England outplayed Australia by eight wickets to storm into the final of the ICC World Cup at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday. Eoin’s Morgan’s men will take on Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in Sunday’s final as new champions will be crowned at Lord’s in the 12th edition of the marquee event. Onmanorama picks five reasons for England dethroning Australia.
Australia were looking for a solid start on electing to bat. However, the opening pair of skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner, who had done the bulk of the scoring for the Aussies in the league phase, were back in the hut in quick time. Jofra Archer trapped Finch in front of the wicket for a first-ball duck, while Warner was caught by Jonny Bairstow in the slips off Chris Woakes for nine. Woakes also castled Peter Handscomb, who came in as a replacement for the injured Usman Khawaja, for four as Australia slumped to 14/3 and any advantage of batting first was negated.
Rashid’s twin blows
Steve Smith and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey put the Australian innings back on track with a 103-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid broke the threatening stand as Carey (46) picked out substitute fielder James Vince at the boundary. Rashid sent back new man Marcus Stoinis for a duck with a googly in the same over to leave Australia struggling at 118/5.
Polishing off the lower order
Smith held the Australian innings together with a fighting 85. He had added 51 in the company of Mitchell Starc (29) for the eighth wicket and taken the score to 217 when an alert wicketkeeper Jos Buttler swooped on the ball and threw down the wicket at the non-striker’s end to catch Smith short of the crease. Starc was dismissed off the very next ball by Woakes and Mark Wood castled Jason Behrendorff as Australia were shot out for 223 with an over remaining. These quick wickets robbed Australia of any momentum in the death overs.
Roy, Bairstow do the job
Australia’s only chance of defending the low total depended on them getting early wickets. However, the in-form English opening pair of Jason Roy and Bairstow had other ideas. Roy took the attack to the Australian pacers while Bairstow was happy to play second fiddle. The pair’s fourth successive century partnership more or less settled the game. Bairstow fell for 34 with the total on 124, while Roy was wrongly adjudged caught behind off Pat Cummins by Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena to end a brilliant knock of 85 off 65 balls.
Roy, Morgan guide England home
Joe Root (49 not out) and Morgan (45 not out) made sure there was no late drama as they put on 79 runs off just 75 balls for the third wicket. Fittingly, it was Morgan who hit the winning runs as England romped home in just 32.1 over and entered their first World Cup final after a long gap of 27 years.