Aaron Finch conceded Australia had been "totally outplayed" by England as the hosts stormed into the Cricket World Cup final on Thursday.

England secured an eight-wicket win at Edgbaston after bowling Australia out for 223, with Jason Roy's explosive 85 doing much of the damage in a chase that was completed in 32.1 overs.

Australia, who won what was considered a potentially pivotal toss, were on the back foot almost immediately and Finch was among the early wickets to fall after failing to score.

"We were totally outplayed," said the captain after Australia's first World Cup semi-final loss. "The way they set the tone with the ball in those first 10 overs was a huge part in the game.

"You expect the new ball to seam a bit on any surface but they bowled a great length, hitting the stumps a lot.

"There are still a lot of positives to take out of the campaign and from the last few months – we've come a long way from where we were last year in ODI cricket in this country.

"You always want to win the trophy but there have been a lot of positives. A lot of hard work has gone in from a lot of people. I'm proud of how the group has progressed but this still hurts.

"We tried to change it up as much as we could but Roy and [Jonny] Bairstow are so dynamic when they are on top. We didn't execute as well as we could and got hurt by a very good England team."

It is the first time Australia have lost to England at a 50-over World Cup since 1992, which is also the last time the latter reached the final. 

Much of the talk around England and Australia's Cricket World Cup semi-final focused on one word – pressure.

And, with serial World Cup winners and reigning champions Australia perhaps more intent on Ashes glory later on this tour, the majority of those discussions centred on England.

Would they wilt at the semi-final stage? Could they chase down a total? Would the expectancy of the Edgbaston faithful weigh heavy on their shoulders?

The answer to all those questions was a resounding 'no', as Eoin Morgan's men stormed into a Lord's final against New Zealand with an eight-wicket thrashing on Thursday in front of an increasingly raucous crowd that belted out 'Sweet Caroline' with intensifying vigour as the end drew near.

A developing trend at these finals has seen sides win the toss, opt to bat, post a score and subsequently squeeze the opposition on deteriorating pitches.

Coming into this encounter, 17 of the previous 21 matches had been won by the side batting first – a sequence that included England's victories over India and New Zealand to secure their place in the last four.

On both occasions, the hosts went big and comfortably defended their totals, but the two prior outings had seen altogether different outcomes.

England failed to chase 233 against Sri Lanka at Headingley and were well short as Australia cruised to a 64-run win at Lord's.

Before the tournament, Morgan's men were seen as the team that could overhaul any score, thumping Pakistan 4-0 in an ODI series that featured two successful chases in excess of 340.

Those losses to Sri Lanka and Australia changed that perception, at least among pundits and the public, and another P-word – pressure – became a significant factor in the equation.

But that was nowhere to be seen at Edgbaston on Thursday, as Australia were rolled out for 223 before a below-par target was overhauled with 107 balls remaining.

Once again, England owed much to Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, who added 124 for the opening stand inside 18 overs – their fourth successive century partnership.

In Wednesday's media conference, Aaron Finch talked up the importance of the first 10 overs. Whoever started the better would likely go on and win, was the suggestion.

The Australia captain got his first wish in winning the toss and opting to bat, only to fall to Jofra Archer for a golden duck and then watch as David Warner and Peter Handscomb swiftly joined him back in the dressing room. After 10 overs, Australia were 27-3 and had struck only three fours.

England, by contrast, had surpassed that tally inside six overs and had even added a Roy maximum for good measure en route to being 50-0 at the end of the first powerplay.

The chat in the media box during the innings break was that 224 could prove a challenging target – after all, England had failed in similar circumstances against Sri Lanka while there were lessons to be learned from New Zealand's semi-final win over India 24 hours previously, when the Black Caps successfully defended 239.

But Roy and Bairstow strode out as if this was a bilateral series bash-fest, an approach underlined by the former launching Nathan Lyon's first ball for six and reverse sweeping for four later in the same over.

Struggling to stem the flow, Finch turned to the occasional leg-spin of Steve Smith. Roy responded by hammering three straight sixes, the third an absolute monster into the top tier.

The early swing Chris Woakes and Archer had enjoyed was not evident for Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff, while England's openers took full advantage as Roy produced another performance that will only intensify calls for him to be included in the Ashes squad.

Ahead of a World Cup final, that is a discussion for another day, but this display should at least put to bed all the prior talk of pressure and whether it would overwhelm this England team.

Exactly a year on from the men's football team's semi-final heartache, the Edgbaston crowd sang 'Cricket's coming home'. That is yet to be decided but, on this evidence, if England are found wanting at Lord's, it is unlikely to be due to the gravity of the occasion.

