Snowball: The atmosphere will be incredible
Warwickshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Neil Snowball is ready for a spectacle ahead of England's clash with Australia at Edgbaston.
Edgbaston is gearing up to host "a great day for cricket, for Birmingham and for the region" when England meet Australia in an ICC Men's Cricket World Cup semi-final on Thursday.
Cricket's biggest rivalry will resume for a momentous knockout match at Edgbaston, exactly three weeks before the 2019 Ashes series is launched there.
""We all know how Edgbaston inspires the England team. They have won 10 successive games across the formats here."
The semi-final is the fifth match in the tournament at Edgbaston after four group games delivered some excellent cricket to buoyant full-house crowds.
Just who would contest the semi-final in Birmingham was always set to be dictated by how the group stage finished, of course. That it happens to be England and Australia is the icing on the cake for the Bears.
"I think ever since England beat New Zealand everyone had been gearing up for an England v India semi-final and that would have been a great occasion," Warwickshire County Cricket Club chief executive Neil Snowball said.
"But England v Australia, well, that's the biggest. There is no bigger rivalry in sport and it will be a great day for cricket, for Birmingham and for the region.
"We all know how Edgbaston inspires the England team. They have won 10 successive games across the formats here and the atmosphere will be incredible - so may the best team win.
"It's been a brilliant tournament for us at a host ground. We were lucky in that our games came later on so we missed most of the wet weather that was around at the start. I think our first game, New Zealand v South Africa, really kick-started the tournament.
"Until then it hadn't had a real nail-biter but Kane Williamson's terrific hundred and that last-over six got things going. Then for New Zealand v Pakistan, I don't think I have ever known an atmosphere like it. Pakistan's fans were just incredible. Our spectator surveys after that match showed the highest atmosphere rating we have ever had.
"Then came England v India and what a huge game that was for England and for the tournament. We had a fantastic day at Edgbaston while, over at Victoria Square that weekend more than 35,000 people enjoyed a brilliant atmosphere in the Fan Zone. We are very grateful to Birmingham City Council for making that happen.
"Then India v Bangladesh here was just nuts. The Bangladesh supporters just made noise all day and made it a really memorable day."
All the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup matches have put Warwickshire CCC and the city of Birmingham in the global spotlight - and Snowball is proud of the occasions delivered by his team at Edgbaston, along with partner organisations
"It has been wonderful tournament and operationally, it has gone really well," he said. "Many thousands of people from all over the world have had a wonderful day at the cricket in Birmingham and that has been a real collective effort from ourselves, West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority.
"I am very proud of my team here at Edgbaston. There is so much quality in it and so much experience of hosting major matches and it shows. They do it brilliantly. They are exhausted but will get a well-deserved rest after Thursday. "