Cricket World Cup 2019: England reach final after beating Australia by eight wickets

Eoin Morgan and Joe Root celebrate
Eoin Morgan and Joe Root celebrate

England booked their place in Sunday's Cricket World Cup final at Lord's with a commanding eight-wicket victory over Australia at Edgbaston.

England won by eight wickets

Australia 224 all out: Smith 85, Carey 46; Woakes 3-20 Rashid 3-54

England 226-2: Roy 85, Root 49*, Morgan 45*


Report

England are one win away from lifting their first Cricket World Cup after booking their spot in Sunday's final against New Zealand at Lord's thanks to an eight-wicket thrashing of Australia.

It's the first time they've reached the climax of the 50-over showpiece since they defeat to Pakistan in 1992 while they lost their two other finals in this competition to Australia in 1987 and West Indies in 1979.

Their 13th triumph over their old rivals in 16 meetings dating back to September 2015 was their most important and also ended the Aussies' 100% record in World Cup semi-finals, with this being their eighth outing at this stage.

The defending champions, bidding for their sixth title, had the better of things when the two sides met in the group stage at Lord's a few weeks ago but they were readily overpowered when it really mattered at Edgbaston, their batting proving ill-equipped to deal with England's pace attack while their own bowling was ineffective as Jason Roy blasted a brutal 85 in a comfortable chase of 224, which they completed with 107 balls to spare.

Australian captain Aaron Finch would have hoped for a much better day when winning the toss and opting to bat first on a good-looking pitching but his smile soon faded away, Jofra Archer pinning him LBW with a sharp inswinger first ball before David Warner was soon following his opening partner back to the pavilion after he was undone by a sharp lifter from Chris Woakes that he could only fend to first slip.

When Peter Hasdscomb's painful return to international cricket ended with him losing his stumps to another superb Woakes delivery, Australia were on the ropes at 14-3 but Steve Smith produced a typically wholehearted response and found a fine ally in wicket-keeper Alex Carey, himself promoted to number five in the order following his impressive maiden World Cup.

The pair fought hard and thanks to some crisp striking from Carey and Smith's clever manipulation of the field, they moved the score to 117-3 before the former perished in the deep off the bowling off Adil Rashid for an excellent 46.

Carey's efforts were all the more commendable after he had received a nasty blow from a searing Archer bouncer when only moments into his stay at the crease, the ball having enough force to dislodge the Australian's helmet and draw blood from his chin as he was surrounded by concerned England players.

After a short delay as he received medical attention, Carey played with all the class and maturity that will surely see him elevated to Test level before too long but his dismissal all but ended Australia's hopes of posting a sizeable total, Marcus Stoinis failing only four balls later after he played back to a Rashid googly that left pinned LBW for a duck.

Glenn Maxwell's latest cameo ended on 20 when England skipper Eoin Morgan brought Archer (2-32) back into the attack and despite finding the boundary with strong pull shot in front of square, he never looked comfortable against the pace the Sussex man was generating and he duly popped up a simple catch to cover a few moments later.

Rashid (3-54) finished his excellent day's work when Pat Cummins edged to slip before Jos Buttler's pinpoint throw from left Smith inches short at the non-strikers end to curtail his fine rearguard of 85 and put Australia on the brink.

Woakes (3-20) and Mark Wood (1-45) then returned to close out the innings, the former picking up his third wicket when ending Mitchell Starc's (29) stubborn resistance before the Durham man yorked Jason Behrendorff, a first pump signalling the end of the innings and a job well done.

In reply, Roy and Jonny Bairstow were initially watchful, mindful not to repeat the mistakes of Lord's, but they soon found their groove with the former in particularly devastating mood.

Bairstow was happy to play second fiddle to Roy and was first to be dismissed having contributed 34 in an opening partnership of 124, an otherwise poor Starc finally getting one on the money and wrapping his former Yorkshire teammate on the pads.

A wasted review from Bairstow meant Roy was robbed of a deserved century not long after, the Surrey opener adjudged to have feathered a catch behind when taking on a Cummins short ball, but the damage was already done, Joe Root (49*) and Morgan (45*) putting the finishing touches to a most comprehensive display with a unbroken partnership of 79.

Awaiting England at Lord's on Sunday will be New Zealand after they overcame India in dramatic fashion at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The final will now be screened on Channel 4 as well as Sky Sports.

Reaction

England captain Eoin Morgan: "I am delighted. I would like to thank the fans to start, we've had unbelievable support. Today is a good example of just going out and setting the tone from ball one."

On Woakes, Morgan said: "I am extremely happy for him. He's a cool customer, he's been one of the best bowlers in the first 10 overs for a couple of years and today was his day."

Joe Root: "It's very special. From ball two we were outstanding. The way we applied pressure, asked good questions, it makes it very difficult to come back.

"The partnership between Smith and Carey was good, but the way we fought back to get back on top was really pleasing."

On England's chase, he said: "You have to be very focused on what you need to do. I thought the way they played the first four, five overs was outstanding. We were less than 10 off four, then once they got used to the surface they cashed in."

On facing New Zealand, he added: "They're a smart side, they think outside the box, will do things differently, have world-class performers, know how to win close games, they are formidable. They punch above their weight and like the big occasion. Very excited, can't wait to get down and enjoy it for the first time."

Man of the Match Chris Woakes: "There were some nerves around this morning, a few anxious people in the dressing room but that's natural. The way we have produced the goods shows how good we are and we're really pleased.

"I don't think it was a bad wicket, we just found the right length and they had to rebuild and we kept the pressure on. We got off to a flyer and when chasing a relatively small total, that's the difference.

"A couple of weeks ago it looked like we might be out so that feels extra special. In hindsight, that has helped us and we have played some of our best cricket.

"We were never going to be timid and we were always going to take the attack to the Aussies.

"In previous games (which England lost) we weren't busy enough, we got stuck in block mode. We got it wrong but today we got it right."

Jofra Archer: "It's been a really good team effort and a team that peaks at the right time is the team that will win. It was something special today. I did what was best for the team, I would have been happy to not do as well and win."

On cutting Carey's face, Archer said: "I feel bad as he's supposed to play with me at Sussex!"

Asked by Sky Sports on making the final: "It sounds excellent," he said. "It will be a special moment."

Losing captain Aaron Finch: "We were totally outplayed today. We expected the new ball to seam a little but they bowled a great length, hitting the stumps a lot. We have a lot of positives from the campaign, we've come a long way from when we were in England a year ago.

"We came here thinking we could win the tournament. We've had backs to the wall and character shown and I'm proud of how the group have progressed but it still hurts."

On Bairstow and Roy, he added: "They played exceptionally well, we know how dominant they are when they get on top. You've got a very good cricket team in England."

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