England’s Dominant Victory in World Cup 2019 Semi-final Against Australia

England played a fantastic match, led by Jason Roy in the victory over Australia in the World Cup 2019 semifinal.

This triumph demonstrated England’s supremacy in the ODI format in addition to advancing them to the final.

England’s Dominant Victory in World Cup 2019 Semi-final Against Australia
Jason Roy secured England's victory. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Australia 223 (Smith 85, Woakes 3-20, Rashid 3-54) lost to England 221 (Roy 85, Root 49*, Morgan 45*) by eight wickets.

England put an end to the tension and brought back the thunder that propelled the team to the top of the global ODI rankings.

How’s that old song sounding once more? 30 years of pain? Add another forty-four and counting (and no, unlike in the song, England’s cricketers definitely stopped dreaming for at least twenty of those). All of it is suddenly up for grabs, though. With the wind at their backs and fortunes resoundingly in their favor, back home. This time, is it heading home? You really never will believe it if you don’t believe it now.

There is no doubt about that. On Sunday, New Zealand will play in the World Cup final at Lord’s, where a new side will undoubtedly win the title for the first time since Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1996. But today was the day that England cast aside their anxiety and resurrected the clamor that had propelled them to the top of the world ODI rankings, despite their initial trepidation, wobbles, niggles, and doubts.

Simply said, Australia isn’t supposed to lose World Cup knockout games by this wide of a margin. The captain of England, Eoin Morgan, who has transformed this squad since the agony of 2015, aptly completed the triumph with a swipe over long-on despite the fact that they had not lost any of their previous seven trips to the semi-finals.

This was a throwback performance of a more recent genre from England, after they had adjusted their gung-ho attitudes to haul themselves into the last four. The day had dawned with a sort of anticipation not truly witnessed in an England vs Australia contest since that seismic Ashes Test at Edgbaston in 2005. After a generation of subjection, England understood then as today that they had their opponents beat, but history cannot be dismissed lightly.

Or so we could have thought. Rather than giving up so easily at Lord’s a couple of weeks ago, which had put their tournament in jeopardy, England showed a performance that was far more akin to that 481-run thumping at Trent Bridge. Instead, they adopted the same mentality that had thrashed Australia 5-0 in their bilateral series just a year before.

England’s mantra from the start was ferocity, both with the ball and the bat. Not even the loss of an apparent crucial toss could unsettle them, as Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer skillfully outwitted Australia’s totemic openers, Aaron Finch and David Warner, in the space of 16 balls. 

Adil Rashid then produced the performance of his life to undermine a valiant comeback from Steve Smith and Alex Carey, who batted on valiantly after Archer delivered a vicious blow to his chin that required stitches.

After that, it was all over to Jason Roy, the star of England’s tournament regardless of what the outcome would be. With a very clever combination of prudence and growing conceit, Roy reached a below-average target of 224. He and Jonny Bairstow showed the maturity gained from past tournament mishaps to dismiss a momentarily dangerous Mitchell Starc, but they still held the authority to flog anyone who ventured outside of their lines without consequence.

Roy started to accelerate when England was 50 for 0 and cruising at the end of the Powerplay. As Nathan Lyon entered the fray for the 11th over, he was hammered for six first balls, a familiar sight to English batsmen in past Ashes battles.

And Roy responded to Australia’s desperate attempt to get any kind of breakthrough by tossing the ball to Smith three times in a row. The third six, which went into the fourth tier of the new stand, was undoubtedly the biggest on this field since Andrew Flintoff’s famous shot of Brett Lee into what was then a construction site during that 2005 Test.

Also Read: Reliving England’s Epic 2019 Cricket World Cup Win: A Triumph Against All Odds

England’s Dominant Victory in World Cup 2019 Semi-final Against Australia
Speaking with his teammates prior to the second inning, Aaron Finch. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The only things that seemed certain to ruin England’s day were an accident and an injury, both of which surfaced momentarily – the first occurred when Bairstow needed medical attention after he strained his groin when turning for a second run. Before being dismissed for 34 by Starc (lbw), he was never nearly as smooth again. This dismissal cost England a review and significantly impacted the second turning point in England’s chase.

