World Cup 2019: Roy, bowlers shine as England storms into final

Chasing Australia’s 223, which largely rested upon Steve Smith’s 85 (119b, 6x4), England scored 226 for two in 32.1 overs with Jason Roy’s marauding 85 (65b, 9x4, 5x6) head-lining the triumph.

England’s pursuit soared upon its regular template of muscular batting exemplified by Jonny Bairstow and Roy.   -  getty images

England fans with their ‘we are bringing it home’ slogans specific to the World Cup, had plenty to cheer at a packed Edgbaston here on Thursday. Eoin Morgan’s men dished out a commanding performance in the semifinal against old foe Australia. An eight-wicket victory was sealed and New Zealand awaits in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.

Chasing Australia’s 223, which largely rested upon Steve Smith’s 85 (119b, 6x4), England scored 226 for two in 32.1 overs with Jason Roy’s marauding 85 (65b, 9x4, 5x6) head-lining the triumph.

As it happened| ENG vs AUS

Roy puts Australia to the sword

Roy was in blazing form during England's thrashing semifinal victory over Australia.   -  getty images

 

England’s pursuit soared upon its regular template of muscular batting exemplified by Jonny Bairstow and Roy. The openers gauged the bowlers before Roy dismantled the Australian attack. Two fours were pounded in an over off Mitchell Starc and disdain emanated from Roy’s blade as he moved across and flicked a six off the speedster over fine-leg.

Bairstow played his part, mostly second-fiddle, but it was Roy’s day. Nathan Lyon was greeted with a thunderous six and when Australian captain Aaron Finch gambled on Smith, the part-timer was hoisted for three mammoth sixes in an over that yielded a bountiful 21. Finch swapped his bowlers and changed the field but nothing could stymie Roy's aerial assault.

If there was a worry, it centred around Bairstow, who slipped and hurt his leg. In a while, he perished to Starc but by then the first-wicket pair had added 124 in 17.2 overs. The batsman, however, wasted a review and that came back to haunt when Roy was wrongly adjudged out caught behind to Pat Cummins, by Kumar Dharmasena. There was no edge but Roy could not seek a review as Bairstow had finished the quota.   

But England stayed unruffled as Joe Root got quickly off the blocks, whipping and cutting while Morgan survived the customary barrage of bouncers and essayed his impetuous strokes. And when the winning strike came, the skies opened up on cue and a drizzle commenced.   

Archer, Woakes run amok

Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer ran through the Autsralian line-up.   -  getty images

 

Earlier, after Finch elected to bat, he immediately became part of the batting horrors. Shaping to defend, Finch got trapped in front by Jofra Archer. The captain sought a review but found no relief.  

David Warner lashed two fours but failed to withdraw his bat in time when Chris Woakes (three for 20) extracted some lift from the surface. The edge was taken and England supporters, who previously had booed the opener, now bellowed from the stands. The speedster then castled Peter Handscomb and Australia was 14 for three in the seventh over.

If Australia partially shrugged that initial skid and went past the 200-mark, credit is due to Smith and the way he guided a few partnerships. First, he linked with Alex Carey in a 103-run alliance for the fourth-wicket. The first steps were laced with fear and some blood as Archer slammed one into Carey’s helmet and the southpaw suffered a cut on his face.

Smith, Carey revive Aussies

Steve Smith and Alex Carey tried to revive Australia's innings with a resilient partnership.   -  getty images

 

Medical aid was provided and Carey wrapped a long bandage around his face. The nerves were eased when he drove Woakes and Smith pulled Ben Stokes. The two remained industrious and Carey drove and swept. Fidgety before the ball is released but always in a state of zen-serenity when the projectile heads his way, Smith drove Liam Plunkett straight down and all seemed fine with the universe.

But as it happens when a partnership ebbs, wickets fell in clusters. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid scalped Carey and Marcus Stoinis and Australia wobbled at 118 for five in the 28th over. Smith, though, remained unfettered and added valuable runs with Glenn Maxwell and Starc.

Smith succumbed in the slog as he failed to beat wicket-keeper Jos Buttler’s throw and walked away to boos from an audience keen to remind him of last year’s ball-tampering crisis. At the break, Australia’s total seemed reasonable but it proved illusory as Roy seized the clash with his inimitable aggressive style.