England have romped into the final to set the climax date with New Zealand at the Home of Cricket on Sunday. They defeated Australia comfortably by eight wickets chasing 224 with more than 17 overs to spare. It was thoroughly clinical performance from them throughout and never let Australia dominate the game at any stage. While Chris Woakes was the hero with the ball (3/20), Jason Roy just sucked the life of the opponent’s bowling attack in the chase.
He added an unbelievable 124 runs with Jonny Bairstow in less than 18 overs and the contest was ended there itself. It was some hitting from Roy which made the Aussie bowling attack look extremely weak. None of the bowlers was spared with the likes of Mitchell Starc going for 70 runs in his nine overs. Both the openers got out and at 147/2, it looked like Australia had a sniff.
But Eoin Morgan and Joe Root were brilliant in their execution with the bat. They didn’t take any pressure at all and didn’t allow the arch-rivals to make a comeback in the game. Their unbeaten stand of 79 runs ensured England were in the finals. While Roy scored 85 before getting out in bizarre circumstances, Morgan and Root remained unbeaten in the 40s to get the team home with a lot of overs in hand.
Australia crawl to 223
Earlier, after opting to bat first, Australia couldn’t do much with the bat. Steve Smith scored a fighting 85 to help his team post a competitive total on the board. They were reeling at 14/3 in the first six overs of the innings itself and the defending champions never recovered. There was a decent partnership between Smith and Alex Carey but the run-scoring was not at a worrying pace for England at any stage.
Carey once again played a fighting knock of 46 runs but there were not many contributions from the other batsmen. Mitchell Starc hung around with Smith in the end to score 29 runs which took Australia to a decent total which looked just close to par at the halfway stage. But England batsmen were too good in the chase and look dangerous going into the final.
Man of the Match, Chris Woakes said:
This is pretty sweet, incredible performance from the whole team. We started well with the bowling performance. There were few nerves around in the morning but that is natural going into the semifinal of such a big tournament.
I think the way we produced the goods show how good we are as a team. I didn’t think it was a bad wicket by any means, I think we just found the right lengths. And when you pick up wickets early, they have to rebuild and we kept the pressure.
We could have bowled fuller at Lord’s, we got our lengths little bit wrong that day. We came into the knockout stage with good form and momentum. We played two good games against India and New Zealand and then we carried on that today. I was three years old in 1992, it was a while ago. We have one game to go, hopefully, we will go all the way.
Coming into the World Cup as favourites, it was important for us to reach the knockout stages. It’s an incredible feeling to win the semi-final against Australia at the best ground in the world.
England captain, Eoin Morgan said:
Absolutely delighted. I would like to thank the fans who’ve come out today, our fans have been great with their support. Edgbaston has always been great for us. Having beaten India on this ground, we would have come in with similar confidence (had England faced India here).
It is very important to take confidence from the group stages into the semi-finals. We talked about wanting to get better from game to game and we wanted to set the tone from ball one and we made Australia pay.
Extremely happy for Woakes; he is a cool customer and has been one of the best bowlers for us in the last couple of years. He goes about his business day in and day out exceptionally. Him and Jofra were probably the standout performance for us in the last four years. The guys coming after that really backed him up well.
Roy and Jonny at the top of the order are really imposing when they get themselves in. They are in the form of their lives and they take advantage of that. They set the tone for us. I was six in 1992, I don’t remember it, but I have seen a lot of it in the highlights.
It is an opportunity for us on Sunday, a huge one at that too. Looking back at where we were in 2015 and looking ahead to Sunday is a dramatic improvement. Everyone in that dressing room must take a lot of credit for that. Making the most of that opportunity in getting the result will be great for us.
Australia captain, Aaron Finch said:
We were just totally outplayed today. The way they set the tone with the ball and getting to 27/3 after ten overs was a huge part of the game. And was too hard for us to get back from. You do expect the new ball to seam first up, but they bowled really well by targetting the stumps and bowled a great length, something that we tried to do as well.
But plenty of positives for us in this World Cup especially given where we were last year when we came here in England. You always want to win, but really proud of the group to get us here. In the last six months or so, there has been a lot of character shown, but it still hurts.
We tried to change it up as much as we could, kept looking for wicket taking options. Just couldn’t find it because they played exceptionally well. But they played really well, we know how dynamic they are and how dominating they are when they get on top.
It’s just one of those days, things didn’t go our way and when you don’t execute your plans well, you get hurt by a really good team. You’ve got to beat everyone in every condition. But things didn’t go for us with a couple of injuries, but that’s not really an excuse. We came here expecting to win, but it wasn’t to be.
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