CWC19: Second semi-final Australia vs England – What Did We Learn?

What did Adrian Meredith learn from England’s massive Semi Final victory over Australia?

I am in shock. Not at who won, as England were favourites, and were a definite chance to win. I’m in shock at the margin. How dare they defeat us with 17.5 overs to spare, in a semi-final no less, after we beat them twice in this World Cup. Sure, we had some injuries and were forced to bring in a guy from nowhere, and we probably picked the wrong one (it should have been Wade, not Handscomb), but that’s not why we lost. With that kind of margin, we were never going to win. We didn’t lose in any particular moment. Smith and Carey fought back hard. Carey even caught his own helmet after it was knocked off. We just lost everywhere, as England played to their peak and we didn’t. Perhaps the loss to South Africa did ruin our momentum. Even the blunder of not giving Woakes his 10th over didn’t seem to matter. Had England batted first they might have beaten us by 200 runs.

Good luck New Zealand in the final, is all I can say. But perhaps being underdogs is good for New Zealand. I’m a bit shellshocked at that. At least I picked it, though I wasn’t expecting this kind of margin. It’s not like Australia didn’t fight either. It was just losing to a better side. Even with Smith and Warner in there, even while playing quite well, we were nowhere near good enough.

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Five Things We Learned:

(1) England are the number One side for a reason

Some people underestimated England but boy did they look good. They’ve looked good ever since everyone wrote them off before their match against India, ever since Jason Roy came back into the team. Whether it was Roy or just the fact that they were out of lifelines, or just the momentum of getting that first win, whatever the case they sure looked good out there.

(2) New Zealand are in big trouble

It’s not the final we were expecting. Most people thought it’d be England vs India. Australia were the 3rd favourites, and were given a chance, and silly people like me picked South Africa to get in there, after breaking their choking tag in the last World Cup, but not many picked New Zealand to make the final, especially after their run of three losses in a row. Even in spite of beating India they don’t look close to as good as England.

The odds of New Zealand winning are probably similar to the chances for India to win the 1983 World Cup final against West Indies, and, as we all know, India won that one against the odds. Not since 1983 has a World Cup final looked this predictable. Even Australia against Sri Lanka in 2007 had Sri Lanka with some chance. It’d take a miracle.

(3) We will have a new World Cup champion

Neither England nor New Zealand have won a World Cup before. This will be England’s fourth final and New Zealand’s second. New Zealand, though, have lost six semi-finals as well, while England have only lost two, and hence New Zealand have more semi-final appearances with eight compared to England’s six.

They both consider themselves to be chokers, England for their inability to win a World Cup final, and New Zealand for their inability to win a World Cup semi-final. Whoever wins, the choker tag will leave them, but for the loser, especially if it is England, that choker tag will well and truly stay.

Considering that five-time champions Australia and two-time champions India were the losing semi-finalists, this was pretty good for cricket. New Zealand have the third highest World Cup winning percentage at 62.06%, while England are only the fifth highest with 59.87%.

(4) England’s bowlers are scary

Woakes wasn’t even on the radar yet he terrorised Australia, while Jofra Archer was just insanely good. Mark Wood had an off day but it didn’t really matter. Adil Rashid came from nowhere to take three wickets too, in spite of being seemingly out of form. If not for the incredible fightback from Smith and Carey, the margin would have been much larger.

(5) England’s batsmen are scary

They were scary all tournament long, bar a couple of matches, and they’ve come back to terrorise. Australia struggled along at just over four per over but England managed seven and it didn’t even look difficult for them. This was an annihilation and they made Australia look second-rate.

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