Chris Woakes was delighted as England demonstrated their class in an eight-wicket demolition of Australia to reach the Cricket World Cup final.

With figures of 3-20, Woakes' man-of-the-match display epitomised England's dominance of Thursday's clash at Edgbaston, where Australia were bowled out for 223.

Jason Roy (85) starred with the bat as the tournament hosts chased down the target in 32.1 overs, setting up a Lord's showdown with New Zealand on Sunday.

"I'm pretty speechless," said Woakes after England reached the final for the first time since 1992. "It was an incredible performance from the whole team.

"It started with the bowling performance and then the way they [the batsmen] knocked that off was outstanding.

"There were some nerves around this morning but that's natural going into a semi-final. The way we produced the goods just showed how good we are and where we are at as a team.

"It hasn't sunk in that we're in a World Cup final and hopefully we can go all the way.

"We were tipped as favourties so it was important to get to the semi-final in the first place, and then to win this in this fashion against this Australia side on the best ground in the world is amazing."

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. 

Mitchell Starc set a new record for wickets taken at a single Cricket World Cup when he dismissed England's Jonny Bairstow at Edgbaston on Thursday.

The Australia left-arm quick came into the semi-final having claimed 26 victims in his prior nine matches at the tournament, the same number as compatriot Glenn McGrath picked up at the 2007 edition.

Starc's haul included the 4-43 he took in the group-stage defeat of England at Lord's and he set the new benchmark by trapping Bairstow lbw for 34.

There was little cause for celebration for Starc, though, as that left England 124-1 in the 18th over after bowling Australia out for just 223.

Joe Root sent three of Starc's next four deliveries to the boundary, leaving the paceman with figures of 1-50 after five overs and England seemingly on course to set up a final showdown with New Zealand at Lord's.

Steve Smith's 85 was the saving grace for Australia as England restricted their opponents to 223 all out in the second Cricket World Cup semi-final.

Having won the toss at Edgbaston on Thursday, Australia slipped to 14-3 as Aaron Finch, David Warner and Peter Handscomb all fell cheaply to Jofra Archer (2-32) and Chris Woakes (3-20).

Smith mounted a recovery alongside Alex Carey (46), the pair adding 103 for the fourth wicket before the wicketkeeper took an unnecessary risk against Adil Rashid and holed out to deep midwicket.

Rashid (3-54) picked up Marcus Stoinis for a duck in the same over and also removed Pat Cummins after Glenn Maxwell had popped Archer to cover.

Smith received further support in the shape of Mitchell Starc (29) and it took a fine run out from Jos Buttler to end the former captain's innings, which lasted 119 balls and contained six fours.

It was a potentially crucial one for Australia, who have advanced from all seven of their previous World Cup semi-finals as New Zealand await the victors at Lord's on Sunday.

England made a sensational start to the Cricket World Cup semi-final against Australia by removing Aaron Finch, David Warner and Peter Handscomb inside seven overs.

Finch and Warner had combined for more than 1,100 runs at this tournament but made just nine between them as Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes each picked up a huge early scalp, before the latter also removed Handscomb to leave Australia reeling at 14-3.

Captain Finch won the toss and opted to bat at Edgbaston on Thursday but may have been ruing that decision when he was trapped in front by Archer from the first ball he faced.

To make matters worse, Finch opted to use the DRS and three reds on the ball-tracker meant his side lost their review after just seven deliveries.

Warner crunched two fours off Woakes but he perished for nine in the next over, edging to Jonny Bairstow at slip.

Handscomb, selected due to Usman Khawaja's hamstring injury, survived a review on umpire's call first ball but was soon cleaned up by Woakes as England tore into the top order.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first against England in Thursday's Cricket World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston.

The tournament hosts struggled badly when chasing against Aaron Finch's men during the group-stage defeat at Lord's, while they also showed frailties in failing to overhaul a moderate score in a shock loss to Sri Lanka at Headingley.

England captain Eoin Morgan confirmed his side was unchanged from the one that hammered New Zealand to seal a place in the semis, while Australia's sole alteration sees Peter Handscomb come in for the injured Usman Khawaja, as had been announced by head coach Justin Langer prior to the game.

There had been talk that Matthew Wade - called into the squad as Khawaja's replacement - may be selected ahead of Glenn Maxwell, but the all-rounder retained his place in the XI.

Not since 1992 have England gone this deep at the World Cup, while Australia are aiming to continue their perfect record in semi-finals, having progressed from all seven of their previous matches at this stage of the competition.

