England are one step away from realizing what had been a distant dream of breaking a 43-year old wait of touching world cup glitter following an 8-wicket roasting of arch rivals Australia yesterday at Birmingham. The clinical semi-final win with 17.5 overs to spare has set up an England versus New Zealand final of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on Sunday July 14 at Lords. England last entered a World Cup final 27 years back.
Considered the home of cricket the English cannot have any better stage of scripting the final gallop to cup glory in cricket’s showpiece of events. To do so would be the fulfillment of a long bugging dream to the nation that gave the rest of the world such a wonderfully enthralling game.
Yesterday’s triumph stopped reigning champions Australia’s eighth successive semi-final bid. The utterly one sided triumph did reinsulated the host country in the odds on favourite glamour which Eoin Morgan’s charges had regained in storming to the semi-finals after tripping on the way. In demolishing Australia, England rediscovered the fire power aura Eoin Morgan had built around since 2015. Australia caved in for 223 on a lethal pace bowling by Jofra Archer who wrenched out openers Aaron Finch and David Warner in quick succession for Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid to capitalise on.
Australia catapulted despite a rear guard 85 by Steve Smith who figured in a century fifth-wicket alliance with Alex Carey, who braved a bleeding chin injury from a delivery by Archer, in repairing the innings. The fight was over for Australia when Smith departed to a run out.
England’s victory thrust was fronted by Jason Roy in a spellbinding onslaught to 85 filled with sixes including three successive blows off Smith. Man of the Match Roy was controversially ruled caught behind by umpire Kumar Dharmasena with replays showing their was no contact with the ball. He and Johnny Bairstow smashed 50 in the first power play. Joe Root (49) and Morgan (45) took England to victory in an unfinished alliance of 79.
England 226/2 (32.1 Overs)
(Roy 85, Root 49 n.o. , Morgan 45 n.o.)
Australia 223 (49 Overs)
(Smith 85, Woakes 3/20, Rashid 3/54)
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-