Dominant England thrash Australia to reach Cricket World Cup final

By Sports Desk July 11, 2019

Jason Roy spearheaded a superb all-round England display in a crushing eight-wicket victory over bitter rivals Australia to set up a Cricket World Cup final with New Zealand. 

The result marks an incredible turnaround for Eoin Morgan's side, who were on the brink of elimination in the group stage until back-to-back wins over India and the Black Caps secured a semi-final showdown with Australia at Edgbaston.

And on Thursday the hosts showed exactly why they were pre-tournament favourites, dismissing Steve Smith's men for 223 and chasing down their target with 17.5 overs to spare, thanks in large part to a swashbuckling 85 from Roy that was only ended following an incorrect call from umpire Kumar Dharmasena.

Roy and Jonny Bairstow (34) put on an opening stand of 124 after Chris Woakes (3-20), Adil Rashid (3-54) and Jofra Archer (2-32) had done the damage with the ball, with Joe Root (49 not out) and Morgan (45no) combining to see England comfortably over the line.

Australia won the toss and opted to bat but lost Aaron Finch, David Warner and Peter Handscomb early on before rebuilding through Steve Smith (85) and Alex Carey (46).

But England kept up the pressure, combining an excellent bowling performance with some first-rate fielding to limit the scope of the revival, taking key wickets at vital moments.

That left a strong batting line-up to take up the mantle, but only the top four were needed to get the job done, with a Lord's final – England's first in a World Cup since 1992 – up next.

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    Former England captain David Gower does not wholly subscribe to the belief the Cricket World Cup triumph will drastically alter the state of the game in the country as some are anticipating.

    Eoin Morgan's side captured the attention of the nation with a dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday – the hosts prevailing due to their superior boundary count after the scores were level at the end of both regulation play and a Super Over.

    The success was England's first triumph in the men's 50-over World Cup, while the final being shown on free-to-air television in the UK ensured the thrilling contest was available to a wider audience with millions of viewers tuning in.

    In the aftermath, several members of the cricketing fraternity suggested the win would have a positive impact on the game up and down the country but Gower – who played a combined 231 Tests and ODIs across a 14-year international career – is not so sure.

    "A lot of people will be jumping up and down saying this will change the whole face of English cricket. I think that's a bit over optimistic," he told Omnisport.

    "I think it is brilliant for cricket to have the team on the front pages, it is brilliant for [captain] Eoin Morgan, who deserves every bit of kudos coming his way. It is brilliant for all the players involved, likewise, and for a week or so we will have cricket on the front pages.

    "The honest truth underneath it all is for the next generation of potential cricketers to be inspired and given the chance to learn the game and be part of the game, there are a lot of things that need fixing at the lower levels of the game. And schools that don't play cricket are not going to give kids a chance to play cricket.

    "Put it this way, from my very special, privileged outlook, I had a father and mother who both bowled to me in the garden, I had schools – admittedly, private schools – where the game was important, therefore without having to bust a gut I had everything there for me to learn and get better at the game.

    "If your school literally does not play cricket, then you have to get dad to take you to a club, the club has to have facilities and volunteers. There are two sides to this. There's a lot of very good stuff happening out there and a lot of very passionate people trying to promote the game of cricket amongst younger people.

    "There's Chance to Shine, but Chance to Shine is in very little danger of producing a Test cricketer in the next two years. There's a lot of effort going in but there are a lot of things that need fixing too."

    Asked if the expected pressure for change in light of England's win would pay dividends, Gower replied: "Pressure is one thing, but results are another.

    "There are schools who used to play cricket that have given up on it. I'd love to bang the drum for the sport that has given me my life, really, and I'm happy to say very hopeful things, but it cannot change a lot of other things, like funding for schools, land.

    "You know, if you've sold off your land, the land that might be a cricket pitch, then that's rather it, isn't it?"


    David Gower is touring theatres in October and November with his sell-out show 'On The Front Foot'. Buy your tickets from www.david-gower.com.

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