to see off a fading New Zealand at Old Trafford but now find themselves 11/10 outsiders against the hosts, who are 8/11 to reach a first men’s Cricket World Cup final since 1992.

Australia at the 2019 World Cup

June 1: Australia (209/3, 34.5/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (207, 38.2/50 overs) by seven wickets
June 6: Australia (288, 49/50 overs) beat West Indies (273/9, 50/50 overs) by 15 runs
June 9: India (352/5, 50/50 overs) beat Australia (316, 50/50 overs) by 36 runs
June 12: Australia (307, 49/50 overs) beat Pakistan (266, 45.4/50 overs) by 41 runs
June 15: Australia (334/7, 50/50 overs) beat Sri Lanka (247, 45.5/50 overs) by 87 runs
June 20: Australia (381/5, 50/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (333/8, 50/50 overs) by 48 runs
June 25: Australia (285/7, 50/50 overs) beat England (221, 44.4/50 overs) by 64 runs
June 29: Australia (243/9, 50/50 overs) beat New Zealand (157, 43.4/50 overs) by 86 runs
July 6: South Africa (325/6, 50/50 overs) beat Australia (315, 49.5/50 overs) by 10 runs

England at the 2019 World Cup

May 30: England (311/8, 50/50 overs) beat South Africa (207, 39.5/50 overs) by 104 runs
June 3: Pakistan (348/8, 50/50 overs) beat England (334/9, 50/50 overs) by 14 runs
June 8: England (386/6, 50/50 overs) beat Bangladesh (280, 48.5/50 overs) by 106 runs
June 14: England (213/2, 33.1/50 overs) beat West Indies (212, 44.4/50 overs) by eight wickets
June 18: England (397/6, 50/50 overs) beat Afghanistan (247/8, 50/50 overs) by 150 runs
June 21: Sri Lanka (232/9, 50/50 overs) beat England (212, 47/50 overs) by 20 runs
June 25: Australia (285/7, 50/50 overs) beat England (221, 44.4/50 overs) by 64 runs
June 30: England (337/7 (50/50 overs) beat India (306/5, 50/50 overs) by 31 runs
July 3: England (305/8, 50/50 overs) beat New Zealand (186, 45/50 overs) by 119 runs

Australia v England – Previous Meeting
While England are solid favourites for the semi-final, they were bullied in the group game by Australia’s bowlers after failing to take advantage of winning a crucial toss on a classic bowl-first morning at HQ. Australia’s openers rode the new-ball storm, and a total of 285/7, while significantly less than appeared likely when Aaron Finch and David Warner were going well, proved well beyond England. The top order was blown away, and only Ben Stokes offered serious resistance.

Australia also prevailed in a warm-up clash between the two old rivals before the tournament. England did won 10 of the 11 ODI meetings between the two before this tournament, though, and away from Lord’s – a ground that doesn’t suit their attack-or-bust game, should still feel confident.

Australia v England – Team News
England will almost certainly be unchanged. Having correctly if belatedly acknowledged the importance of Liam Plunkett they will likely stick with the team that saw off India and New Zealand at the end of the group stage. That’s the easy bit; Australia will not be unchanged.

Usman Khawaja Australia

Australia could in fact look wildly different to the side we’ve seen through the group stage. Usman Khawaja is out of the tournament – his campaign finishing with one of the great dismissals – and will be replaced in the team by Peter Handscomb. Who should probably have been in the squad from the start but was added to it last week when Shaun Marsh was ruled out with a broken arm.

Matthew Wade, who has been smashing low-quality county attacks to all parts of provincial England on the Australia A tour, comes into the squad as Khawaja’s replacement and could possibly replace Glenn Maxwell in the XI, which would be a huge call. Maxwell has scored runs at a great pace but not in sufficient numbers, and his bowling has not been required much since Nathan Lyon came into the side.

