Australia have been destroyed by eight wickets in their Cricket World Cup semi-final by England, who have qualified for the final for the first time since 1992.
The tournament trophy is guaranteed to have a new name on it come Sunday night following New Zealand’s shock win over India yesterday in the other semi-final, but it’s England who will go in as red-hot favourites after ripping through Australia, exposing every weakness they had.
It looked like a bat-first wicket, but the one time Aaron Finch won a toss, it turned out to be a lose the toss sort of wicket, as England got plenty of assistance early on.
They bowled excellent lines and lengths to complement it, with Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes putting a wonderful first ten overs of work in to have Australia 2 for 10 and then 3 for 14, with all of Aaron Finch, David Warner and Peter Handscomb back in the rooms.
While Australia went on to recover, it turns out the start was just too much to overcome, with Finch LBW on his first ball, Warner snicking off and Handscomb caught on the crease.
Alex Carey and Steve Smith led the recovery effort out of the first ten overs, aided by some ordinary bowling from Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood.
Carey’s performance in particular was brave, batting with what could potentially be a broken jaw after being hit by a bouncer.
He eventually departed for 48, while Smith went on to make 85, and along with some cameos of Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc, Australia made it to 223 despite the best efforts of Archer, Wood and Adil Rashid, but it was never going to be enough.
Every time Australia looked like getting to a recovery, they lost wickets in clumps, with Stoinis getting a second ball duck and Maxwell departing at a poor time.
It was quite clear the pitch had flattened out by the time Australia came out to bowl, and while they didn’t help themselves by bowling inconsistent lines and lengths, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow had an absolute field day for the English.
Their opening partnership took the game right out of the balance, putting on 124 in 17 overs as Australia’s bowling went from bad to worse.
They had started on a reasonable level, but Jason Behrendorff lost his way, Nathan Lyon got hammered from his first ball, and Pat Cummins struggled for consistency, while Mitchell Starc was nowhere near his threatening best.
Bairstow was eventually removed LBW, while Roy followed shortly afterwards, caught behind for 85 off the bowling of Cummins.
Replays indicated he was given out incorrectly, but with the review already used by Bairstow, he had to go, however, didn’t take it all that well, arguing with the umpires on his way off and throwing equipment around once he got back to the dressing room.
Roy may face a nervous wait now to find out if he will be suspended from the final for dissent, but there was nothing nervy about the way Joe Root (49 off 46) and Eoin Morgan 45 (39) finished off the game, holding the Aussie bowlers at bay and completing the job with a stunning 107 balls to spare.
The final will be played on Sunday, with the first ball scheduled for 10:30am local time – 7:30pm (AEST).
Australia: 10/223 (49) (Steve Smith 85, Alex Carey 46, Chris Woakes 3/20, Adil Rashid 3/54) defeated by England: 2/226 (32.1) (Jason Roy 85, Joe Root 49 not out, Eoin Morgan 45 not out, Pat Cummins 1/34) by eight wickets.