The victors will go through to Sunday's final at Lord's to face New Zealand, who sensationally defeated India at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Tournament hosts England face off against Ashes rivals Australia in a blockbuster Cricket World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston on Thursday.

Damaging losses to Sri Lanka and Australia left England fearing the worst for their last-four hopes, but an impressive response with wins over India and New Zealand booked their ticket to the knockout stages.

Australia's passage was far more serene, apart from a loss to India and an unexpected defeat to South Africa in their final group game, as the defending champions chase a sixth World Cup title.

Just over two weeks ago, it was Australia celebrating at Lord's as Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc tore through England's batting order to seal victory despite Ben Stokes' valiant 89.

But Edgbaston has not been a happy hunting ground for Australia, with their last win at the venue in any format coming in a 2001 Test match. England have won three straight ODIs against their opponents in Birmingham, too.

History is not exactly on England's side, though, with their last Cricket World Cup win against Australia coming back in 1992 when Ian Botham stole the show, taking 4-31 with the ball and contributing 53 with the bat.

New Zealand, who defeated India in a rain-delayed semi-final at Old Trafford that spanned across two days, await in the final.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

A shock loss to Sri Lanka preceded England again falling short against Australia but the triumphs over India and New Zealand showed their mettle as they lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites. Australia missed out on top spot after losing to South Africa in their final group game but largely impressed during the group stages, Starc leading the wicket-taking list with 26.

WHAT THEY SAID

England captain Eoin Morgan on the team's return to form: "I think we're probably more confident than we were three games ago. I think we are probably a different team that played four games ago and three games ago. I think the loss against Sri Lanka hurt us. It was an overhang into the Lord's game and then when we came here we managed to produce something similar to the cricket we have been playing over the last four years and that was really encouraging."

Australia skipper Aaron Finch on his country's World Cup record: "I think World Cups are very special, they bring out the best in the best players, so I think that's why Australia have had a very rich history in World Cups. I mean, winning four of the last five, it's been a great achievement."

OPTA FACTS

- England have won 10 of the last 12 ODIs between the countries, though one of their two defeats in that run came at Lord's earlier in this tournament.
- Starc needs one more wicket to set a record for the most taken at a single World Cup - he sits level with Glenn McGrath's tally of 26 from 2007.
- Steve Smith has only managed to record one half-century in his last 10 ODI innings against England, though that solitary 50 did come at Edgbaston (2017). He has been dismissed five times by Adil Rashid in the 50-over format.
- Australia have been involved in seven previous World Cup semi-finals and have progressed to the final every time. 

Trent Boult says it was just a case of New Zealand's bowlers "keeping it simple" in the crucial opening spell that left India 5-3 in the Black Caps' 18-run Cricket World Cup semi-final triumph.

In a rain-affected contest that spanned two days at Old Trafford, 2015 finalists New Zealand booked their return to the showpiece despite only posting 239-8 with the bat.

Yet a 19-ball passage from Boult and Matt Henry swung the momentum firmly in the Black Caps' favour as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul all departed for singles.

Henry accounted for Rohit, who had scored five centuries and has more runs than anyone at this World Cup, and his opening partner Rahul, while Boult trapped Kohli lbw and later revealed there were no special plans behind the electric start that led to India being dismissed for 221.

"It wasn't planned, I don't want it to sound like I'm a magician against the best player in the world," Boult said of removing the ICC's top-ranked ODI batsman Kohli.

"We know if we can get sides two or three down inside that first 10 [overs], and put pressure on the middle order, of course it's going to be challenging for anyone.

"We didn't really try too much, in my opinion, it was just about keeping it simple.

"It was nice to put a bit of pressure on those guys but I thought they absorbed it very nicely."

Dinesh Karthik's dismissal meant India were four down by the end of the powerplay and though Ravindra Jadeja (77) and MS Dhoni (50) gave India a fighting chance, the chase got away from them.

India captain Kohli pointed to the shocking start to their reply as being pivotal in the match, with Henry (3-37) enjoying some Old Trafford redemption after returning 1-76 in an expensive nine-over spell against West Indies in the group stage.

"Coming into the semi-final, we talked about it a lot, it doesn't matter what happened in the past," Henry added.

"We knew if we got to 240 we were confident we could defend that if we bowl well.

"I don't think we were expecting the start we got but taking those early wickets meant we could really put some pressure on and squeeze the run-rate."

Eoin Morgan has told England's players they are already in dreamland at the Cricket World Cup as he backed them to avoid an Edgbaston nightmare.

