England comfortably saw off defending champions Australia in Birmingham to book their spot in the final at Lord’s against New Zealand. Here are our talking points from the second CWC 2019 semi-final.
The Cricket World Cup will have a new winner
Sunday’s final will be between New Zealand and England- two nations who have never won the Cricket World Cup before. We’re therefore guaranteed a new winner- the first such champion since Sri Lanka’s victory back in 1996. Given Australia’s domination of the event over the last two decades, this will come as a whiff of fresh air.
Australia lose a CWC semi-final for the first time in their history
Australia had competed in seven CWC semi-finals before this, and had advanced from all. Today though was a bridge too far for them- with injuries to Khawaja and Shaun Marsh and Stoinis & Starc not exactly 100%, they were no match for England’s power game at the Bear Pit.
Archer and Woakes do the damage at the top; Steve Smith wages a lone battle
David Warner seemed pumped up for this occasion at the anthem and started the game with a beautiful drive for four. However Jofra Archer trapped Finch LBW in the first ball of his spell and Warner followed soon after being forced to fend a rising Chris Woakes delivery to Jonny Bairstow at slip. Finch and Warner had done the bulk of Australia’s scoring in this tournament, and like with India, the Australian middle order couldn’t quite salvage the situation. Steve Smith waged a lone battle and had some support from Alex Carey but Australia could only muster 220 odd on a very good batting wicket.
Jos Buttler’s “nutmeg” run out of Steve Smith
Smith, as mentioned before, stood between England and a quick Australian capitulation, and had taken the visitors past 200 in the company of Mitch Starc. Just as it seemed he would take them to 250, he was dismissed by a brilliant run out from Jos Buttler, with the ball literally “nutmegging” Smith en route to the stumps. Instead of the 240-250 they had hoped for, Australia were dismissed for only 223.
Adil Rashid comes good for England
Australia had been in similar sticky situations in the 1996, 1999 and 2003 semi-finals, but had emerged victorious in each of them. Here at Edgbaston, Alex Carey and Steve Smith had settled the ship and just as they were looking to press on the accelerator, Adil Rashid stepped in with two vital wickets. He first had Carey caught on the deep midwicket boundary and then had Marcus Stoinis dismissed for a duck- a delivery that reminded one of Mushtaq Ahmed’s one to Graeme Hick in the 1992 final.
Will Sachin Tendulkar’s record for most runs at the World Cup stay intact?
Rohit Sharma and David Warner were both into the 600’s prior to their respective semi-final clashes, but both fell cheaply and with India and Australia’s exits from the tournament, Tendulkar’s 673 run record looks like it will be safe. It’ll need a mega hundred from either of Joe Root or Kane Williamson or Sunday if they are to surpass the Little Master.