Roy was completely confused when umpire Kumar Dharmasena, who was apparently influenced at the last moment by Australia’s fervent pleas, somewhat apologetically raised his finger after Roy got into a draw at a bouncer from Pat Cummins on 85. When Roy gestured for the review, he was told he had none left, and he proceeded to go on an apoplectic tirade that belied the scope of the work remaining to be done.

Roy was then fined thirty percent of his match fee and given two demerit points. As a result, Roy will not lose his spot in the final with a total of three demerit points. However, it wasn’t in his absence from the crease either, as England moved easily over the finish line in an uninterrupted stand of 79 thanks to Joe Root’s usual gap-finding panache and Morgan’s growing confidence despite a few more embarrassing moments against the short ball.

In the twenty-seven years since they last competed in a World Cup final, England has experienced some utter humiliations, from Wellington in 2015 to Faisalabad in 1996. However, this was a performance that merits a same level of resonance.

After David Warner, pumped full of adrenaline to the gunwales despite the boos reverberating around him, leaned into a first-ball loosener from Woakes and stroked a cover-driven four that brought back memories of Phil DeFreitas to Michael Slater at the Gabba in 1994–95 – a four that supposedly lost the Ashes that very moment – Australia were ahead in the match for, at most, a single delivery.

To their credit, though, England rapidly and collectively adjusted. During the group stage loss at Lord’s, they were guilty of bowling too short when the circumstances were more conducive to swing. However, Woakes forced himself to retreat half a yard in order to bat with Jofra Archer, who was a much more potent first-baller, for the remainder of the over.

Finch’s campaign ended with scores of 8, 3, 0 – the first time in his ODI career that he’s earned three successive single-figure scores – and what a time to do it! Finch made 496 runs in his first seven World Cup innings. Though Archer absolutely nailed his length, he was a great jag-backer that would have smashed into middle and leg and a review torched as well. There was always a hunch that he’d be vulnerable to the one that formed back into his pads.

Warner was not going to back down. An incredible aggressive takeoff over Woakes’ head for an additional four proved he was still fired up for the match. However, Woakes’s reply was sharp and forceful. Leaping into the splice at the back of a length, Bairstow’s second slip clung onto a flier, a proper dismissal worthy of a Test match.

Woakes might have had a two-for-two as nervous and stuttering Peter Handscomb was pinned on the crease and only managed to survive a reviewed leg before wicket call thanks to the umpire’s call. However, Woakes dismissed him after a forgettable World Cup debut, bagging him 11 balls later with a hesitant inside-edge.

England’s Dominant Victory in World Cup 2019 Semi-final Against Australia
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan celebrating. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Australia had to dig deep to claw their way back into the match, and they found an ally in Carey, who had to have his entire head swaddled to deal with the gash in his chin from Archer’s nasty lifter. Smith was playing for his fourth half-century in as many World Cup knockout appearances.

After the duo gave England’s supporters a little trepidation with a fourth-wicket stand of 103, Rashid—whose shoulder had been ailing him throughout the tournament—produced the memorable over that his skipper had been prepping him for almost the entire previous four years.

Marcus Stoinis’ dismissal was brilliant, the biggest ripping googly of Rashid’s World Cup to date, the ideal welcome gift for a batsman who played hopelessly down the wrong line to be pinned on off stump for a second-ball duck. If Carey’s dismissal was careless, a loose swipe to cow corner where James Vince was lurking on the rope, then Stoinis’ was brilliant.

Smith worked even harder, but his supporting cast was insufficient once more. A brilliant knuckleball from Archer suckered Glenn Maxwell, causing him to lose a few kilometres per hour without showing any signs of change in movement as Morgan gathered a lob in the covers.

Cummins then poked another googly to slip. And the struggle was all but over when Smith himself was run out by an incredible shy that slithered through a seam in his groin and beat him to the crease. After seventeen episodes of Jason and Jonny’s show, there was really nothing left to do.

It’s off to Lord’s now, where England will enter the match with the swagger of a team that has already ripped the crown clean off the head of the defeated king, with due respect to Kane Williamson and co. for their own show-stealing performance against India. And so be it if it’s the exact attitude that will put their unsung opponents in the strongest position. It is difficult to imagine how England could regress following such a conspicuous triumph.

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