England beat Australia to reach Cricket World Cup final

Neil Fairbrother and Philip De Freitas celebrate. March 1992

Not since the 1987 final has Australia played England in a men's World Cup knockout fixture, but on Thursday night at Edgbaston, they will again.

Australia failed to win a World Cup semifinal for the first time in eight attempts, unable to defend a total of 223 that it limped to after being reduced to 14-3 after winning the toss.

They were quick and accurate and extracted the maximum possible movement out of the morning surface and although Steve Smith and Alex Carey were able to rebuild, Australia never truly recovered from that opening blitz. Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer bowled a hell of a spell.

Bairstow had already been dismissed by then for 34, leaving Eoin Morgan (45) and Joe Root (49) to see England home.

By the time Australia broke through, with Bairstow trapped lbw by Mitchell Starc, England were over half-way to their target with almost 32 overs remaining.

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.

"The first three or four overs was very intelligent batting".

The loss of England's opener did little to stop their charge towards to the final, as Root (49no) and captain Morgan (45no) clinched victory with a mammoth 107 balls spare.

"It's been a process for the last four years".

"We talk about getting better and better, we set the tone from ball one and got on top". "We have tried not to think about getting to the final, it hasn't sunk in yet", he said.

"So there was quite a drastic change in the way we played and the way we looked at playing our 50-over cricket". "I think that as a management, senior players, I'm sure over the next next couple of months or so we will sit down and start talking about that and start planning how we think that we can best plan and prepare and improve over the next four years to get us to go, well two steps further".

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.



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