Friday, 02 Oct 2009
|Australia Vs England|
Venue :1st Semi Final Match, SuperSport Park, Centurion (D/N)
Australia will face England in the first semi-finals of the Champions Trophy at Centurion. In what will be a repeat of the seven game series leading up to the start of the tournament, the two sides will be meeting each other, in a more important game than the rest, as the winners will get a chance to play the winners of the Pakistan-New Zealand game next day.
The Aussies have had a reasonable tournament so far. In fact, apart from a stutter in the game against the lowly West Indies, they look like they are reasonably well-oiled and disciplined enough. It was a pleasant surprise to find Brett Lee bowl the manner in which he did against Pakistan, because he is usually a costly bowler and leaks many a runs. His bowling would augur well for the Aussies in the semi-finals, against an opposition which hasn't had the best of experiences playing him.
However, it will be the batting that would be looked up to get the necessary runs on the board. So far, the batting has not been tested under pressure in the competition; they batted first against India and West Indies, whereas against Pakistan they were chasing a very low total for a win. England will look to put the side under pressure by batting first and piling on the runs and then having them chase the target.
The English batting will heavily rely on two of their middle-order men, Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan. Collingwood hadn't had an extended run in the ODI series against Australia, while Morgan was still getting his eye in international cricket, but in this series, they have looked good and should take on the challenge head-on. And if Andrew Strauss or Joe Denly does come good, then life would be much easier for the middle order.
It will remain to be seen how the pitch behaves because that may dictate the strategy that the English side uses for their bowlers. If there is a decent chance of the tracks assisting the spin bowlers, and playing slower and lower as the day progresses, then the chances of having an additional spinner in the form of Adil Rashid are very high. Else, Graham Onions will prop the bowling up behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with Collingwood filling in a few overs as well.All said and done, the match will be won by the side which will hold its nerves, and with the Aussies having won the preceding series, they will carry a huge advantage while playing against the English side.