Formidable India in NZ's path to second straight final

Six of the World Cup´s 10 teams are heading back home after missing out on the semi-finals following the conclusion of the group stage on Saturday. NZ were unbeaten in their first six matches but after finishing the group stage with losses to Pakistan, Australia and England, it was only their net run rate that earned them a semi-final berth.

To bring an exciting end to the league games, South Africa defeated Australia by 10 runs at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester. Australia finished second in the group behind India while England finished in third place. More than 50 per cent of tickets for the Birmingham clash were snapped up well in advance by India fans, but yesterday those supporters were trying to offload the Edgbaston tickets with Virat Kohli's men now due to play New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Williamson opened the batting that day and scored a patient 37 off 80 balls, a score only bettered for New Zealand by Corey Anderson's 70. "Hopefully you'll see what Kiwis are made of out there as well, that "no-die" attitude and I guess stand up when we need to".

He has averaged 68.20 runs with one century and three 50s for England in their run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Australia have been irritatingly efficient at this tournament, riding their luck against the West Indies and Pakistan and gradually improving over the weeks, before producing arguably the most proficient display of any side when they thumped England at Lord's.

He said: "Playing well against England a couple of weeks ago obviously will give us some confidence going into that game".

When a match is interrupted by inclement weather, and one or both teams do not get their full quota of overs, an outcome has to be reached in the time available after resumption of play. That's why I've said all along, I think England is the team to beat at the World Cup.

Chasing 326 to win, Australia lost captain Aaron Finch early on as he was caught by Markram at short cover off the bowling of Imran Tahir for three runs. But up against quality opposition, they stumbled to three defeats in their final three league games. Mitchell Starc is having yet another dream World Cup.

Australia's all-rounders have underperformed with the ball, meaning they haven't quite added up as a bowling unit yet at this World Cup. You can't always choose your opponent and will have to be ready for any team in the semi-final. The task though will not be easy as Australia have been brilliant throughout the World Cup despite slipping up against South Africa in their last round robin match. If the game does happen to be washed out - across two days - India would advance as the higher qualifier.

  • Julie Sanders