Australia opt to bat against England in 2nd semi-final

Whichever team makes it through to the final will face New Zealand, who beat India by 18 runs at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

"For me, being involved in England squads of the past, I never expected to win a World Cup", Plunkett said. And while Plunkett has great respect for an Australian side he refers to as "a great team" filled with "great players", he feels the current England side offer far sterner opposition from previous World Cup campaigns. Handscomb will bat at No. 4, meaning Steve Smith goes up the order to No. 3.

New Zealand's cricketers have now emulated the All Blacks, their country's all-conquering rugby union side, by reaching successive World Cup finals. However, in the pre-match press conference, England captain Eoin Morgan shared they are more confident now.

The hosts have gone to lengths to avoid a repeat on Thursday.

Barbados-born Archer struck with his first ball, trapping Finch lbw for a duck and Woakes had Warner caught in the slips for just nine.

Since then, Warner has returned to worldwide cricket in triumph following a ball-tampering incident that saw him banned for 12 months. "Just one change, Peter Handscomb will come in for Usman Khawaja", said Finch after winning the toss.

Although Australia won the first meeting in this tournament, recent history is very much in England's favour including a 5-0 whitewash last summer.

"So we were in two minds as to whether the wicket was going to be good, because obviously it rained yesterday, but was under covers".

The ground has more recently hosted two high-scoring encounters, England's win over India in which both teams topped 300 runs, as well as India's success against Bangladesh in which the teams combined to make exactly 600 runs.

Australia, on the other hand, always deal with pressure remarkably well and not for nothing, are defending champions.

Williamson is confident despite an 86-run defeat by Australia - the team that beat New Zealand in the final four years ago - and a 119-run loss to England in the initial 10-team group stage.

The England legend made the bold claim after India were knocked out of the competition by New Zealand earlier today.

Although Australia were top of the group for most of the round-robin phase, they lost to South Africa on Saturday.

"It's a World Cup but you've got to enjoy it and deal with it as quickly as you can".

"I think Australia pumped us in 2015 in the final", the pace bowler said, sporting a wide grin, "so it would be nice to (play them) again".

"It will come down to whoever holds their nerve and whoever holds their half-chances".

  • Julie Sanders


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