Australia has booked its ticket to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup with an impressive 64-run win over England at Lord’s.
With a result and performance that will have sent a serious statement, both to the rest of the world at this tournament and to England ahead of the Ashes, Australia’s fast bowlers and a fine Aaron Finch century combined to comprehensively outplay the much-fancied English at the home of cricket.
Finch scored exactly 100 to set the game up for Australia, and though it may have been a little disappointed to only reach 7-285 from its 50 overs, the score proved to be enough as the travelling team went to work with the ball.
It took only two balls for Australia to strike, with Jason Behrendorff — reinstated to the team and handed the brand new rock — producing a near unplayable delivery that ripped through James Vince and clean bowled him for a duck.
With its tail up, Australia continued to bowl a full line while looking to swing the ball, a strategy Mitchell Starc found to be successful when he trapped Joe Root plumb in front of his stumps on just 8.
Eoin Morgan was the next victim, hooking a Starc bouncer straight down Pat Cummins’s throat on the fine leg boundary, before a brief partnership was ended when Jonny Bairstow miscued a pull shot of his own off Behrendorff’s bowling to hand Cummins another catch.
At 4-53, Australia may have begun to think its work was done, but Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler set about forming England’s rearguard, and put on 70 to settle the innings.
But it would not last much longer. Buttler (25) hoiked Marcus Stoinis towards the square leg boundary, only to find the safe hands of Usman Khawaja who was patrolling it diligently.
With Stokes at the crease, England always seemed to be half a chance. His innings slowly gained momentum, and as he closed in on a century he had begun charging at Cummins and Starc, scoring freely and with some remarkable shots.
That was, until, Starc had the final say. He produced a yorker of the absolute highest quality to bowl Stokes on 89, who could scarcely believe the quality of the ball he had received. It was the perfect delivery, and it effectively ended the game.
Moeen Ali nicked off for a quickfire 8, Chris Woakes fell victim to some marvellous teamwork between Glenn Maxwell and Finch on the mid-wicket boundary on 26 and Jofra Archer holed out to long-off — all of a sudden, Behrendorff had five well-deserved wickets.
He finished with 5-44 as Starc picked up the final wicket to claim 4-43 of his own. Adil Rashid chipped one harmlessly to cover for 25 to end the match and complete Australia’s handsome victory. (Courtesy ABC News)