Australia captain Aaron Finch excited for ‘blockbuster’ England semi-final
Australia lost to South Africa at Old Trafford.
Captain Aaron Finch is relishing Australia’s World Cup semi-final showdown against England, saying: “It doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
A 10-run defeat to South Africa at Old Trafford robbed Australia of the opportunity to top the group and a second-place finish has set up a mouthwatering clash against the tournament hosts at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Their meeting earlier in the tournament at Lord’s saw Australia prevail but England have since rebounded by beating India and New Zealand and Finch knows his side must regroup quickly.
“It’s going to be a blockbuster,” Finch said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than that, Australia v England in the World Cup semi-finals.
“Playing well at Lord’s a couple of weeks ago obviously will give us some confidence going into that game.
“There’s been a lot of build-up to the World Cup and especially getting to the pointy end, England have been in really good form recently so we are going to have to be at our absolute best to win that.
“But it’s going to be exciting. Any time Australia plays England, it’s exciting. But any time you are at Birmingham as well. It’s a fun crowd to play in front of, there is always plenty of support there for both sides.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere and spectacle.”
Australia recovered from 119 for four to close to within two sixes of overhauling the homeward-bound Proteas’ 325 for six, largely thanks to David Warner’s 122 and Alex Carey’s 85 from 69 balls.
But their loss was compounded by a problem to Usman Khawaja’s left hamstring while Marcus Stoinis has aggravated a side injury which caused him to miss two games earlier in the tournament.
Finch said: “Usman is not looking great in all honesty. He has done a couple of hammies before and it feels a bit similar to that.
“So in terms of replacements, we haven’t had time to sit down and talk about that yet.
“Marcus is just a bit sore in his side, we will have to wait for scans (on Sunday). It’s tough to talk about replacements when you haven’t got the full story. We will get that (on Sunday).”
Khawaja retired hurt in the fifth over before returning towards the climax but Finch does not think the left-hander worsened the issue by returning to the crease in an ultimately fruitless pursuit.
Finch, who said there was “no issue” over rumours pace spearhead Mitchell Starc was struggling with an injury, added: “He didn’t aggravate it anymore when he got out there.
“He wanted to go out, especially when we got as close as what we did. He has well and truly put the team first there. It’s a great quality to have and something we pride ourselves on, each and every player.
“To get into position to win it, he was more than happy to go out there.”
South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis has tipped Australia and India – who will take on New Zealand in the other semi-final – to reach the showcase at Lord’s on July 14.
He said: “Australia and India have proven time and time again that they are teams that win big games. It’s hard to look past Australia and the success that they’ve had in winning World Cups.
“The confidence that an Australian team comes into a World Cup with, with five times they’ve lifted the trophy, that confidence is just like having an extra player on your team.
“Australia have got a tough game in the semi-final, they would probably prefer playing against New Zealand, but I would say one of Australia or India.”