New Zealand, through to the Lord's final after upsetting India on Wednesday, await the winners of England's semi-final against Australia, and Morgan believes the hosts are peaking at the right time.

England were on Wednesday putting the finishing touches to preparations for Thursday's Australia clash in Birmingham, needing to step up their standard from the 64-run group-stage defeat to the same opposition.

Australia were clinical at Lord's, where Aaron Finch made a century, Jason Behrendorff took five wickets and Mitchell Starc prised out four victims, but Morgan's side have since beaten India and New Zealand.

Asked what he expected to see on the faces of his players before their critical match, Morgan said: "I think excitement probably should be the dominant [emotion]. Everybody is excited and has been the last couple of days to play this game. It's the semi-final of a World Cup.

"The fact that throughout the group stages for a while getting through to this stage looked unlikely, or was called into question, that makes it more exciting for us."

He added: "Sometimes - and I'm guilty of it - you can lose sight of the position that you are in, and the fact you are living your dream. I don't think it is impossible to play with a smile on your face."

Morgan has no doubt England can overcome the reigning world champions and he feels the country is willing his team to achieve something special.

"The amount of good faith and goodwill going around is fantastic, so we sense the support that's with us, but also the opportunity as well," said Morgan.

Australia skipper Finch danced around the question of whether all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will be dropped following a run drought.

Finch is certain the XI fielded by Australia will rise to the occasion.

"World Cups are very special, they bring out the best in the best players," Finch said. "That's why Australia have had a very rich history in World Cups. Winning four of the last five, it's been a great achievement.

"When we look at our side at the moment we are full of confidence going into this game. Obviously, England have been probably the front-runners in world cricket over the last four years, the way they have changed the game, their game plan in particular has been very aggressive, taking it to the opposition.

"We know how they are going to play, they know how we are going to play.

"We have played each other a lot over the last couple of years, so it will be whoever holds their nerves, whoever takes the half-chances, whoever starts off the game really well in the first 10 overs, whether it is with bat or ball, it will be so important for either side."

Kane Williamson lauded the heart shown by New Zealand after their thrilling Cricket World Cup semi-final win over India at Old Trafford.

The Black Caps, who finished fourth in the group phase, were big outsiders to prevail and their odds only lengthened after they reached 211-5 in a rain-affected innings on Tuesday.

After returning on Wednesday to add another 28 runs at the expense of three wickets in the few overs that remained, Williamson's side faced the daunting prospect of attempting to thwart India's prolific batting line-up.

But a superb display with the ball from Matt Henry (3-37) and Trent Boult (2-42) helped bowl their opponents out for 221, the 48th-over dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja after an eye-catching 77 proving pivotal.

While through to a second successive World Cup final, Williamson viewed his side's feat at this year's tournament very differently to when they jointly hosted with Australia in 2015.

"It's a different feeling to last time," the captain said during the on-field presentation ceremony. "We've had to skin it over the round robin, so it's been quite different.

"A lot of heart has been shown by the guys so far but we're keeping our feet on the ground.

"It was a great semi-final and we're happy to be on the right side of it.

"It was really tough batting conditions [on Tuesday]. We had to assess conditions quickly, I think both sides thought it would be a higher scoring game.

"We spoke about getting 240-250 and we knew that would be competitive. There were a lot of contributions from everyone to get us to that total.

"We spoke about the conditions during the interval, we wanted to put the ball in good areas and move the ball around and put some pressure on India, they are a world-class side.

"It was a great start from the bowlers, we knew it would get tougher for us as the innings went on.

"We showed plenty of heart and the fielders and bowlers were outstanding."

Either England or Australia await in the final at Lord's on Sunday. 

Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni did their best, but once again India were found wanting in a big spot.

As was the case in the 2015 Cricket World Cup semi-final and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final, India cruised through a tournament before stumbling in a high-stakes situation.

A target of 240 against New Zealand should have been easily attainable for an experienced batting line-up that had Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in imperious form, even on an Old Trafford track that had provided little pace and assistance to batsmen.

But having fallen to 5-3 just 19 deliveries into their reply, their soft underbelly was exposed and neither Jadeja (77) nor Dhoni (50) could prevent the Black Caps returning to the World Cup final, India dismissed for 221 to slip to an 18-run loss.

In a unique contest that spanned two days due to rain, the odds had been in India's favour throughout New Zealand's innings on Tuesday. The Black Caps were restricted to 27-1 in the powerplay - the lowest total in the opening 10 overs of this World Cup - with only captain Kane Williamson (67) able to find any real fluency.

Persistent showers forced New Zealand to resume Wednesday's reserve day on 211-5 after 46.1 overs and though Ross Taylor (74) finished as his team's leading run-scorer in their 239-8, India looked set to get home.

