Set just 224 for victory, England never looked in doubt as they ended a 27 year drought to cruise into a famed World Cup Final on home soil at Edgbaston.
Claiming just two wins through the entire 2018, the Australian ODI outfit underwent a timely form turnaround prior to the World Cup. Claiming their sixth World Cup title appeared to be an unthinkable feat 6 months ago but was now a growing possibility as the Aussie’s finished second in the group stage and had already toppled England in their first encounter.
That group stage loss was a chip on the shoulder for England, with Australia exploiting their weakness against left arm quicks to roll the world’s highest ranked ODI side for just 221. With the heartache of the loss still raw, England went to work on the issue, bringing in the best left arm net bowlers they could find so they would be better equipped the second time around.
And better equipped they were, after Chris Woakes (3-20), Adil Rashid (3-54) and Jofra Archer (2-32) cleaned up Australia for 223 England never looked back. A monster batting performance saw them chase down the total with 17.5 overs remaining and eight wickets in hand.
It was a nightmare for Australia start when firebrand quick Jofra Archer trapped Aaron Finch for an all too familiar lbw and first ball of the innings golden duck. The Australian pain compounded when the skipper burnt their only DRS challenge with an unsuccessful review.
David Warner showed encouraging signs early before snicking off to Woakes for nine. Peter Handscomb never looked comfortable in what was a big stage for his 2019 World Cup debut, cleaned up by Chris Woakes for a shaky four and leaving Australia reeling at 3-14 off 6.1 overs.
Newly promoted Alex Carey and ex-captain Steve Smith combined to keep Australia in the contest with a fighting 103 run partnership.
Alex Carey was felled early in his innings by a brutal Archer bouncer that left him blood stained and needing stitches. Displaying admirable courage and true Aussie spirit, the gutsy left hander batted on.
Carey was left looking more like a rugby player than cricketer with his head bandaged after the incident
Carey was eventually dismissed for 46 off 70 by Adil Rashid, leaving the crease with Australia in a more comfortable position at 4-117 off 27.2 overs.
Marcus Stoinis maintained his horror tournament falling in the same Rashid over for a two ball duck.
Glenn Maxwell managed to provide a small glimpse of his customary razzle-dazzle in a 23 ball 22 but fell victim to Jofra Archer.
Australia’s tail, most notably Mitchell Starc (29 off 36), bought some valuable time for Smith to continue ply his trade and hold the innings together with a pivotal 119 ball 85, before being undone by a Jos Buttler run out.
With Starc gone the very next ball their wasn’t much resistance to come from the lower order, Australia all out for 223 with an over to play.
Any nerves in the England dressing room were put to bed early as Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow completely blew Australia out of the water.
A blistering 124 run opening partnership from just 17.2 overs was bought to an end when Jonny Bairstow (34 off 43) was trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc (1-70). The wicket Starc’s 27th for the tournament, breaking fellow countryman Glenn McGrath’s record for most wickets in a World Cup.
Jason Roy’s breath taking innings was bought to a premature end when he was controversially given out, caught off his glove to a wayward Pat Cummins (1-34) bouncer. Roy immediately reviewed the decision, but the Aussies pointed out that their lone review had been wasted on Jonny Bairstow.
Roy was understandably fuming having come just 15 runs short of a coveted Semi Final century with a 65 ball 85. He didn’t hold back in letting the umpires know how he felt either, later fined by the ICC and narrowly avoiding suspension from the tournaments pinnacle.
Jason Roy unleashed a verbal tirade on the umpires
Roy’s dismissal left the hosts needing just 76 runs to win with over 30 overs remaining. Eoin Morgan (45 not out off 39) and Joe Root (49 not out of 46) steered the host nation to their first World Cup knockout game win since 1992, ending years of English heartbreak and lifting the hopes of a nation.
England will now face New Zealand in a blockbuster final at Lord’s on Sunday, desperately hoping to reap the rewards of four years of white ball focus with their first ever World Cup title.