Rain stopped Australia from chasing down Pakistan's total as the opening Twenty20 match was abandoned at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia were 41-0 from 3.1 overs in the revised 15-over contest after Pakistan set the hosts 119 for victory, when the rain arrived again in Sydney.

Pakistan had reached 107-5 in the weather-affected game – a target readjusted after play was halted for just over an hour mid-match – before the clash was washed out.

Amid the threat of showers, Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and sent Pakistan into bat in the first of three T20s.

Fresh off a 3-0 series sweep of Sri Lanka, Australia got on top early after Mitchell Starc (2-22) – producing a first-ball duck – and Kane Richardson (2-16) struck to leave Pakistan 10-2.

Led by top-ranked T20 batsman and captain Babar Azam – who finished unbeaten on 59 from 38 balls atop the order – Pakistan recovered from their slow start.

Mohammad Rizwan (31) was Pakistan's next best performer before he fell victim to the spin of Ashton Agar (1-23), with Asif Ali (11) the only other batsman in double-figures.

Desperate for a result against the touring nation, Finch got Australia off to a flying start with an unbeaten 37 runs from 16 deliveries.

Finch hit 26 from one Mohammad Irfan over but rain spoiled the party, with the game just 11 balls shy of the five overs needed to constitute a match.

 

 

 

David Warner marked his return to the international Twenty20 arena with a stunning maiden century as Australia eased past Sri Lanka by 134 runs in their opening game.

Warner was back in the T20 fold for the first time since the infamous ball-tampering saga, in which the star Australia batsman served a year-long suspension.

Having already made his Test and ODI comeback, birthday boy Warner capped his T20 return with an unbeaten hundred in his 71st appearance against touring Sri Lanka in Adelaide on Sunday.

Warner led Australia to a record-breaking victory, surpassing last year's 100-run win over Zimbabwe, and their highest T20 total on home soil – 233-2 – before hapless Sri Lanka only managed 99-9 in response at Adelaide Oval.

After a forgettable Ashes series in England which only yielded 95 runs across five matches, Warner was desperate to return to form as the Australian summer got underway.

Warner was back to his brilliant best on his 33rd birthday as the big-hitting star scored 100 runs from just 56 balls in game one of the three-match series against Sri Lanka – bringing up his ton from the last delivery of the innings.

The tone was set by Warner and captain Aaron Finch (64) after Sri Lanka opted to bowl first, with the opening pair combining for 122 runs from just 10.5 overs and reaching their half-centuries in the same over.

Finch and Warner smacked consecutive sixes from Kasun Rajitha – who finished with figures of 0-75 from four overs for the most expensive spell in T20 history – before the former was caught at deep midwicket off the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan (1-41).

Glenn Maxwell (62) then joined Warner at the crease as the duo put on 107 runs from just 52 balls, though Maxwell was dismissed by Dasun Shanaka (1-10) in the last over.

Sri Lanka made a nightmare start to their run chase after Kusal Mendis fell victim to Mitchell Starc (2-18) for a duck in the first over, before the visitors were left reeling at 13-3 in the four over as Pat Cummins (2-27) wreaked havoc.

Shanaka was Sri Lanka's highest score with 17 on putrid day for Sri Lanka, with spinner Adam Zampa (3-14) cleaning up the final three wickets, while Maxwell produced a stunning piece of fielding to run out Wanindu Hasaranga (5).

Australia stars Steve Smith and David Warner have returned to the Twenty20 fold for back-to-back three-game series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Smith and Warner have already made Test and ODI comebacks following their year-long ball-tampering bans, however, the duo are back in the T20 setup for the first time since the infamous saga.

Australia named their 14-man squad on Tuesday, with an eye on the ICC T20 World Cup, which the country will host in October next year.

While Smith and Warner headline a squad captained by Aaron Finch, Australia have axed all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and overlooked big-hitting batsmen Chris Lynn and D'Arcy Short for the series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which gets underway in Adelaide on October 27.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will lead Australia's pace attack that also includes Billy Stanlake, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa retains his place as star Nathan Lyon continues to battle an ankle problem following the Ashes.

"It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men's Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind," national selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.

"We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament. The squad we have selected is quite role specific and we believe it gives us the flexibility to thrive in all match conditions."

Hohns added: "In terms of batsmen, we have selected top and middle-order specialists. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Carey provide us excellent options through the middle-order after Finch, Warner and Smith.