"Around 250 would never be enough in a bilateral series between these two teams on this surface but in a World Cup semi-final... it may just be," New Zealand great Brendon McCullum had tweeted on Tuesday.

He had a point - India have developed a habit of floundering in key major ODI games.

Four years ago, they stormed through the group stage, winning six out of six and crushing Bangladesh by 109 runs in the last eight. In the semi-finals, their bowlers were taken apart by an Australian team that reached 328-7 to set up a 95-run victory.

Two years ago, they finished top of their Champions Trophy group and then lost just one wicket in chasing down 265 in the semi-final against Bangladesh. In the final, however, a revitalised Pakistan team they had thumped by 124 runs in the group stage piled on 338-4, India wilting to 158 all out in reply.

Here, the target was considerably smaller, but the story remarkably similar.

Rohit arrived in Manchester as the competition's leading scorer having plundered five centuries, but he edged a terrific Matt Henry delivery behind on one. Kohli, the number-one ranked batsman in ODI cricket, had also made a single before being given out lbw and when KL Rahul departed for the same score from the first ball of the fourth over, India were reeling.

Dinesh Karthik's dismissal from the final delivery of the opening powerplay left India four down. They had lost a combined four wickets in the powerplays of their previous nine matches combined. How would they fare without their leading batsmen?

The pressure appeared too much for Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya, leaving India still needing 148, their fate in the hands of Dhoni and Jadeja - two men with a combined age of 68. 

Dhoni, in likely his final World Cup, would only tick along, as has been the case in recent years, while a pumped-up Jadeja provided the fireworks, dragging India back into position with four boundaries and as many maximums.

But when their 116-run partnership ended as Jadeja miscued to Williamson at long off, India still needed 32 from 13.

Dhoni slapped one delivery for six but for once he could not be the finisher, run out to end potentially his last ODI innings.

India's hopes went with him, too. They had only themselves to blame.

Virat Kohli conceded the "outstanding skill level" on display from New Zealand's bowlers in the early part of India's chase made the difference in their Cricket World Cup semi-final.

In a match-of-the-tournament contender, played over two days due to rain in Manchester, it was the Black Caps who fought into a second consecutive final with an 18-run win at Old Trafford.

New Zealand scrapped to a total of 239-8 after sedate scoring a day previously, but Matt Henry and Trent Boult ran roughshod through India's star-studded top order, with Kohli's men slipping to 71-5.

A gallant century stand from MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja set the tone for a thrilling chase, but New Zealand showed impressive resolve to upset the odds and will now face the winner of the Edgbaston semi-final between England and Australia.

"We got what we needed to get in the field in the morning and we thought we had restricted them to a total that is chaseable on any surface," India captain Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"But the way they bowled in that first half an hour was the difference in the game.

"It was fine having to come back today. We had a good day yesterday and I'm very proud of that effort. Then it was a professional effort with the ball this morning and we had the momentum.

"But credit to the New Zealand bowlers - the way they bowled with the new ball, moving it around, it was an outstanding skill level on display and they made life very difficult for our batsmen."

Jadeja's explosive knock of 77 from 59 balls, which included four fours and as many sixes, almost turned the game but when his sky-bound effort was pouched by New Zealand captain Kane Williamson it was game over.

"Jadeja had an outstanding game. The way he played today was a great sign for his skill set and what he can do for the team," Kohli added.

"He turned the game around in no time and had a good partnership with Dhoni, who got run out in the end. It's a game of margins.

"It's tough - 45 minutes of bad cricket puts you out of the tournament. It's hard to come to terms with, but New Zealand deserve it - they put us under pressure and came through in the key moments."

New Zealand produced a remarkable bowling display and held their nerve under late pressure to inflict a stunning 18-run Cricket World Cup semi-final defeat on India at Old Trafford.

India's top order collapsed as the Black Caps reached the showpiece match for the second World Cup running, leaving the dreams of Virat Kohli's side and their army of followers in tatters.

With play having carried into the reserve day after rain on Tuesday, the Black Caps resumed on 211-5 and added another 28 runs for the loss of three wickets in 3.5 overs.

That left a tricky winning target of 240 in testing conditions, but India's reply immediately hit trouble in the shape of Matt Henry and Trent Boult, who decimated a usually lethal batting line-up, ensuring Ravindra Jadeja's explosive knock down the order came in a losing effort.

A flurry of wickets in the closing overs saw Kohli's men dismissed for 221, meaning New Zealand will face England or Australia in the final.

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