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Dream over: England into World Cup final as Australia crash out

Birmingham: England have advanced into their first World Cup final in 27 years while chastened Australia were left to ponder a campaign that went wrong after an eight-wicket loss in this morning's semi-final at Edgbaston.

Having opted to bat first on a splendid pitch, Australia crashed to 3-14 after 37 deliveries and never really recovered, falling for 223 in 49 overs. If not for a fighting 85 from Steve Smith, who was elevated to No. 3 in the absence of Usman Khawaja, this would have been an even uglier defeat.

In reply, England surged to 2-226 with 17.5 overs to spare and will meet New Zealand in Sunday's final at Lord's, ensuring there will be a fresh country crowned as winner for the first time since Sri Lanka in 1996.

It will England's first World Cup final since losing to Pakistan at the MCG in 1992. They had also been losing finalists in 1979 and 1987 but began this tournament as the No. 1 ranked nation.

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Australia needed quick wickets when England took to the crease but openers Jonny Bairstow (34 off 43 balls) and Jason Roy (85 off 65 balls – nine boundaries and five sixes) had 50 on the board within 10 overs and a century stand by the end of the 16th over. From there it was a formality; Roy was unfortunate to not post his second century of the tournament.

England's Adil Rashid celebrates with teammates after dismissing Steve Smith.

England's Adil Rashid celebrates with teammates after dismissing Steve Smith.Credit:AP

England have planned, plotted and spent millions of dollars preparing for this tournament for four years – and are now just one game away from the ultimate success.

Edgbaston has become a fortress for England, and their 11th straight win here in all forms of the game ensured Australia suffered their first World Cup semi-final defeat in eight appearances.

Jason Roy's batting crushed Australia's hopes.

Jason Roy's batting crushed Australia's hopes.Credit:AP

It was only a week ago that Australia were on top of the tournament ladder but their campaign fell apart from the moment Shaun Marsh and Glenn Maxwell were hurt in a torrid net session in Manchester. Two days later, Khawaja strained a hamstring in the shock defeat to South Africa – only their second loss of the tournament to that point.

As the reserve batsman, Marsh, ruled out with a broken wrist, would have replaced Khawaja in the XI but instead the Australians had to draft in Peter Handscomb from outside the squad, while Matthew Wade was called in to replace Khawaja. Concerns over Marcus Stoinis' fitness, having hurt his right side against the Proteas, and then the uncertainty of selection and failing to publicly back Glenn Maxwell, also contributed to a week that will be a major component of any review.

Maxwell again failed to deliver an innings of substance, falling for 22 off 23 balls, and was not given a bowl.

Handcomb was handed his World Cup debut in the biggest game of the tournament and failed with the bat, falling to a magnificent delivery from paceman Chris Woakes which nipped in and found a gap between bat and pad. The step up from the Australia A squad was always going to be a significant ask.

Woakes (3-20) tormented the Australians, while Jofra Archer delivered physical pain. A searing bouncer clipped Alex Carey (46 off 70) on the chin and knocked off the batsman's helmet, which he fortuitously caught otherwise it could have hit his stumps.

Alex Carey battles on with a bandaged chin.

Alex Carey battles on with a bandaged chin.Credit:AP

Carey needed a bandage around his chin and head to continue his innings and later stitches but was cleared to take the gloves when Australia bowled.

He and Smith shared in a 103-run stand off 133 balls which gave the Australians some hope but when Carey looked to clear the longest boundary on the ground, only for his clip over mid-wicket off leg-spinner Adil Rashid to fall just short of the rope and into the hands of substitute fieldsman James Vince, the defending champions were in strife.

Steve Smith batted at No.3.

Steve Smith batted at No.3.Credit:AP

Smith is a natural No. 3 in the one-day international side and many would suggest he should have batted there through the entire tournament. He averages more than 50 at No. 3 – and 15 runs less at No. 4 where he had largely been used here.

The former skipper isn't a power hitter but accumulates his runs and did just that before he was brilliantly run out by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler attempting a risky single to thRead More – Source

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