"In terms of spinners, we feel like the all-round package Ashton Agar possesses is irresistible at the moment and Adam Zampa has proven to be a very good T20 bowler in all conditions.

"We're also confident in the potency and flexibility of our fast bowling group. Mitchell Starc gives us a left-arm option and has earned a reputation as one of the world's leading quicks at the top of the innings and at the death.

"Pat Cummins is a world-class right-arm option and has been in superb form of late. Andrew Tye is a wicket-taking proposition, Billy Stanlake has the X-factor and Kane Richardson has been an excellent short-form player for some time now."

Australia will face Sri Lanka on October 27, 30 and November 1 before meeting Pakistan on November 3, 5 and 8.

 

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Eoin Morgan lauded England's remarkable ODI revival after his side reached the Cricket World Cup final four years after a humiliating group-stage exit.

An eight-wicket thrashing of Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday underlined England's quality, which is a long way removed from the abysmal displays they produced at the 2015 tournament.

Back then they missed out on the knockout phase after losing to Bangladesh, marking a low point for English cricket in the one-day game.

But on Sunday they will contest a Lord's final with New Zealand, which Morgan could not have foreseen after their miserable outing in Australia and New Zealand last time out.

"If you told me after the last World Cup that we'd reach the final I wouldn't have believed you," the captain told the BBC's Test Match Special.

"It sums up how far we have come in the last four years. Everyone should take a huge amount of credit.

"Today was close to a perfect performance, right from the two bowlers up front. Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer bowled a hell of a spell.

"They put pressure on with early wickets and allowed us to stay on the front foot."

Speaking on the field, Morgan also praised the fans who roared England on to victory, marking their third triumph in a row after consecutive wins over India and the Black Caps pulled the hosts back from the brink of another early exit.

"I would like to thank the fans – we've had unbelievable support and Edgbaston has always been very kind to us," he said.

"Having beaten India in the group stages here we would've come here with similar confidence. The way we have taken momentum from the last two group games into the semi-finals is very important.

"We set the tone early and when we got on top we made Australia pay."

Aaron Finch conceded Australia had been "totally outplayed" by England as the hosts stormed into the Cricket World Cup final on Thursday.

England secured an eight-wicket win at Edgbaston after bowling Australia out for 223, with Jason Roy's explosive 85 doing much of the damage in a chase that was completed in 32.1 overs.

Australia, who won what was considered a potentially pivotal toss, were on the back foot almost immediately and Finch was among the early wickets to fall after failing to score.

"We were totally outplayed," said the captain after Australia's first World Cup semi-final loss. "The way they set the tone with the ball in those first 10 overs was a huge part in the game.

"You expect the new ball to seam a bit on any surface but they bowled a great length, hitting the stumps a lot.

"There are still a lot of positives to take out of the campaign and from the last few months – we've come a long way from where we were last year in ODI cricket in this country.

"You always want to win the trophy but there have been a lot of positives. A lot of hard work has gone in from a lot of people. I'm proud of how the group has progressed but this still hurts.

"We tried to change it up as much as we could but Roy and [Jonny] Bairstow are so dynamic when they are on top. We didn't execute as well as we could and got hurt by a very good England team."

It is the first time Australia have lost to England at a 50-over World Cup since 1992, which is also the last time the latter reached the final. 

Chris Woakes was delighted as England demonstrated their class in an eight-wicket demolition of Australia to reach the Cricket World Cup final.

With figures of 3-20, Woakes' man-of-the-match display epitomised England's dominance of Thursday's clash at Edgbaston, where Australia were bowled out for 223.

Jason Roy (85) starred with the bat as the tournament hosts chased down the target in 32.1 overs, setting up a Lord's showdown with New Zealand on Sunday.

"I'm pretty speechless," said Woakes after England reached the final for the first time since 1992. "It was an incredible performance from the whole team.

"It started with the bowling performance and then the way they [the batsmen] knocked that off was outstanding.

"There were some nerves around this morning but that's natural going into a semi-final. The way we produced the goods just showed how good we are and where we are at as a team.

"It hasn't sunk in that we're in a World Cup final and hopefully we can go all the way.

"We were tipped as favourties so it was important to get to the semi-final in the first place, and then to win this in this fashion against this Australia side on the best ground in the world is amazing."

Jason Roy spearheaded a superb all-round England display in a crushing eight-wicket victory over bitter rivals Australia to set up a Cricket World Cup final with New Zealand. 

England made a sensational start to the Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia by removing Aaron Finch, David Warner and Peter Handscomb inside seven overs.

