London [UK]: Australia became the first team to enter the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup after it defeated England by 64 runs at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
The hosts need to win their remaining two matches against India and New Zealand to enter the knock-out stage. If England manage to win one match from their two fixtures, the fortunes of the team will depend on other results in the tournament.
Chasing the target of 286, England lost its opener James Vince (0) on the second ball of the innings as his stumps were castled by Jason Behrendorff. The in-form batsman Joe Root was also sent back to the pavilion in the fourth over by Mitchell Starc. The left-arm pacer had the batsman plum in front and Root (8) was adjudged leg-before-wicket.
Starc bowled a lethal short-delivery to England skipper Eoin Morgan (4), the left-hander played a hook shot but he mistimed it, handing a simple catch to Pat Cummins at fine leg, reducing England to 26/3 in the sixth over. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes steadied England’s innings for a bit.
Bairstow and Stokes put up a 27-run stand, but Bairstow was dismissed by Behrendorff in the 14th over as he looked to play a pull shot but was beaten by the extra bounce from Behrendorff and Cummins took a simple catch. Jos Buttler joined Stokes in the middle and the duo played their natural game bringing England back into the match.
Stokes and Buttler stitched together a partnership of 71 runs which saw the left-handed Stokes bringing up his half-century. Marcus Stoinis provided the big breakthrough to Australia as he had Buttler (25) caught at the boundary fence in the 28th over.
Chris Woakes and Stokes put together a 53-run partnership but as soon as England started to get some momentum going, Australia got the crucial breakthrough of Stokes (89) in the 37th over. This proved as a crucial wicket as the tailenders were not able to stay on the crease for a long period of time, handing Australia a win by 64 runs. Behrendorff was the leading wicket-taker for Australia as he scalped five wickets.
Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch powered Australia to post 285 for the loss of seven wickets in their allotted 50 overs after sent in to bat first.
Australia got off to a brilliant start as the Down Under side crossed 100-run mark inside 18 overs. Moeen Ali got the much-needed breakthrough and the destructive wicket of David Warner (53), breaking the 123-run partnership for the opening wicket.
Usman Khawaja joined his skipper Finch but as the duo inched closer to the 200-run mark, Ben Stokes bowled Khawaja (23). Finch continued and completed his century. However, soon after Jofra Archer dismissed Finch for 100. The Australia skipper’s innings off 116 balls saw 11 boundaries and two sixes.
With the century, Finch became the first player to make it to the Limited-Overs Honours Boards at the Home of Cricket since the ODI achievements were added to the dressing rooms earlier this year.
Glenn Maxwell (12) and Marcus Stoinis (8) could not contribute to the scoreboard as they were sent back to the pavilion in quick succession.
Steve Smith chipped in with 38 runs but he too could not stay longer at the crease as Chris Woakes got rid of him, reducing Australia to 250/6. Towards the end, Alex Carey dragged the target with his 38 runs. For England, all their bowlers did a superb job to restrict Australia.
Australia will next take on New Zealand on June 29, while England will meet India on June 30.
Brief scores: Australia 285/7 (Aaron Finch 100, David Warner 53, Chris Woakes 2-46) beat England 221/10 (Ben Stokes 89, Jonny Bairstow 27, Jason Behrendorff 5-44) by 64 runs.