England swept into their first World Cup final for 27 years as the hosts crushed Australia by eight wickets on Thursday to book a clash with New Zealand in Sunday's title match.
Eoin Morgan's side ended Australia's bid to retain the World Cup in ruthless fashion at Edgbaston, dismissing their old rivals for 223 and then powering to victory in 32.1 overs thanks to Jason Roy's blistering 85.
England will head to Lord's bidding to win the 50-over World Cup for the first time, with 2015 runners-up New Zealand, who they thrashed by 119 runs in the group stage, standing between Morgan's men and the trophy.
England, who were in the semi-finals for the first time since 1992, have lost all three of their World Cup finals. (AFP, Birmingham)
Roy leaves under controversial circumstances
Australia have made another breakthrough and this time it is very controversial indeed. A short one from Pat Cummins in the 20th over and Jason Roy goes for the pull. Aussies go up in appeal and first impression suggested that there was a deflection. Ultra-edge however suggested that the batsman did not get anything on it. The damage is done though as Bairstow had taken an earlier review, unsuccessfully so and that meant the Roy could not take a review. Roy looks disappointed as he leaves the pitch after a tremendous 65-ball 85, laced with nine fours and five sixes.
Starc gets Bairstow to get into the record books but England on top
Mitchell Starc got the scalp of Jonny Bairstow, trapped leg-before but the lively left-armer is also going for runs. The wicket sees Starc however become the highest wicket-taker in a single editon of a World Cup with 27 wickets, overtaking former great and compatriot Glenn McGrath, who bagged 26 wickets during the 2007 edition.
Roy fifty signals England's intent in chase
Jason Roy struck a tremendous 50-ball 53, hitting Mitchell Starc for two boundaries in the 15th over -- one pumped down the ground before curving one through the covers -- to signal England's intent in chase of Australia's 223. The aggressive stance from Roy was supported well by Bairstow as Englnad romped to 116 without loss after 16 overs. The partnership is taking the game away from Australia's grasp pretty fast. Starc was brought in to make a breakthrough but Roy has had the upperhand so far in this semifinal clash. Having struck his fifty Roy then went after Steve Smith, hitting three big sixes on the trot, the last one of them a humongous six that left the ground.
England off to a solid start
England were off to a great start in their chase of Australia's 223 at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow countered the early lively spells from Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff without too much trouble. Roy looked composed as he picked up boundaries from Australia's left-arm duo while Bairstow was watchful early on before he started to play a few shots. The English openers starred in a fifty partnership in 59 deliveries.
Australia all out for 223
Mark Wood bowled Behrendorff with a brilliant yorker as Australia were bowled out for 223 in 49 overs at Edgbaston, Birmingham against England.
Chris Woakes and Adil Rashid each took three wickets as England seized control of their World Cup semi-final against Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday, bowling out the defending champions for 223.
Woakes struck twice early on as Australia slumped to 14-3 after winning the toss in Birmingham but Steve Smith led the recovery for Australia with 85 and Alex Carey made 46.
The hope for Australia is that an attack led by left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 26 scalps, can defend a seemingly low total.
All three of England's defeats at this tournament, against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, have come batting second.
England, bidding to reach their first final since 1992 and yet to win the World Cup, made a sensational start.
Australia's prolific opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch, as well as Peter Handscomb, were all back in the pavilion by the seventh over.
Warner, who walked out to boos because of his role in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, returned to even louder jeers after being dismissed for nine.
Smith, who was also given a 12-month ban for his part in the incident, was given a similar greeting when he made his way to the wicket.
Smith and Carey steadied the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 103 before leg-spinner Adil Rashid (3-54) struck twice in five balls.
Australia wicketkeeper Carey had his helmet knocked off by a Jofra Archer bouncer and required several minutes of on-field treatment.
With his head swathed in a bandage, Carey resumed his innings but in sight of a fifty he hoisted Rashid straight to substitute fielder James Vince at deep midwicket.
Four balls later, Australia were 118-5 when all-rounder Marcus Stoinis was lbw for a duck to Rashid's googly.
The dangerous Glenn Maxwell then holed out to England captain Eoin Morgan off Archer for 22 and Pat Cummins was caught by Joe Root to give Rashid another victim.
Smith received good support from Starc (29) in an eighth-wicket stand of 51 but, in sight of a hundred, he was run out by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler's direct hit.