Finch and Warner had combined for more than 1,100 runs at this tournament but made just nine between them as Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes each picked up a huge early scalp, before the latter also removed Handscomb to leave Australia reeling at 14-3.

Captain Finch won the toss and opted to bat at Edgbaston on Thursday but may have been ruing that decision when he was trapped in front by Archer from the first ball he faced.

To make matters worse, Finch opted to use the DRS and three reds on the ball-tracker meant his side lost their review after just seven deliveries.

Warner crunched two fours off Woakes but he perished for nine in the next over, edging to Jonny Bairstow at slip.

Handscomb, selected due to Usman Khawaja's hamstring injury, survived a review on umpire's call first ball but was soon cleaned up by Woakes as England tore into the top order.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first against England in Thursday's Cricket World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston.

The tournament hosts struggled badly when chasing against Aaron Finch's men during the group-stage defeat at Lord's, while they also showed frailties in failing to overhaul a moderate score in a shock loss to Sri Lanka at Headingley.

England captain Eoin Morgan confirmed his side was unchanged from the one that hammered New Zealand to seal a place in the semis, while Australia's sole alteration sees Peter Handscomb come in for the injured Usman Khawaja, as had been announced by head coach Justin Langer prior to the game.

There had been talk that Matthew Wade - called into the squad as Khawaja's replacement - may be selected ahead of Glenn Maxwell, but the all-rounder retained his place in the XI.

Not since 1992 have England gone this deep at the World Cup, while Australia are aiming to continue their perfect record in semi-finals, having progressed from all seven of their previous matches at this stage of the competition.

The victors will go through to Sunday's final at Lord's to face New Zealand, who sensationally defeated India at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Eoin Morgan has told England's players they are already in dreamland at the Cricket World Cup as he backed them to avoid an Edgbaston nightmare.

New Zealand, through to the Lord's final after upsetting India on Wednesday, await the winners of England's semi-final against Australia, and Morgan believes the hosts are peaking at the right time.

England were on Wednesday putting the finishing touches to preparations for Thursday's Australia clash in Birmingham, needing to step up their standard from the 64-run group-stage defeat to the same opposition.

Australia were clinical at Lord's, where Aaron Finch made a century, Jason Behrendorff took five wickets and Mitchell Starc prised out four victims, but Morgan's side have since beaten India and New Zealand.

Asked what he expected to see on the faces of his players before their critical match, Morgan said: "I think excitement probably should be the dominant [emotion]. Everybody is excited and has been the last couple of days to play this game. It's the semi-final of a World Cup.

"The fact that throughout the group stages for a while getting through to this stage looked unlikely, or was called into question, that makes it more exciting for us."

He added: "Sometimes - and I'm guilty of it - you can lose sight of the position that you are in, and the fact you are living your dream. I don't think it is impossible to play with a smile on your face."

Morgan has no doubt England can overcome the reigning world champions and he feels the country is willing his team to achieve something special.

"The amount of good faith and goodwill going around is fantastic, so we sense the support that's with us, but also the opportunity as well," said Morgan.

Australia skipper Finch danced around the question of whether all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will be dropped following a run drought.

Finch is certain the XI fielded by Australia will rise to the occasion.

"World Cups are very special, they bring out the best in the best players," Finch said. "That's why Australia have had a very rich history in World Cups. Winning four of the last five, it's been a great achievement.

"When we look at our side at the moment we are full of confidence going into this game. Obviously, England have been probably the front-runners in world cricket over the last four years, the way they have changed the game, their game plan in particular has been very aggressive, taking it to the opposition.

"We know how they are going to play, they know how we are going to play.

"We have played each other a lot over the last couple of years, so it will be whoever holds their nerves, whoever takes the half-chances, whoever starts off the game really well in the first 10 overs, whether it is with bat or ball, it will be so important for either side."

The Cricket World Cup group stage is over and the build-up to the semi-finals is under way.

Group winners India will take on New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with hosts England facing rivals Australia at Edgbaston two days later.

With the feast of cricket coming towards its conclusion, we take a look back at some of the stats from the first round with the help of Opta.

