Australia rode onto brilliance from Jason Behrendorff and Micthell Starc to beat England by 64 runs to become the first team to enter the ICC World Cup 2019 semifinals. Behrendorff, who played only his second World Cup game, returned with a five-wicket haul at the historic Lord’s Cricket Ground. Despite Australia’s complete dominance over the host, Behrendorff backed England as the favourites to win the World Cup.
Behrendorff feels England are still favourites
Defending 285 runs, Jason Behrendorff got the perfect start for Australia. Micthell Starc soon joined the party to dismiss Joe Root and Eoin Morgan to put England on the backfoot. Striving at 26 for three, Ben Stokes started the revival but lacked partners at the other end. Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid got starts but failed to capitalise which left Stokes alone to do the job. Behrendorff cleaned the tail with a five-wicket haul while Starc bagged four wickets to bowl out England for 221 runs to book a semifinal berth. Previously, a century from skipper Aaron Finch and useful contributions from David Warner and Alex Carey helped Australia post a good total on a tricky wicket.
England entered the tournament as the firm favourites, but now they face some stiff challenge to progress from the group stages. They have games left with India and New Zealand and need to win both of them to make it to the top-four. On the other hand, Australia will relax a bit having sealed the semifinal spot. But Jason Behrendorff feels England is still the favourites to win the trophy. The tall and lanky pacer also said that Australia is still not the team to beat in this tournament and there is a scope for them to improve.
“No, I don’t think so,” Behrendorff said. “I think it’s something that the competition is still very open. England are still a great side. They are probably still favourites, home country. We aspire to continue just playing good cricket. So I don’t think we’re favourites, that’s for sure,” he added.
Australia have games left with New Zealand and South Africa in the group stages before they begin the semifinal stage.