England advanced to the ICC World Cup finals after 27 years as they thrashed Defending Champions Australia by eight wickets in the World Cup semi-final match here at Edgbaston on Thursday. England are now in their fourth World Cup final while New Zealand reached their second successive final in a World Cup. In 2015, New Zealand had lost to Australia in a one-sided title clash while England had entered World Cup finals in 1975, 1987 and 1992 before 2019.
Jason Roy (85 off 65 balls) and Jonny Bairstow (34 off 43 balls) initially led England’s charge towards their first World Cup final since 1992, dominating Australia’s bowlers as they chased down a modest target of 224. The two openers raced to 94 without loss in the 15th over, looking untroubled against the defending champions’ attack, led by left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc.
Roy, who missed three matches earlier in the tournament due to an injury, played handsomely, hitting Starc and Nathan Lyon for sixes as the host nation closed in on a Lord’s final against New Zealand on Sunday. Nothing was going into the visitor’s favour and were desperate for a wicket to stop the hosts from advancing towards victory.
Finally, Australian bowlers got a chance to quench their wicket thirst when Jonny Bairstow with Roy after successfully leading his team near to the target walked to the pavilion on a score of 34 runs in the 17.2 over. He was lbw by Mitchell Starc. Though the visitors were no where in the one sided game but Bairstow departure brought some relief for the Kangaroos though it wasn’t enough as the damage was already done for the defending champions.
Australia was in desperate need of early wickets but its bowlers could not be blamed as its batters especially the top-order collapsed letting the team down. In 19.4 over, Australia got another wicket as they dismissed Roy. He was caught by Alex Carey off Pat Cummins bowl. Roy scored 85 runs with the help of 9 fours and 5 sixes.
Roy who was scoring fluently was adjudged caught behind even though TV replay showed the ball missing the bat considerably. After losing their openers, England’s Joe Root and Eoin Morgan made no mistakes and slowly guided their team to reach the target. The duo played exceptionally well and thrashed Australian bowlers adding 79 runs from there to meet New Zealand in the final on Sunday. Earlier, After winning the toss and opting to bat, Australian top order were blown away.
Smith (85 off 119) managed to fight, first with Carey and then with Starc but Chris Woakes (3/20) and Rashid’s (3/54) brilliant spell ensured they bowl out Kangaroos for a low total which the hosts batters chased it without breaking a sweat. For England, Archer provided a early breakthrough, lbw Finch for a duck in the very second over. Australia’s first wicket fell at 4.
Australia desperately needed a big partnership to carry forward the score after losing quick three wickets of Aaron Finch, David Warner and Handscomb at 14. Now all the eyes were on Smith and wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey who stitched 103 runs for fourth wicket but before they could have converted into a big total, suddenly their partnership came to an end as Rashid dismissed Carey on a score of 46 off 70 balls in the 28th over.
Australia lost its fourth wicket at 117 run and then 5th wicket after scoring just one run at 118 when Stoinis was lbw by Rashid in the same over Rashid scalping his second wicket Another 39 run stand came between Smith and Maxwell for sixth wicket, but then dangerous Maxwell was dismissed by Archer picking his second wicket in 35th over. Maxwell chipped in 22 off 23 (2 fours, 1 six).
Australia kept losing wickets at regular intervals, but Smith stood and fought hard against England bowlers at the other end and added another 51 run with Starc for 8th wicket. Australia lost two quick wickets in 48th over of 1st and 2nd ball first of Smith run out and then Starc by Woakes who picked his third wicket. Smith 85 off 119 balls (6 fours). Starc 29 off 36 balls (1 four, 1 six).
Australia’s last wicket fell in form of Behrendorff at 1 in 49th over last ball picked by Wood as Kangaroos were all out for 223 in 49 overs. Chris Woakes 3/20, Archer 2/32, Rashid Khan 3/54 and Wood 1/45 were the wicket-takers for England while for Australia Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins picked one wicket each.
Mitchell Starc broke the record for most wickets (27) in a single edition of the World Cup in this match after dismissing Jonny Bairstow in the 18th over of the second innings. He broke Glenn McGrath’s record, which stood for 12 years. McGrath had taken 26 wickets in Australia’s victorious campaign in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. Chris Woakes was declared player of the Match for his brilliant figures of 3/20.