 

BATSMEN

Most runs

1. Rohit Sharma (India) 647
2. David Warner (Australia) 638
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 606
4. Aaron Finch (Australia) 507
5. Joe Root (England) 500

Batting averages

1. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) 96.20
2. Rohit Sharma (India) 92.42
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 86.57
4. David Warner (Australia) 79.75
5. Samiullah Shinwari (Afghanistan) 74.00

Fours

1. Rohit Sharma (India) 67
2. David Warner (Australia) 64
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 60
4. Jonny Bairstow (England) 55
5. Babar Azam (Pakistan) 50

Sixes

1. Eoin Morgan (England) 22
2. Aaron Finch (Australia) 18
3. Rohit Sharma (India) 14
4. Chris Gayle (West Indies) 12
5. Jonny Bairstow (England) 11

Fastest hundreds (by deliveries)

1. Eoin Morgan (England) 57 v Afghanistan
2. Jos Buttler (England) 75 v Pakistan
3. Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies) 80 v New Zealand
4. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 83 v West Indies
5. Rohit Sharma (India) 95 v Pakistan

BOWLERS

Most wickets

1. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 26
2. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) 20
=3. Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand) 17
=3. Jaspirt Bumrah (India) 17
=3. Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) 17
=3. Jofra Archer (England) 17

Economy rate (from seven or more innings)

1. Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand) 4.46
2. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan) 4.47
3. Jasprit Bumrah (India) 4.48
4. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) 4.61
5. Ben Stokes (England) 4.65

Dot balls

1. Jofra Archer (England) 300
2. Pat Cummins (Australia) 295
3. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 288
4. Trent Boult (New Zealand) 284
5. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) 273

Sixes conceded

1. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) 14
2. Yuzvendra Chahal (India) 13
=3. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) 10
=3. Adil Rashid (England) 10
=5. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 9
=5. Dawlat Zadran (Afghanistan) 9
=5. Glenn Maxwell (Australia) 9

Runs conceded

1. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) 483
2. Adil Rashid (England) 433
3. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 432
4. Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan) 419
5. Mohammad Saifuddin (Bangladesh) 417

Australia have drafted in Matthew Wade and Mitch Marsh as cover as they wait to learn the full extent of injuries to Usman Khawaja and Marcus Stoinis ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

Khawaja sustained a hamstring injury in Australia's defeat to South Africa in Manchester on Saturday and his chances of playing against England at Edgbaston on Thursday appear slim.

Captain Aaron Finch was slightly more optimistic Stoinis' side problem was not as severe when addressing the injuries at a post-match news conference.

But Australia are leaving nothing to chance, with wicketkeeper-batsman Wade and all-rounder Marsh brought across from their A team, who begin a four-day match with Sussex on Sunday.

Marsh was also brought into the fold earlier in the tournament when Stoinis sustained a side strain against India, but he recovered to face Bangladesh.

Khawaja and Stoinis are set to undergo scans on their injuries on Sunday.

Usman Khawaja's Cricket World Cup may well be over after he suffered an apparent hamstring injury in Australia's defeat to South Africa.

Khawaja retired hurt before being forced to return in the 10-run reverse to the Proteas on Saturday, scoring 18 before diverting the ball onto the top of his stumps.

Captain Aaron Finch was pessimistic about Khawaja's condition in the post-match presentation, with a scan set for Sunday.

"It doesn't look ideal for Usman Khawaja at the moment," he said. "We'll have to wait and see.

"He's going to have a scan in the morning and we'll make a call based on what the results are there."

Marcus Stoinis also looked to be struggling, although Finch was slightly more positive on that front, but Australia at least have their A team on hand should either player need to be replaced.

"I'm not sure [on Stoinis]," Finch said. "At the moment, it feels okay. But until you get the definitive scans, it's tough to know.

"The whole Australia A squad is here, the four-day guys and the one-day guys. So if they need to be replaced, which I imagine Usman will, there's plenty of guys to come in."

The loss to South Africa saw Australia slip below India, winners against Sri Lanka, into second to set up a crunch semi-final with rivals and hosts England.

Finch added: "It doesn't get much bigger than that: England v Australia in a World Cup semi-final. Hopefully it's a great game."

Meanwhile, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was left rueing his side's failure to produce such impressive performances earlier in the tournament.

Du Plessis himself scored 100 against Australia, but South Africa have long been out of contention after a dismal start to the group phase.

"After the tournament is when we start scratching our heads and try to figure it out," he said of his side's issues. "It's inconsistent cricket.

"To be in the semi-finals, especially now with this new four-team format, you have to be at your best for most of the tournament.

"If you're not, you need guys to lift the team and win games almost on their own. We weren't at our best as a team and we had guys not doing enough to get us over the line."

