Cricket World Cup 2019

England bare fangs and roar

England's Eoin Morgan and Joe Root rejoicing after deposing Australia in their semi-final at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Thursday. The hosts will meet New Zealand in the final tomorrow.
England's Eoin Morgan and Joe Root rejoicing after deposing Australia in their semi-final at Edgbaston, Birmingham, on Thursday. The hosts will meet New Zealand in the final tomorrow. PHOTO: REUTERS

Hosts not carried away by favourites' tag for final after rout of champs Australia

LONDON • The Cricket World Cup will have a new owner. Neither England nor New Zealand have ever won it, but they will now play each other at Lord's tomorrow after Eoin Morgan's players bared their teeth on the biggest sporting day of their lives.

They mauled Australia on Thursday, with what Kane Williamson's side may see as alarming ease.

Semi-finals can be fraught, nervy affairs but this was a thrashing - a glorious thrashing - as England won by eight wickets with almost 18 overs to spare at Edgbaston.

And Morgan has urged the hosts "to not shy away" from the pressure of the final as "it's a day to look forward to".

The England captain said: "We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It will be a matter of the same again, trying to produce everything that we can performance-wise."

But, having seen the Black Caps reduce India to 5-3 before going to achieve a surprise 18-run semi-final win on Wednesday, he is taking nothing for granted against a side who will be appearing in their second successive World Cup final.

"They bowled extremely well and took their opportunities. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it," said Morgan, whose team hammered New Zealand by 119 runs in the group stage.

By getting to the final for the fourth time, England have ensured the match will be screened on free-to-air TV in Britain - the first time this has happened since the 2005 Ashes series on home soil - and Morgan feels their achievement has made the sport "very cool".

"It's really good for the game and it's the game I love," he said. "If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you."

England have risen to the top of the one-day international rankings since a woeful first-round exit at the last edition of the quadrennial tournament and Thursday's success was their first win in the knockout phase since 1992.

They were dominant from the start against deposed champions Australia, who had never lost any of their previous seven semi-finals.

Despite losing the toss, England reduced Australia to 14-3, with Man of the Match Chris Woakes striking two early blows on his way to a return of 3-20.

Although their opponents recovered to 223 all out, it never looked like being enough, especially when England opener Jason Roy was blazing his way to 85 from 65 balls. He has hit 50 or more in six Cup innings.

While Australia captain Aaron Finch admitted his team put in "probably one of our worst performances for the tournament", they had no real answer to England's formidable bowling attack, and it is something New Zealand are also intimately familiar with.

However, England coach Trevor Bayliss does not want his players to get carried away by the "noise that you guys are now the favourites" ahead of their first final in 27 years.

The Australian, who yesterday also confirmed he would not be extending his current deal when it expires in September, told BBC radio: "We can't listen to any of that. We have not won anything yet.

"We have just got to concentrate on the way we have gone about our cricket over the past four years, and what has got us to this point and go through our process."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2019, with the headline 'England bare fangs and roar'. Print Edition | Subscribe