We find out who New Zealand will take on at Lord’s in the Cricket World Cup final on Thursday when the hosts England meet the team who topped the league phase right up until the death in Australia in an early Ashes showdown at Edgbaston.
England have effectively been playing knockout cricket for a couple of weeks while Australia have largely been on easy street in the tournament but things get very real now. There are no second chances now. Win and you go to Lord’s on Sunday. Lose and the tournament is a write off.
This is England’s fortress. They have won their last 10 matches here in all formats while Australia haven’t won a match of any kind here since 2001. It was however the scene of their finest day when they tied with South Africa in the semi-final here 20 years ago to make the final.
Kev and Steve are back to preview this mouth-watering second semi-final between Australia and England at Edgbaston. Hear the pair reflect on the first semi-final, preview the second one and provide their best bets for the match. Click play on the video below to listen.
After England were well beaten by Australia at Lord’s a couple of weeks ago there weren’t many expecting them to still be around for this knockout phase of the tournament. To their eternal credit they got themselves together and beat both India and New Zealand in comfortable and convincing fashion to not only book their spot in this semi-final, but to go into it with a great deal of confidence. We saw on Tuesday and Wednesday though that confidence and what went before means nothing.
The return of Jason Roy has been a massive help for England in their last two outings, as has winning the toss and getting runs on the board. You worry for their chances if they are forced to chase here it has to be said but their bowling has been going very well all tournament. If the English openers can get on top of the bowling early this could be a magical day for the hosts. If they don’t the memories of Pakistan at Cardiff two years ago could come back all too quickly.
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Australia looked to be heading serenely for top spot in the competition but a poor and costly slip up against South Africa on Saturday has condemned them to a match I’m sure they would rather not have here. That being said you find me an Australian who isn’t cocky and confident and I’ll show you someone who isn’t truly Australian. They would have every right to be confident too because they are having a fine tournament regardless of that blip.
What has been all the more surprising has been that they have been able to keep their form so strong despite the crazy amount of injuries they have had. Those will blight them in this semi-final too but you wouldn’t bet against them carrying on regardless. Australia have the best new ball attack in the competition and if they deliver the goods and get shot of the England openers early doors the game will be wide open for them to take from there on in.
England are expected to be unchanged for this semi-final. They have had eight days since their last match to get everyone through any niggles and things and come out fighting. That means no place for Moeen Ali again.
Australia will be forced into one change and it has been confirmed that Peter Handscomb will replace Usman Khawaja. Marcus Stoinis has been passed fit but there are murmurs that Glenn Maxwell will be replaced by Matthew Wade which would be a huge call to make.
I’ll go with a quartet of bets here with the first being on under 582.5 runs. This is just too high. The scores in the last two matches here were inflated somewhat by a short boundary and a weak bowling performance from the losing side. I think the scores will reflect the matches New Zealand played here against South Africa and Pakistan where 250 looked like hard work. Even if it is a good pitch we shouldn’t forget the pressure of the situation. This is a semi-final and we’ve just seen a strong minded Indian side crumble under the pressure so there is every chance these two will too. Both bowling attacks keep coming at you and both sides are guilty of not finishing innings off recently. This feels like a much more competitive match than a typical run fest.
Aaron Finch is going to be a key man for Australia here and I’m amazed his run line is as low as 31.5 runs here. He has a phenomenal record against England. He averages 52.20 courtesy of making four centuries in his last nine ODI innings against Eoin Morgan’s men. He has seen tons and four 50s against them in 25 innings in all. In this tournament he made 153 against Sri Lanka and a ton against England as well as three other 50s. He was out early on Saturday but that was to leg spin. He won’t be facing any of that early doors here. Chuck in his world record T20 score against England at Southampton a few years ago and Finch has no problem rising to the occasion against the English. I have to think he covers 31.5 here.
England will need a hero if they are going to come through this semi-final and Chris Woakes could be that man. He is on his home ground here which feels like it could be significant. He has already taken 2/58 against India here and earlier in the tournament he took 2/46 against Australia so his performance line at 36.5 looks very much on the low side to me. His last four scores against Australia have been 39*, 53*, 78 and 26 and his career best ODI figures of 6/45 came against them earlier in his career. He also has a four wicket haul and a few more two wicket contributions. Throw all his scoring options into the mix and it would be a big surprise if his total at the end doesn’t exceed 36.5.
Finally I can’t ignore the 14/1 on Alex Carey top scoring for Australia in this match. Admittedly we will need the openers to get out with the top score still in reach but Carey is in great form this tournament. His scores have been DNB, 45, 55*, 20, 4, 11*, 38* (against England), 71 and 85 and he’s getting better all the time. There is talk that he will be elevated to bat at five here and he should be given the form he is in. His scores against England are modest at 27, 6, 44 and 38 but there’s three starts there. If he gets in again and builds on it this price will soon look quick, especially if he walks in at five.
WON – Back Under 582.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway
Back A.Finch – Over 31.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.87 with Betfair
WON – Back C.Woakes’ Performance – Over 36.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back them here:
Back A.Carey Top Australia Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 with William Hill
Back him here: