London: It was reminiscent of the Australian swagger of yore as Aaron Finch’s pacers bossed archrivals England on their way to the World Cup semifinals with a 64-run victory here Tuesday.
While Australia became the first team to reach the semifinals of the showpiece, England’s defeat, their second straight following the stunning reverse to Sri Lanka, made their path to the last four way tougher than it was not less than a week ago.
Captain Finch rose to the occasion with his second century of the tournament before England rallied to stop Australia at 285 for seven in their blockbuster showdown. Finch found the fence 11 times during his 116-ball knock and cleared it twice, with Moeen Ali being at the receiving end on both occasions. Finch and Warner shared another 100-plus stand for the first-wicket. It was the pair’s fifth successive partnership of 50 or more at the tournament, a World Cup record.
In reply, England found the left-arm pace duo of Jason Behrendorff (5/43) and Mitchell Starc (4/44) too hot to handle, capitulating to 221 all out in 44.4 overs. Ben Stokes waged a lone battle for his 89 off 115 balls.
England were off to the worst possible start, losing James Vince in only the second ball of the innings. Bigger blows awaited the hosts as the Lord’s saw in disbelief the quick departure of the in-from Joe Root followed by skipper Eoin Morgan.
At 26 for three in the sixth over, England were staring down the barrel against a side that is historically known to raise its game on the biggest stage, more so when the stakes are high.
England were pushed further down the abyss when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed by Jason Behrendorff, making it 53 for four in the 14th over.
With a 71-run partnership for the fifth wicket, Stokes and Jos Buttler somewhat rescued the innings, but the wicketkeeper-batsman got out after making 25 off 27 balls.
The match was as good as over when Starc bowled Stokes with one of the tournament’s finest yorkers to leave the home team reeling at 177 for six.
AUSTRALIA: Finch c Woakes b Archer 100, Warner c Root b Ali 53, Khawaja b Stokes 23, Smith c Archer b Woakes 38, Maxwell c Buttler b Wood 12, Stoinis run out 8, Carey not out 38, Cummins c Buttler b Woakes 1, Starc not out 4. EXTRAS: 8 (lb 4, w 4); TOTAL: 7-285 (in 50 overs). BOWLING: Woakes 10-0-46-2, Archer 9-0-56-1, Wood 9-0-59-1, Stokes 6-0-29-1, Ali 6-0-42-1, Rashid 10-0-49-0.
ENGLAND: Vince b Behrendorff 0, Bairstow c Cummins b Behrendorff 27, Root lbw b Starc 8, Morgan c Cummins b Starc 4, Stokes b Starc 89, Buttler c Khawaja b Stoinis 25, Woakes c Finch b Behrendorff 26, Ali c Carey b Behrendorff 6, Rashid c Stoinis b Starc 25, Archer c Warner b Behrendorff 1, Wood not out 1. EXTRAS: 9 (b 1, lb 5, w 3); TOTAL: 221 (in 44.4 overs). BOWLING: Behrendorff 10-0-44-5, Starc 8.4-1-43-4, Cummins 8-1-41-0, Lyon 9-0-43-0, Stoinis 7-0-29-1, Maxwell 2-0-15-0.