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Lyon: It's England's World Cup to lose
Australia News

Lyon: It's England's World Cup to lose

Nathan Lyon has indulged in mind games ahead of the semi-final clash against arch-rivals England by declaring the tournament hosts favourites for the World Cup title.

Lyon tried to amplify the pressure on the England side by calling it their "World Cup to lose" as Australia prepare for the highly anticipated encounter at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Australia slumped to a tense 10-run loss to South Africa in their final game of the league phase preventing them from finishing on top of the points table.

This result sets up a knockout game against the Ashes rivals as the two sides had previously met in the World Cup at Lord's where Australia decimated the pre-tournament favourites by an emphatic 64-run margin of victory.

However, off-spinner Lyon, who has been known for making bold statements in the past as well, believes England are feeling the heat more than his team given their world number one ranking in the format.

"They're full of world-class players and they've been the number one team for a couple of years now," Lyon spoke in the aftermath of the defeat to the Proteas.

"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."

'Early wickets against England is the key to success' - Mitchell Starc

Leading wicket-taker of the World Cup Mitchell Starc had a decent outing against South Africa, picking up two for 59 as he equalled Glenn McGrath's feat of most scalps in a single edition of the mega-event.

The left-arm paceman though had a moment of worry when his right ankle niggle resurfaced while landing in a foot hole but Starc promised to be in action come the crucial game against England.

"I had a bit of ice on it but it's pretty good. Let's see how it pulls up (on Sunday) morning but I'm feeling pretty confident with it all and have been throughout the tournament so far," he said.

Starc was the pick of the bowlers when Australia thrashed England by 64 runs last month as he registered remarkable figures of four for 43.

Starc believed Australia required a similar plan which they executed against England on that fateful day and highlighted the importance of early breakthroughs to trouble the opponent's long batting line-up.

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

"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 moving forward."

The 29-year-old caused all sorts of problems to England's premier batsman Eoin Morgan at Lord's with his steep bounce and short ball barrage, eventually getting the skipper to top-edge a hook shot to deep fine leg.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen had claimed Morgan's uncharacteristic shuffle to the leg-side signalled a fearful mindset though Starc did not seem to agree with this assessment.

"I don't know, is he? You'll have to ask him," Starc said.

"I think the short ball has worked to a lot of people in the World Cup. It's definitely a plan for some guys who have got a bit of extra pace. Slower bouncer as well.

"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."