Thursday 18 July 2019

Lyon believes World Cup is 'England's to lose' ahead of showdown

Australia's Nathan Lyon. Photo: Getty Images
Australia's Nathan Lyon. Photo: Getty Images

Nigel Whittaker

Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon has put the pressure on England, claiming "it's their World Cup to lose" ahead of a monumental semi-final showdown at Edgbaston on Thursday.

The defending champions were denied top spot in the group after a 10-run defeat to South Africa on Saturday, a result which meant the Ashes rivals would go head-to-head to make the Lord's final on July 14.

Despite finishing ahead of Irish-born Eoin Morgan's side in the table, Lyon is adamant that there is no burden on Australia's shoulders because England are the tournament hosts and are the top-ranked one-day side in the world.

The off-spinner said: "They're full of world-class players and they've been the number one team for a couple of years now. They should be going into this World Cup as favourites, it's all on them. It's their World Cup to lose if you ask me.

"We've got nothing to lose, we've only got stuff to gain. That's the exciting thing about it.

Mitchell Starc's two for 59 against the Proteas moved him to 26 wickets, equalling compatriot Glenn McGrath's all-time record for most scalps in one tournament.

Despite aggravating his right ankle by landing awkwardly in a foothole, the left-arm paceman is optimistic he will be available to face England.


He said: "I'm all good. Bowling is hard, it's painful at times. I had a bit of ice on it, but it's pretty good. I'm feeling pretty confident."

Australia overcame England at Lord's earlier in the tournament and Starc believes the foundations of that win could be used in Birmingham.

He said: "The blueprint the last time we played England was to take early wickets.

"They'll get Jason Roy back for the fixture, so we're going to have a few days now to discuss if we need to change anything, but I think the way we played England last time was a great blueprint."

In Australia's 64-run victory on June 25, Starc was able to unsettle Eoin Morgan with the short ball, leading to the England captain attempting to hook his way out of trouble only to find the fielder in the deep.

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen suggested afterwards that Morgan may be scared of facing Starc. When asked whether Morgan is afraid of him, Starc responded: "I don't know, is he? You'll have to ask him.

"I think the short ball has worked to a lot of people in the World Cup. I guess we'll have to assess where the wicket is; is it short side or long side? Whether it's got some pace or not and see if we can get Eoin one way or another again."

Irish Independent

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