Kohli blows up but England deliver pitch-perfect result for Australia
London: Australia can secure a semi-final in Manchester and avoid an unnecessary bus trip to Birmingham by completing their World Cup pool matches with victory over South Africa on Saturday.
England's 31-run victory over India on Monday on a flat Edgbaston pitch and a short boundary that suited their power hitters has provided the tournament with the shot of adrenalin it needed and means Australia, on 14 points, are three points clear at the top of the table, heading into an intriguing final week of group matches.
India and New Zealand are equal second with 11 points, while England are fourth on 10.
India, however, have two pool matches remaining, against Bangladesh on Tuesday at Birmingham and against Sri Lanka in the early game on Saturday at Headingley.
India will need to win both games and Australia, with a 7-1 record, lose their day-night clash to the struggling Proteas at Old Trafford to grab top spot.
The Australians are already determined to maintain momentum after wins over England and the Black Caps at Lord's, but their motivation to topple the Proteas – should India win both games – will be higher because victory will mean they will not need to hop on the bus and make the two-hour trip south to the West Midlands city of Birmingham where the second semi-final will be held on Thursday week.
The first semi-final will be held on Tuesday week, giving the winner more time to prepare for the final at Lord's on the following Sunday.
The Australians have not played at Edgbaston through the tournament – another reason why they would be more comfortable playing a second game at Old Trafford.
The Australians will be able to keep an eye on India during their clash against the Proteas, as the matches overlap during the second innings of the earlier game.
England and the Black Caps will clash in their final pool-group game on Wednesday. Should England lose, Pakistan (nine points) could still finish in fourth spot if they beat Bangladesh on Friday at Lord's. India could, in theory, lose both matches, while the Black Caps could lose to England. However, each of those nations has a far superior run rate than Pakistan.
Jonny Bairstow, days after his public spat with former captain Michael Vaughan, was the hero of England's must-win clash on Monday.
Having had an indifferent campaign, the Yorkshireman thumped 111 off 109 balls, including 10 boundaries and a six, to guide England to 7-337 after 50 overs. Jason Roy returned from a hamstring strain to add 66 off 57 balls, including two sixes, while Ben Stokes become only the fourth man to score 75 or more four times in a World Cup with a crisp 79 off 54 balls.
In reply, India made 5-306, a century to Rohit Sharma (102 off 109 balls) and skipper Virat Kohli's 66 off 76 balls not enough to prevent their side from falling to their first loss of the tournament.
England thumped 13 sixes to one, prompting KohlRead More – Source