Australia, India pursuit top league spot in World Cup

Australia and India will be aiming to achieve top of the World Cup league phase and so avoid meeting hosts England in the semi-finals as they plan for the final day of round-robin matches.

Defending champions Australia, two-time winners India and England have already reserved their place in the final four ahead of Saturday’s games.

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New Zealand is almost assured to take the fourth spot, barring a freakishly big win for Pakistan in their final group game versus Bangladesh on Friday.

Leaders Australia has 14 points after seven wins and one defeat, one point ahead of India, who have six victories plus one no result and a defeat. England has 12 points after six victories and three losses, one point ahead of New Zealand.

In order to leapfrog Australia, Virat Kohli’s India require to beat Sri Lanka at Headingley but also need help from South Africa, who face Aaron Finch’s side later on the same day at Old Trafford.


The top-ranked team will face the side that concludes fourth, likely New Zealand, who have lost three straight matches.

England is confirmed to finish third and will coincide the side that finishes second at Edgbaston on July 11. The first semi-final is on July 9 at Old Trafford and pitches first against fourth.

England captain Eoin Morgan has voiced his liking for Edgbaston as a venue after his side, eyeing their maiden World Cup triumph, beat India by 31 runs in a league game on Sunday.

The host nation, who started the tournament as favorites, lost their way with consecutive defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia but hit back strongly to beat India and New Zealand, rediscovering the zest that made them the world’s most-feared one-day international side.

Former England Test captain Michael Vaughan said he could not see Australia slipping up.

“The team that you’d like to face is New Zealand and that’s why I can’t see how Australia slip up on Saturday,” he told the BBC.

“There are two reasons why I don’t think that will happen. Australia is playing at Old Trafford against South Africa. They know that if they finish top they play New Zealand again there on Tuesday and as a team, they can settle in Manchester, they can get their kit in the dressing room and they’re potentially going to have two games on the same pitch in the space of four or five days. ”

“South Africa has been poor and you’d expect Australia to win that game and play New Zealand in the semi-final,” he added.

“You never know, it might be an Australia versus England final. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

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