Usman Khawaja has hit some great form ahead of the World Cup.
Usman Khawaja has hit some great form ahead of the World Cup.

Khawaja ‘embarrassed’ by latest injury scare

USMAN Khawaja shook off a knee injury to solidify his place in Australia's World Cup team with the reigning champions set to enter the tournament having won 13 out of their past 14 games.

Khawaja constructed a patient 89 (105 balls) as Australia crushed Sri Lanka by five wickets with 31 balls to spare in Southampton on Monday night (AEST), captain Aaron Finch's team fifth win from six practice games.

That strong record followed Australia's eight-match ODI winning streak on tour against India and Pakistan.

Khawaja hobbled from the field in the first innings after copping a ball flush in his left knee, which he had reconstructed in 2014 and underwent further surgery on last year, before returning to open the batting with Finch.

"It's fine, embarrassing more than anything, it just hit the side of my knee and I couldn't put any weight on it," Khawaja said with an icepack strapped on.

"My knee collapsed underneath me because of where it hit, I went off, iced it and after about 25 minutes I felt alright. It's a bit sore now but nothing structurally wrong."

Khawaja is the world's leading ODI run-scorer in 2019, although he will almost certainly have to drop down to No.3 with David Warner set to replace him as Finch's opening partner.

It has long appeared to be a battle between Khawaja and Shaun Marsh (34 off 46) for the final place in Australia's batting order, but it would be a surprise if Khawaja is told to carry the drinks against Afghanistan in Bristol on Saturday.

Usman Khawaja plays a reverse sweep on his way to 89.
Usman Khawaja plays a reverse sweep on his way to 89.

While England demolished Afghanistan's target of 160 in less than 18 overs two hours up the road in London, Khawaja said there was no urgency to match that rapid win.

"Once we got ahead of the run-rate, it was probably about five the whole time, I knew I could cruise," he said.

"I could easily have gone harder and played more expansive shots but I didn't want someone else to have to come in and do that. For me it was just about trying to get the job done.

"We've been trying to win games and be really clinical and not take it too lightly because it's a warm up game.

"We won our three warm up games here, we won two of three against New Zealand in Australia.

The Aussies look in great touch with the World Cup just days away.
The Aussies look in great touch with the World Cup just days away.

"It was more about us continuing the winning ways we had in India and in Dubai, for us as a team and what I was trying to concentrate on was just trying to continue that, not looking too far ahead to things that are out of my control.

"I think everyone is in a really good spot which is a good thing for us, all the batsmen are playing really well, the bowlers are bowling beautifully to restrict them to the total they did.

"I think we are all in a really good place, whatever team is picked we are in a really good place to head into this tournament."

Pat Cummins (1-23 off eight overs) and Mitchell Starc (1-38 off nine overs) took the two new balls while Steve Smith removed the dangerous Angelo Matthews with a diving catch off his own bowling.

While Kane Richardson was smacked for eight boundaries, the usual death bowler took a wicket when the ball was just five overs old.

Kane Richardson changed his role up. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.
Kane Richardson changed his role up. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images.

Khawaja said he wasn't losing sleep over selection.

"I'm a good sleeper, if you ask anyone on the team, I'm on the great sleepers," he said.

"I'm in a place in my life and my career where I'm really enjoying my cricket.

"I'm just having a lot of fun. I'm going to keep trying to have fun.

"I'd much rather get a duck and win then me get 100 and lose.

"It doesn't matter what happens, where I play, if I play if I don't play, if I'm running the drinks I'm going to try and contribute to the squad."

AUSTRALIA'S RETURN TO FORM

Def Sri Lanka by five wickets with 31 balls remaining (Southampton)

Def England by 12 runs (Southampton)

Def West Indies by seven wickets with 69 balls remaining (Southampton)

Def New Zealand by 16 runs (D/L method) (Brisbane)

Lost to New Zealand by seven wickets with 16 balls remaining (Brisbane)

Def New Zealand by one wicket with 10 balls remaining (Brisbane)

Def Pakistan by 20 runs (Dubai)

Def Pakistan by six runs (Dubai)

Def Pakistan by 80 runs (Abu Dhabi)

Def Pakistan by eight wickets with 13 balls remaining (Sharjah)

Def Pakistan by eight wickets with six balls left

Def India by 35 runs

Def India by four wickets

Def India by 32 runs