David Warner dominated Bangladesh with the highest score of the Cricket World Cup as Australia took another stride towards the semi-finals with a 48-run victory at Trent Bridge.

Warner has been in outstanding form and moved to another level in Nottingham, capitalising on being dropped by Sabbir Rahman on 10 by smashing 166 off 147 balls to become the leading run-scorer in the tournament.

The opening batsman's explosive 16th ODI hundred was Australia's second-highest individual World Cup score - Warner having also posted the biggest of 178 versus Afghanistan four years ago.

Usman Khawaja (89) returned to form after Aaron Finch struck 53, with Soumya Sarkar taking 3-58 as the holders put 381-5 on the board in another Nottingham run-fest.

Mushfiqur Rahim (102 not out) made a brilliant first World Cup century and there were half-centuries for Tamim Iqbal (62) and Mahmudullah (69), yet Bangladesh were unable to pull off a repeat of their huge successful run-chase against West Indies on Monday.

The Tigers did post their highest ODI score of 333-8, but they nevertheless suffered a defeat that strikes a major blow to their hopes of reaching the last four as Australia went top of the table.

 

IMPERIOUS WARNER PUNISHES SABBIR

Sabbir was brought in to make his first appearance of the tournament as one of two changes to the Tigers side and he did not get off to the best of starts, putting Warner down at backward point before he had got going.

The left-hander made him pay in brutal fashion after biding his time, slog-sweeping Shakib Al Hasan for a massive six and bringing up his half-century in 55 balls.

Warner then accelerated with a magnificent combination of power and improvisation following Finch's exit, clearing the ropes five times and putting on 192 for the second wicket with Khawaja, who passed 50 for the first time in the tournament.

 

MUSHFIQUR AND MAHMUDULLAH PROVIDE RESISTANCE

Glenn Maxwell (32 from 10) also did some late damage after Warner and Khawaja had been dismissed by Soumya, who missed out with the bat when he was run out by Finch following a big mix-up.

The fit-again Marcus Stoinis (2-54) claimed the big wicket of the in-form Shakib (41) and the Tigers were 144-3 almost halfway through their innings when Tamim chopped on.

Mitchell Starc rattled Liton Das on the helmet straight after ending Tamim's knock and the number five was on his way after being trapped in front by Adam Zampa, but Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah made a game of it.

 

STARC AND AUSTRALIA RISE TO THE SUMMIT

Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-58) ended an 83-ball stand when Mahmudullah holed out after hitting three sixes and five fours in a swashbuckling 50-ball knock, while the Australia seamer compounded Sabbir's misery by bowling him first ball.

Starc (2-55) became the top wicket-taker in the tournament and, although the excellent Mushfiqur reached three figures in the penultimate over, Australia comfortably made it five wins out of six.

Aaron Finch vowed Australia would "take the contest" to Chris Gayle and look to unsettle the destructive West Indies opener in Thursday's Cricket World Cup clash.

The Trent Bridge tussle could suit Gayle, with a short boundary sure to be attacked by the 39-year-old whose career lacks one notable statistic: an ODI century against Australia.

Nottinghamshire's home is the venue at which Australia conceded a world-record score to England last June, tortured by Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales.

And if Gayle finds his range early in the West Indies innings, then captain Finch knows Australia could find themselves in trouble.

With that in mind, Australia have formulated plans to stifle Gayle, who plundered 424 runs in four ODIs against England earlier this year.

"When you come up against someone as dangerous as Chris, you have to be prepared that he's going to hit boundaries," Finch said. "So it's about trying to attack his weaknesses early and making sure that we're putting the ball in the areas that we want to be bowling.

"If you second-guess yourself, if you're a bit tentative, if you're a bit nervous with the ball in hand, he'll get all over you, and once he's going, he's so hard to stop.

"So I think it's important that you come prepared to take the contest to him because he definitely does that the other way."

Gayle has an ODI highest score of 92 against Australia, and he would love to crack on to three figures this time.

Australia are mindful he has not always been fully fit when facing them, and that could again be the case this time as Gayle contends with a back niggle.

But Australia will back themselves against any batting line-up, even at venues with a history of high-scoring contests such as Trent Bridge.

"I think if you're executing your best ball over and over and they're playing good shots in our percentages, then you have to wear that," Finch said.

"We know how fast the outfields are here in England. We know how flat wickets can be at times, so you have to be prepared to suck up some pressure and soak up a few boundaries here and there.

"If it's poor execution or a poor plan on my behalf, then it's something to reassess at the end of the game."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.