England swaggered into their first World Cup final in 27 years, blowing away rivals Australia by eight wickets in a magnificent display of attacking cricket that sets up a winner-takes-all date with New Zealand at Lord’s.
The three-times runners-up are now firm favourites to land the trophy for the first time on Sunday, having thrashed the Black Caps by 119 runs in the group stage, and head to the home of cricket on the back of a sensational performance at Edgbaston.
Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid performed wonders with the ball after Australia chose to bat first, reducing the visitors to 14 for three in a frenzied opening burst and ultimately restricting them to a lacklustre 223 all out.
England would have been mindful that they were bowled out for 221 and beaten by the same attack last month but Jason Roy missed that game with a torn hamstring and his brilliant 85 put the game beyond a shellshocked Australia, who went down with 107 balls remaining.
Tweet of the day
Gary Lineker could not resist a cheeky dig at Australia after England reached their first World Cup final since 1992.
Mitchell Starc’s radar may have been a little off in Birmingham but the left-arm paceman has unquestionably been one of the stars of the tournament. He duly went past compatriot Glenn McGrath’s previous benchmark of 26 wickets – set in 2007 in the Caribbean – when he made a belated breakthrough in England’s innings, pinning Jonny Bairstow in front. It may be scant consolation at this moment, though, after Australia’s comprehensive defeat.
Top of the shots
Roy was in electric form from the moment he punched Starc delightfully through the covers for the first of nine fours. Up until that moment he had made just one run from his first 10 balls. He truly kicked into overdrive shortly after passing a run-a-ball half-century, utterly dismissive of Steve Smith’s occasional leg-breaks. The former Australia captain conceded 21 in his solitary over, Roy clearing the boundary three times, the last of them a monstrous hit that Warwickshire confirmed was the first to land in the top tier at the Pavilion End in an international fixture.
Roy seemed poised for a truly majestic century but fell 15 runs short, a still sensational 65-ball innings ending in controversial circumstances when he was given out for an apparent glove behind. Kumar Dharmasena initially hesitated before raising his finger, prompting Roy to ask for a review and the umpire signalling for one. However, Australia correctly pointed out Jonny Bairstow had earlier burned England’s review, leaving Roy to remonstrate with Dharmasena and his colleague Marais Erasmus. He slowly trudged off the pitch – replays indicating he did not get near Pat Cummins’ delivery – and the International Cricket Council may take a dim view of his protestations.
Seven of Aaron Finch’s 15 one-day international hundreds have come against England, the Australia captain underpinning his side’s victory over the tournament hosts with a three-figure score last month. It seemed imperative to restrict him to a low score. Archer duly obliged with a full inswinger first up, which rapped Finch on his pad after he had played around it. Warner did not last long, either, and within 16 balls the pair who had contributed 43 per cent of Australia’s tournament runs were back in the hutch. It felt like a seismic moment at the time, it definitely was even in hindsight.
July 14: New Zealand v England/Australia at Lord’s