World Cup 2019: Defending champs Australia out!
Bowlers and opener Jason Roy (85) help England reach their first final in 27 years with an eight-wicket victory over arch-rivals Australia; to face New Zealand in Lord's final on Sunday
Birmingham: A new world champion will emerge from Sunday's England v New Zealand World Cup final clash at Lord's. Yesterday, the hosts outplayed holders Australia in the second semi-final by eight wickets at their favourite hunting ground — Edgbaston — to confirm they are firm favourites to claim the title for the first time on their final fourth appearance.
After New Zealand had stunned India in the first semi-final at Manchester, the pundits were expecting a repeat of the Trans-Tasman final of the 2015 World Cup. But it was just not Australia's day and they were outplayed by their traditional rivals in what can be termed as a one-sided game at a venue where England have not lost to them in any format since 2001.
This was also the first time Australia had lost a semi-final in the World Cup. More than the Australian bowlers, it was an umpire's decision that induced some tense moments for England. Kumar Dharmasena gave a rampaging Jason Roy (85) caught behind down the leg side when he made no contact with the ball.
As England had unfortunately lost the review in the earlier plumb dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, the batsman had no choice but to walk back to the pavilion, but not before having a few words with the umpires. He surely deserved a century after the way he tamed the bowling right from the beginning. And had he been at the crease, the match would have concluded much earlier than 17.5 overs to spare.
Also Read: World Cup 2019: England hammer Australia to reach first World Cup final since 1992
England's performance was in stark contrast to India's chase at Manchester on Wednesday, as requiring a none-too-formidable 224, the home team openers Roy and Bairstow virtually ended the match as a contest by putting on a blistering opening stand of 124. From thereon, though England lost both openers, Joe Root (49) and Eoin Morgan (45) ensured there were no further hiccups.
Of course, credit is due to the England bowlers too. When Australia opted to bat first, it seemed they would tear into the England bowling and put up a big enough total to bat the home team out of the match. But like India's fate in the opening overs, Australia were three down without much on the scoreboard and from thereon it was an uphill battle for their batsmen. It was only the effort of Steve Smith (85) that they get to a total which was barely respectable.
Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer bowled with fire and venom, with Archer sending back skipper Aaron Finch with his first ball and Woakes getting rid of the in-form David Warner and Peter Handscomb. Smith then continued the resistance right till the end till he was run out by a brilliant throw by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, 15 short of a century.
Rashid on top
After the initial damage by the pacers, leg-spinner Adil Rashid had his best match of the World Cup, grabbing three important wickets in the middle overs and the seamers came back to end the Australian innings in 49 overs. It was an unimpressive end for the five-time champions, who now leave the field to either England or New Zealand to engrave their name on the World Cup on Sunday.
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