Australia finished their group stage of the ICC World Cup 2019 with a defeat against South Africa at the Old Trafford in Manchester. As a result, they finished at the second spot in the points table and will take on host England in the semifinal. Ahead of the game, the defending champions suffered a massive blow with star batsman Usman Khawaja ruled out of the game due to an injury.
Khawaja to miss the semifinal clash
Chasing 325 runs set by South Africa, Australia fell ten runs short despite a century from David Warner and a brilliant fifty from Alex Carey. Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo shared five wickets between them to keep the Aussie middle order out of contention to finish the campaign with a win. Previously, Faf du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen played two fine knocks to lift South Africa’s batting which proved too much for the defending champions.
With this loss, Australia has finished in second place with 14 points, one less than India. Ahead of their semifinal clash against England, they received another blow with Usman Khawaja ruled out of the game due to an injury he sustained in the match against South Africa. Although the southpaw has blown hot and cold in this World Cup, Khawaja has been Australia’s highest run-scorer leading to the tournament.
Speaking at the end of the match, skipper Aaron Finch admitted that things are not looking great for Usman Khawaja. The star batsman will undergo some scans before Australia takes a call on the replacement. To make things worse, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis also suffered an injury. However, he is likely to regain fitness before the next match.
“It doesn’t look ideal for Usman,” Finch said. “He’ll have a scan tomorrow and if we need a replacement – and I think we will – but until you get the definitive scan it’s hard to know. But it’s not looking great for him, in all honesty. He’s done a couple of hamstrings before and he said it feels a bit similar,” Finch said.
Usman Khawaja has scored 316 runs from nine games at an average of 35.11 with the highest score of 89. Australia is likely to promote Steve Smith at three and bring in Peter Handscomb in the middle order for the remainder of their World Cup campaign.