England outplay Australia to reach World Cup final after 27 years

England’s Jason Roy in action against Australia in the World Cup semifinal at Edgbaston on Thursday (Reuters Photo)

England beat Australia in the World Cup semifinal by 8 wickets and with 17.5 overs to spare at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Thursday to book their place in Sunday’s final at Lord’s against New Zealand. This is the first time since 1992 that England have progressed to the final of the World Cup.

Toss: Australia won the toss and elected to bat first.

First Innings: David Warner, Aaron Finch and Peter Handscomb were sent back to the hut by England by the 7th over, with a top order collapse threatening to end Australia’s hopes of progressing to the final very early on. Steve Smith put up a brave show before England bundled out Australia for 223. Smith scored 85 off 119 balls and formed crucial partnerships with Alex Carey (46) and Mitchell Starc (29) to guide the defending champions to a fighting total, even as England bowlers kept striking at regular intervals. For England, Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer took three wickets each.

Second Innings: Jonny Bairstow (34) and Jason Roy (85) put up a 124-run opening partnership in the first 17 overs, giving England control of the chase of 224. Mitchell Starc got Bairstow out in the 18th over, to give Australia their first foot in the door. Roy, who was scoring fluently, was adjudged caught behind in the 20th over, even though TV replays showed the ball missing the bat by a considerable distance. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan then came together at the crease, keeping the runs coming at a decent rate as Australia looked to have little option but to surrender to defeat.

Gamechanger: Jason Roy, for his commanding show with the bat at the start of the second innings, must be credited for deciding the course of the second semifinal. Australia had struggled to bat in the first innings, and at the mid-innings break, many were predicting that we would have another low-scoring affair like the first semifinal. However, Roy came out with other plans. He smashed nine fours and five sixes – the only sixes in the entire innings – on way to a quickfire 85.

Brief Scores: AUS 223 all out (49 overs) | ENG 226/2 (32.1 overs)