2019 Cricket World Cup: England cruise past Australia to set up New Zealand final
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England thrashed Australia in the second World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston to reach the last two of the competition for the first time in 27 years.

Despite Australia winning the toss and electing to bat, a rampant England pace attack tore through the upper order as Aaron Finch's side were reduced to 14-3. Steve Smith led a valiant response but the spin of Adil Rashid tied up the middle order as Australia slumped to 223 all out.

In response, England's dynamic openers took the game to and beyond Australia, making 124 for the first wicket. Despite a controversial dismissal of Jason Roy for 85, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan saw their side home with eight wickets and 107 balls to spare.

Australia struggle

The importance of both sets of openers was regularly discussed pre-match, so England capturing the scalps of both Finch and David Warner within the first 16 balls was a key period in the game.

Jofra Archer, who trapped Finch LBW for 0, was irresistible with his pace bowling, whilst Chris Woakes, who did for Warner, got the ball moving all over the wicket. At 10-2, the incoming Peter Handscomb needed a big innings as he replaced injured Usman Khawaja, but the number four was bowled by Woakes for just four.

Yet Smith and the impressive Alex Carey plugged away as they had done throughout the competition. Even when the latter was caught by a nasty bouncer on his chin, Carey was not put off his stride as the pair put on 103 for the fourth wicket.

However, it was the introduction of Rashid that turned the tide oncemore, picking up the wicket of Marcus Stoinis in the same over as Carey. 

Supported by the pace attack, Rashid and the rest of the England bowlers took regular wickets with only Mitchell Starc offering any sort of resistance alongside Smith. Yet a fine piece of fielding by Jos Buttler ran out Smith with three overs to spare as Australia crumbled to a below par score.

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Roy leads the attack again

England, in true modern English cricket style, wasted little time hunting down the modest target of 224. Roy made the pitch look stale with his partner Jonny Bairstow holding down the other end.

It took a fine delivery from Starc to trap Bairstow LBW, the England opener wasting a review when the decision was plumb. And that moment came back to haunt Roy who, after blasting Smith for three successive sixes, was given out caught behind off the bowling of Pat Cummins.

Roy, without a review in the locker, was left furious as the Australians appealed for a caught behind that he clearly had not touched. The opener questioned the fielders behind him and the umpires but had to be ushered off the pitch before being fined 30% of his match fee.

Yet the balanced nature of Root and Morgan guided England home. Whilst Root cut behind square, Morgan played lofted shots into the covers as the pair made 49 and 45 respectively.

England can now look forward to their first World Cup final since 1992 with only New Zealand standing in the way of their first success in the competition.