Finally, Marcus Stoinis appears to be winning his fitness battle and should retain his place. Mitchell Marsh is with the squad but still not officially a part of it. Australia could also consider moving keeper-batsman Alex Carey, who is having a fine tournament, further up the order. Got all that? Good, because we’re not sure we have.

Australia v England betting preview in association with Paddy Power
England may well feel that as they pretty much had to beat Australia somewhere to win the World Cup, better to try it at Edgbaston in the semi-final than back at Lord’s in the final. That same argument also applies to India, but the difference feels more pronounced with Australia.

England, having recovered their mojo, would be worthy if narrow favourites against India at any home venue. Against Australia, though, the shift from Lord’s to Edgbaston feels enough to flip things more clearly in England’s favour.

That’s not to say they face an easy task, merely an easier one. Australia, we should not forget, have never lost a men’s World Cup semi-final, and the one they so memorably tied in 1999 was good enough to get them to the final.

You also have to go back to 1992 for the last time England beat Australia at the World Cup, and as mentioned above, Australia have won the last two meetings (one official, one not) between the sides.

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The omens ancient and recent are not particularly good.

Yet, pretty miraculously given the decisive way Australia dispatched England a fortnight ago, it is the hosts who hit this game in the better spirits. Australia’s batting misfired against New Zealand, and perhaps more significantly their bowling did so against South Africa.

England meanwhile have overpowered India and New Zealand in the two closing group games to confirm their semi-final spot and ensure they hit the knockouts in good heart.

England have had a pretty serious wobble but have recovered and recovered well. They are a better 50-over team than Australia. Yet the weight of all the history plus the huge and growing significance of batting first as this tournament has worn on means we can’t be getting too excited about 8/11 chances. It looks a fine price if the coin once again falls Eoin Morgan’s way on Thursday, as it did so crucially against both India and New Zealand.

We’ll almost certainly add more bets here before Thursday but for now we’ll return to a strategy that has brought success before in this tournament: back Ben Stokes against tough bowling attacks.

England’s resurgence against India and New Zealand – plus the return of Jason Roy, which should not be discounted – has seen Stokes drift back out to 8/1 in the top England run-scorer market. It’s surely too big. He top-scored against both Sri Lanka and Australia as the batting collectively failed, and also did so amid a pretty serious wobble right back in the tournament opener against South Africa.

Even if three top-scoring efforts in nine at this tournament is an inflated strike-rate for Stokes – we certainly aren’t arguing his true price is in fact 2/1 – it does suggest that 8/1 is generous.

Best Bets

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Key Men

Aaron Finch 100 Australia Sri Lanka World Cup PA

All Four Openers
Obvious, but no less correct for that. Warner and Finch have been clearly the dominant opening partnership of the tournament, both men clearing 500 runs and sharing a series of crucial partnerships. None were more significant than the century stand they made against England at Lord’s on a morning where the odds were stacked massively in favour of the bowlers, as the rest of Australia’s innings and all of England’s demonstrated. That partnership won the game, and in the games where Finch and Warner have failed – against West Indies and New Zealand – Australia have found themselves in really deep trouble before lower-order recoveries. They are crucial to Australia’s batting.

For England, all their worries and strife have disappeared since Jason Roy has returned to join Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order. There is an uncomplicated swagger to Roy’s batting that seems to send confidence flowing through the rest of the team, not least Bairstow himself. The two must-win games against India and New Zealand were both defined by the opening stands, with a pair of swashbuckling 60s from Roy and back-to-back hundreds for Bairstow after a tough start to the tournament setting England on the way to victory.

Whichever pair gets first go at Edgbaston will be looking for another match-defining partnership.

Mitchell Starc (Australia)
This England team are very much at their best when they play fearless cricket. Mitchell Starc gives them The Fear. Both these things are doubly true for England’s captain. Ergo, Starc is key. Oh, he’s also taken 26 wickets, six more than anyone else in the tournament.

2019 Cricket World Cup Australia England