Cape Town - Australia may have finished above England in the table and already beaten them at this year's World Cup but Nathan Lyon is adamant his team will be underdogs when the sides clash in a blockbuster semi-final on Thursday.

The Aussies suffered a 10-run defeat to South Africa at Old Trafford in their final group game, allowing India to leapfrog them at the summit - setting up a last-four clash against England at Edgbaston, rather than New Zealand in Manchester.

Justin Langer's men have already downed the hosts once at this year's global tournament, when they completed a dominant 64-run win at Lord's.

And Lyon is relishing the rematch in Birmingham, when a place in the final will be on the line - choosing to start the mind games early.

"We're playing against the number one team, and they're favourites to win the World Cup," said the Australia off-spinner.

"It's going to be a massive challenge. We're playing against England, in England, in a semi-final: it doesn't get much better.

"Every time you play against England you want to compete hard against them and try to come out on top.

"Their side is full of absolute superstars and we're definitely going in as underdogs.

"They've been the number one team for a couple of years now. It's all on them - it's their World Cup to lose.

"We've got nothing to lose - we've only got stuff to gain, and that's the exciting thing about it.

"We're going to go out there, compete, have fun and do it with a smile on our face.

"I feel like there's a very special thing just around the corner for Australian cricket and the whole Australian public.

"Our momentum got halted a little bit (against South Africa) but we'll train our backsides off, prepare well, have elite professionalism and make sure come Thursday that we're firing."