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08th-Jul-2019

Australia face 'blockbuster' England semi-final after losing to South Africa

By

AFP, Manchester
Australia will play England in a "blockbuster" World Cup semi-final after the holders suffered a dramatic 10-run defeat against South Africa at Old Trafford on Saturday.
David Warner marked his first match against South Africa since a 12-month ball-tampering ban with his third hundred of the World Cup, but it was not enough to prevent Australia suffering their second loss of the 10-team group stage.
Defeat on the penultimate ball meant Australia, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, failed to clinch top spot as India leapfrogged them to take pole position after beating Sri Lanka earlier on Saturday.
"It is a little frustrating. Davey Warner made a magnificent hundred and Alex Carey played a brilliant knock to get us close, but it was not quite good enough," Australia captain Aaron Finch said.
Had Australia won, they would have faced fourth-placed New Zealand in the first semi-final at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
But instead they will play resurgent hosts England in the second semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday.
"It's going to be a blockbuster. It doesn't get much bigger than Australia v England in the World Cup semi-finals," said Finch, whose side beat England by 64 runs in the group stage.
Finch revealed batsman Usman Khawaja, who retired hurt before returning late in the match, could be ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
"It doesn't look ideal for Usman. He will have a scan in the morning," Finch said.
"The whole Australia A team is here if they need to be replaced. I imagine Usman will."
Warner (122) and Alex Carey (85) got Australia to within sight of a stiff target of 326 during a fifth-wicket partnership of 108.
But neither could see their side home to victory after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis made 100 and Rassie van der Dussen a career-best 95 in a total of 325-6.
"What a game. It is always a pleasure to play Australia and it was a nice close game. We wanted to go home with at least a small smile," Du Plessis said.