Australia captain Aaron Finch
Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and decided to bat against England in their World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Reigning champions Australia made one change after a surprise 10-run defeat by South Africa at Old Trafford, with the recently called-up Peter Handscomb replacing injured batsman Usman Khawaja.
England, whose ability to chase under pressure was called into question by group-stage losses to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, were unchanged from the side that routed New Zealand by 119 runs in their final group match at Chester-le-Street on July 3.
“We’re going to bat,” said Finch. “It looks like a good wicket and won’t change too much so hopefully we can put a big score on the board.”
England captain Eoin Morgan said he would have made the same decision.
“We would have batted, the trend in the tournament is to bat first,” he said. “We are not really bothered – before the World Cup we preferred to chase. Whoever plays the best cricket will go through.
“We have had highs and lows in the tournament but in the past two games (wins over India and New Zealand) we have gone from strength to strength.”
England, who have never won the World Cup, are bidding to reach the final for the first time since 1992.
They have risen to the top of the one-day international rankings since a woeful first-round exit at the 2015 edition.
Five-times champions Australia have never lost any of their seven previous World Cup semi-finals, although they did tie with South Africa at Edgbaston 20 years ago before advancing to the final thanks to their superior net run-rate from the preceding ‘Super Six’ stage.
England had won 10 out of 11 ODIs against Australia prior to the World Cup but that counted for nothing when Australia landed a psychological blow in the group stage, beating their Ashes rivals England by 64 runs at Lord’s last month.
England though were then without Liam Plunkett, now back in their team, and the fast bowler has yet to feature in a defeat at this World Cup.
Australia have not won a match in any format at Edgbaston since the 2001 Ashes Test.
The winners of the match will face New Zealand in Sunday’s final at Lord’s following the Black Caps’ upset 18-run win over India at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
England: Eoin Morgan (capt), Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wkt), Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Australia: Aaron Finch (capt), David Warner, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wkt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Marais Erasmus (RSA)
TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)