Sport Cricket ‘Totally outplayed’: Australia thrashed by England in World Cup shocker

‘Totally outplayed’: Australia thrashed by England in World Cup shocker

Joe Root of England celebrates as Eoin Morgan of England scores the winning runs to secure victory ov er Australia in the semi-final. Photo: Getty
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Australia’s Cricket World Cup defence is over after Aaron Finch’s side were thrashed by England in a one-sided semi-final on Friday morning (AEST).

Set 224 for victory, England lost just two wickets in a routine run chase that it completed with more than 17 overs remaining.

Jason Roy hammered five sixes in a 65-ball 85 for the victors, who will now play New Zealand in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.

Australia made a horror start with the bat and was soon 3-14 as Aaron Finch (0), David Warner (9) and Peter Handscomb (4) all failed.

Steve Smith (85) and a brave 46 from a wounded Alex Carey helped Australia to 223 all out but it was never enough against a England side who, in response, plundered 116 runs from its first 16 overs.

England and New Zealand have never won the Cricket World Cup, meaning history will be made on Sunday.

Australia lost form at the wrong time, the five-time champions ending the tournament on the back of successive defeats.

There was at least a slice of history for Mitchell Starc, though, the left-armer becoming the highest wicket-taker (27) in a single World Cup in tournament history.

Australia has now failed to win any of its past 15 matches at Edgbaston, a peculiar trend at the Birmingham venue ahead of this year’s Ashes series, which begins at the same ground on August 1.

Of those 15 matches, five have ended without a result due to weather, while one was a drawn Test in July 2009.

“We were just totally outplayed today,” Finch confessed afterwards.

“They set the tone in the first 10 overs … they bowled a great length. They [England batsmen] played exceptionally well. We know how dynamic and dominant they are when they get on top of attacks. We didn’t quite execute.”

Despite defeat, Finch insisted that there were “still a lot of positives to take out of the whole World Cup campaign”.

England captain Eoin Morgan hailed new-ball bowlers Chris Woakes (3-20) and Jofra Archer (2-32) as “absolutely outstanding” and said Roy and opening partner Jonny Bairstow (34) gave his side a “huge advantage” with their attacking batting.

The pair raced through a 124-run partnership that was only halted when Bairstow required treatment for an apparent groin injury.

Finch tried everything but Starc (1-70), Jason Behrendorff (0-38), Pat Cummins (1-34) and Nathan Lyon (0-49) had no initial joy as the boundaries flowed with ease.

Australia’s plight was best summed up when Finch, in desperation, threw part-timer Smith the ball, with 21 runs – including three successive Roy sixes – coming from a solitary over.

Starc came back into the attack to remove Bairstow lbw, a decision bizarrely reviewed. And that choice left Roy without any options when he was robbed of a century by a very dubious decision that saw him given out caught behind off the bowling of Cummins.

Roy repeatedly argued the decision and is likely to face sanction for dissent but it mattered little to the result as Joe Root (49 not out) and Morgan (45 not out) saw England home with 107 deliveries remaining.

Earlier, Australia was in disarray, Finch trapped lbw by an Archer inswinger from the very first ball he faced.

Warner joined Finch in the pavilion in the third over when he edged an outstanding Woakes delivery that leapt up off the surface and the next wicket seemed only a matter of time away as Smith and Handscomb looked desperately uncomfortable against the swinging ball.

Man-of-the-match Woakes provided it, bowling Handscomb, who endured a miserable World Cup debut as a replacement for the injured Usman Khawaja.

Carey was then hit by an Archer bouncer that drew blood and knocked off his helmet.

Patched up, bandaged and still carrying his blood on his shirt, Carey got to work as he and Smith combined for an important 103-run partnership.

Carey’s timing and Smith’s industry raised hopes of a 250-plus total for Australia but the 28th over, delivered by Adil Rashid, proved crucial. 

The leg-spinner went for 29 runs from his first four overs but hit back to have Carey caught in the deep before dismissing Marcus Stoinis (0) lbw just four balls later.

From 3-117 to 5-118, Australia was again in a perilous state, and although a partnership between Smith and Glenn Maxwell (22) was briefly threatening, the Victorian was undone by an excellent Archer slower ball, before Cummins fell for six.

Smith and Starc (29) helped Australia scrap past 200 but a piece of individual brilliance ended the former’s innings, England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler throwing the stumps down at the non-striker’s end with a throw that went through Smith’s legs.

Starc was then caught behind off the next ball from Woakes and Behrendorff was bowled for one, leaving Australia bowled out with one over of its innings remaining.

And Australia’s score was nowhere near enough on an extremely disappointing day in Birmingham.