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Champions Trophy: Desperate Australia seeks victory against England to seal semi-final berth

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 June 2017, 10:22 IST

Australia will desperately hope to play a full game under clear skies when they face arch-rivals England in their must-win Champions Trophy clash Birmingham on 10 June.

The first two games of Australia against Bangladesh and New Zealand were washed out leaving the Kangaroos with only two points in their bag.

While England are already through to the semifinals, all the pressure will be on Australia to deliver A-class performance to carve their way to final four.

After sharing points with both their previous opponents, the Australians now face a bizarre situation where they could be out of the tournament without playing a full game.

Notably, Bangladesh kept their semi-final hopes alive after registering a thumping five-minute victory against New Zealand. While Kiwis have been knocked out of the tournament, both Australia and Bangladesh hold a chance to make the cut.

If England wins the match against Australia, the Bangla tigers will cruise to the final four.

Rain threat over the crucial contest looms large as all three games here at Edgbaston have been affected by the weather, one being Australia-New Zealand washout while games between India and Pakistan, and South Africa and Pakistan, had to be curtailed.

Even if the skies are clear, Australia face a daunting task against title favourites England, who have breezed into the semifinals with emphatic wins over Bangladesh and New Zealand.

The batsmen from Down Under did not get much time at the crease in the rain hit matches and now have to deal with a well-balanced English bowling attack.

The top-order -- comprising David Warner, Aaron Finch and Steven Smith -- has still spent some time in the middle but the middler-order is severely short on match practice.

However, Australia would be taking positives out of their bowling performance in their last game in which they bowled out Bangladesh for 182 before rain denied them a probable victory.

Australia will have to find a way to contain the in-form England batting which crossed 300 in both their previous games.

Meanwhile, Group B matches have turned into virtual quarterfinals following India's embarrassing defeat at the hand of Sri-Lanka. The Islanders comfortanly chased down the mammoth target of 321 runs to keep their hopes breathing.

India will take on number one ICC team South-Africa in a do-or-die match on Sunday while Sri-Lanka will present their challenge against Pakistan. The winners of the both the matches will get a push to semi-final.


- - With PTI inputs

First published: 10 June 2017, 10:22 IST