Jos Buttler: England-Australia World Cup semi-final adds extra edge
"After the week we had - the nerves leading into it, feeling apprehensive about what might happen - it has been nice to have a break since that New Zealand win"
By Jos Buttler - @josbuttler
Last Updated: 11/07/19 9:22am
Sky Sports columnist Jos Buttler looks ahead to England's semi-final date with Australia at Edgbaston, admitting that back-to-back defeats had the team "nervous" of being knocked out before rediscovering their best form to beat India and New Zealand...
I can't tell you how excited we all are for Thursday's semi-final at Edgbaston.
You get to this stage of the tournament and you know you're going to facing a top team, whoever it is going to be, but England versus Australia adds that extra edge.
We lost in the group stage against them and obviously want to put in a much better performance on Thursday, but I wouldn't say we're out for revenge.
We're treating this as a completely separate one-off game. And we've had good practice in terms of knockout cricket, winning our last two fixtures when under massive pressure.
We certainly made things hard for ourselves. Having worked a long time towards this World Cup, to suddenly think that we might be knocked out having not done ourselves justice, was nerve-wracking.
It's well-known that we had a team meeting before the India game. There was no key speech, or big problem to address, it was more a platform for everyone to speak about how they were feeling, voice any anxieties they had and to generally just open up.
Everyone spoke - that's one of the strengths of the group, we're very honest and open with each other - and it helped to take the pressure off.
It also helped to reinforce who we are as a team. We had two poor games, in losing to Sri Lanka and Australia, but we can beat any team in the world on our day.
To back that up and come out and play in the manner we did against India was a big relief.
The first hour of that game - the way Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy went out and batted, taking on their spinners - was the best cricket we've played.
I remember thinking to myself at the time, "even if we lose, at least we've played in that attacking way that has served us so well". It made everyone sit up in the dressing room and think 'we've still got it'.
It was great to have Jason back. He brings such presence to the team. And Jonny kicked on to his first of back-to-back centuries. When the team needed it most.
Jonny is that kind of character, to stand up in the biggest moments. Throughout his career, there have been certain situations where he has had a point to prove, or has been questioned, and he comes out with an incredible performance.
Maybe we need to get Michael Vaughan to say something again this week.
It was another great team performance to beat New Zealand in Durham although, from a personal point of view, I was disappointed not to capitalise on the chance to move up to No 4 in the order after another great start.
I've felt in good form in the last few games with the bat, I just haven't managed to contribute in the way I would've liked to.
Over the last 18 months, I've tried to judge myself more on my preparation, and my flow in the middle - was I in the zone or not - and then the end column usually looks after itself.
It's the times when you don't feel that rhythm, that's when you start to worry and question yourself, so I feel good going into this week, with Thursday a new opportunity to go and perform.
I was also delighted to take that diving catch to dismiss Martin Guptill down the legside. I didn't start the summer great with the gloves, so I have been working hard on that and it's nice when you put in the work and then you get a chance like that and manage to take it.
After the week we had - the nerves leading into it, feeling apprehensive about what might happen - it has been nice to have a break since that New Zealand win.
You spend a lot of energy on that stuff, so it has been lovely to just switch off from cricket and refresh the brain, come home and see my wife and little girl.
A few of the lads went to Wimbledon over the weekend. We were invited too but had a prior engagement with a wedding. We've been watching a bit on the telly though, and Georgia, our little girl, seems to quite enjoy sitting in her bouncer and watching the tennis. The next Coco Gauff, maybe? Perhaps not.
I've been reading a bit about her and watched a few of her games. It's just incredible, at 15 years of age, to be performing at that level! She's not fazed at all.
She's nothing like I was at 15 years old, that's for sure. I was just worried about my GCSEs, and maybe breaking into the Somerset academy and second team.
Speaking of Somerset, I was disappointed to see Marcus Trescothick announce he is finally going to retire at the end of the season.
It was an honour for me to share a dressing room with him when I broke into the team as a young lad. He was one of my heroes growing up, a real England and Somerset legend.
He is probably the person I've met over my career who loves cricket the most. That's infectious and rubs off on you.
I'm sure he will be watching on Thursday. It's set up brilliantly; a World Cup semi-final, against Australia, at a venue we love playing at - Edgbaston has the best atmosphere in the country.
We've played a lot against them in the recent past, so know all about the danger they pose. David Warner has been in a fine run of form, Mitchell Starc and, as a fellow wicketkeeper, I've got a lot of time for Alex Carey - I've liked watching him play.
But we go into the game knowing that our best cricket will give us a great chance of winning. It's just about handling the situation and the pressure that comes with it.
Watch England take on Australia in the second World Cup semi-final on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Cricket World Cup from 9.30am.
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