BIRMINGHAM: Hometown hero Chris Woakes saluted England’s ‘incredible’ eight-wicket demolition of Australia as the hosts swaggered into their first World Cup final since 1992.
Woakes won the man-of-the-match award on his home ground at Edgbaston after taking 3-20 in a lethal eight-over spell that included the key wicket of opener David Warner.
Thanks to Woakes and fellow pacemen Jofra Archer, Australia collapsed to 14-3 and never really recovered as they were dismissed for 223.
England took just 32.1 overs to reach their victory target and book their final date with New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday.
Woakes admitted it was a perfect day for England, who have never won the 50-over World Cup.
“I’m pretty speechless. It was an incredible performance from the whole team, started well with the bowling and then the batting was outstanding,” Woakes told Sky Sports. “The way we have produced the goods shows how good we are and we’re really pleased.
“I don’t think it was a bad wicket, we just found the right length and they had to rebuild and we kept the pressure on. We got off to a flyer and when chasing a relatively small total, that’s the difference.”
Woakes admitted England’s stars had been nervous ahead of their country’s first World Cup semi-final since 1992, but they quickly banished the butterflies with a blistering start.
“There were some nerves around this morning, a few anxious people in the dressing room but that’s natural,” Woakes said. “I just got my length wrong for the first ball. A world-class player in David Warner is going to put that away. But I got my length right after that and felt good.”
England have lost all three of their previous World Cup finals, against Pakistan in 1992, Australia in 1987 and the West Indies in 1979.
Asked how it felt to help take England to within touching distance of their first World Cup crown, Woakes said his team had tried their best to block out the potentially historic nature of their campaign.
“We have tried not to think about getting to the final, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.
He added: “We were tipped as favourites so it was important to get to the semi-final in the first place and then to win this in this fashion against this Australia side on the best ground in the world is amazing.”
England captain Eoin Morgan said it was the confidence of his side which paid off handsomely..
“Having beaten India at this ground, we’d have come here with similar confidence, taken the momentum from the group stages,” Morgan said. “We talk about getting better and better, we set the tone from ball one and got on top.
“Looking back to where we were in 2015, it’s a dramatic improvement. Everyone in the dressing-room can take credit. We want to make the most of the opportunity.”
Morgan’s Australian counterpart Finch admitted England were deserving winners after outplaying his team in all three departments.
Losing to their arch-rivals in front of a gleeful Edgbaston crowd was a painful way for Australia to surrender the trophy they had won four times in the past five tournaments.
But Finch, who was out for a duck, conceded England had been far superior.
“We were totally outplayed today. We expected the new ball to seam a little but they bowled a great length, hitting the stumps a lot,” Finch said. “We had to have a lot things go right for us. We had to take our chances and bowl them out.
“We tried to take wickets but when you are aggressive with the ball and they are aggressive with the bat, things can happen very quickly.”
England openers Jason Roy, who hit 85 from 65 balls, and Jonny Bairstow, who made 34, took the game away from Australia with a superb 124-run partnership for the first wicket.
“They played exceptionally well. We know how dominant they are when they get on top. You’ve got a very good cricket team in England,” Finch said.
Although Australia had beaten England easily in the group stage at Lord’s, they were a shadow of the team that eased into the semi-finals with seven wins from nine matches.
For just the second time in the past seven World Cups, Australia have failed to make the final, but Finch said he was proud of his team’s efforts 12 months after they were crushed 5-0 by England in a one-day international series.
“We have a lot of positives from the campaign. We’ve come a long way from when we were in England a year ago,” he said. “We came here thinking we could win the tournament. We’ve had backs to the wall and character shown and I’m proud of how the group have progressed but it still hurts. “
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR D.A. Warner c Bairstow b Woakes 9 11 2 0 81.81 A.J. Finch lbw b Archer 0 1 0 0 0.00 S.P.D. Smith run out 85 119 6 0 71.42 P.S.P. Handscomb b Woakes 4 12 0 0 33.33 A.T. Carey c sub b Rashid 46 70 4 0 65.71 M.P. Stoinis lbw b Rashid 0 2 0 0 0.00 G.J. Maxwell c Morgan b Archer 22 23 2 1 95.65 P.J. Cummins c Root b Rashid 6 10 0 0 60.00 M.A. Starc c Buttler b Woakes 29 36 1 1 80.55 J.P Behrendorff b Wood 1 4 0 0 25.00 N.M. Lyon not out 5 6 0 0 83.33
EXTRAS (LB-6, W-10) 16 - - - --
TOTAL (all out, 49 overs) 223 - - - -- FALL OF WKTS: 1-4 (Finch, 1.1 ov), 2-10 (Warner, 2.4 ov), 3-14 (Handscomb, 6.1 ov), 4-117 (Carey, 27.2 ov), 5-118 (Stoinis, 27.6 ov), 6-157 (Maxwell, 34.5 ov), 7-166 (Cummins, 37.4 ov), 8-217 (Smith, 47.1 ov), 9-217 (Starc, 47.2 ov), 10-223 (Behrendorff, 48.6 ov). BOWLING: Woakes 8-0-20-3; Archer 10-0-32-2 (2w); Stokes 4-0-22-0; Wood 9-0-45-1 (4w); Plunkett 8-0-44-0 (3w); Adil Rashid 10-0-54-3 (1w).
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR J.J. Roy c Carey b Cummins 85 65 9 5 130.76 J.M. Bairstow lbw b Starc 34 43 5 0 79.06 J.E. Root not out 49 46 8 0 106.52 E.J.G. Morgan not out 45 39 8 0 115.38 EXTRAS (LB-1, W-12) 13 - - - -- TOTAL (for two wkts, 32.1 overs) 226 - - - -- FALL OF WKTS: 1-124 (Bairstow, 17.2 ov), 2-147 (Roy, 19.4 ov). DID NOT BAT: B.A. Stokes, J.C. Buttler, C.R. Woakes, L.E. Plunkett, Adil Rashid, J.C. Archer, M.A. Wood. BOWLING: Behrendorff8.1-2-38-0 (1w); Starc 9-0-70-1 (3w); Cummins 7-0-34-1 (2w); Lyon 5-0-49-0; Smith 1-0-21-0 (1w); Stoinis 2-0-13-0 (1w).
RESULT: England won by eight wickets. UMPIRES: H.D.P.K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and M. Erasmus (South Africa). TV UMPIRE: C.B. Gaffaney (New Zealand). MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka). MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Chris Woakes. FINAL: England vs New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019