Next ball, Starc was caught behind off Woakes and the innings ended with an over to spare when Mark Wood bowled Jason Behrendorff.
Archer, who took 2-32, said: "From the New Zealand game it's all been a semi-final for us so we just need to keep winning.
"Maxwell was my favourite wicket because he got me out at Lord's so it's good to get him back. Smith batted really well today, especially on this pitch.
"It nipped a lot more than it swung so we held the ball back and used more cross-seam deliveries."
The winners of the match in Birmingham will face 2015 runners-up New Zealand, who shocked mighty India at Old Trafford, in Sunday's final at Lord's.
Australia are bidding for a sixth World Cup title, having won four of the past five editions. (Source: AFP)
Smith, Starc both fall after 50 partnership
Speedster Mitchell Starc came in at number 8 and featured in a 50-run partnership off 57 deliveries with set batsman Steve Smith and when the latter was nearing a ton, a Jos Buttler direct hit saw the back of Smith after a valiant innings of 85, one that helped Australia go past 200. Starc fell next ball as Australia are nine down.
Rashid bags his third as Australia struggle after quick wickets
Adil Rashid got the scalp of Pat Cummins and Steve Smith keep losing batsmen to partner him at the other end. Over a 10-over spell, Australia lost four wickets after the 103-run fourth-wicket partnership betweem Alex Carey and Steve Smith had pulled them out of trouble following the loss of three wickets for just 14 run.
Archer strikes, Australia struggling at 157 for six
England quick Jofra Archer struck in the 35th over after he was brought back in the attack -- his second spell -- in the 31st over. Decieved by a slower from Archer, Glenn Maxwell sliced it into the hands of short cover. A soft dismissal and Australia see themselves in deep trouble.
Rashid sends Marcus Stoinis back.
England seemed to have found life in their bowling attack as Adil Rashid scalped two wickets in one over to put Australia in the back foot once again. The ball was barely clipping the stumps as Marcus Stoinis was out leg before wicket as the on field umpire raised his finger. Glenn Maxwell came on the field to rescue the Aussies while Steve Smith stay put.
Alex Carey was sent back by Adil Rashid as the batsmen flicked along the leg side, only to be caught by the substitute fielder James Vince at midwicket.
Carey was sent back just as he was about reach his half century but had to return back to the dressing room having scored a fighting 46 off 70 balls. Steve Smith still on the crease as Stoinis came on to the pitch.
Hundred partnership comes up between Steve Smith and Alex Carey to the relief of Australia.
The two batsmen came to the rescue to steady the ship for the five time champions. England bowlers can not seem to be able to break through the defenses of the two batsmen.
Australia reach the 100 run mark with Steve Smith and Alex Carey on the crease.
England could not scalp the fourth wicket yet as the batsmen in the middle played sensitively to take Australia past 100 runs within 25 overs. The Aussies looked to keep the wickets till the end as they near the 100 run partnership among themselves too, before finishers like Glenn Maxwell came on the pitch.
A fifty run stand between Steve Smith and Alex Carey brought some relief for Australia.
Both the batsmen looked to get a move on as they scored a few boundaries to amp up the run rate, while ensuring that they do not lose their wickets.
Steve Smith and Alex Carey guided Australia past the 50 run mark.
After the fall of three early wickets by the English bowlers, Australia looked to be in trouble and desperately needed a partnership. Luckily, Smith and Carey have played each ball to its merit making a 38 run partnership, while scoring runs with great hardship.
Chris Woakes scalped his second wicket as Australia lose their third.
Peter Handscomb was the latest to go as he was bowled by the Englishman, Woakes, bowling his third over in the game. A good length in-swinger by the bowler as the batsmen nicked the ball onto the stumps. Australia would have never imagined to be on such a stage in the game.
Chris Woakes sent David Warner back to the pavilion.
Australian batsmen looked to struggle against the English pacers as the bouncer from Woakes nicked the bat of Warner to the second slip where Joe Root took a comfortable catch. The two Aussie openers were sent back as the new comer, Peter Handscomb made his way to the middle.
Jofra Archer got Australian skipper Aaron Finch early in the innings.
England have made the breakthrough as Archer got the best of Finch in the second over of the match. The call was reviewed by the Australian but the ball ticked all the three reds to send the opener home by a LBW call. A big blow for Australia as the openers David Warner and Aaron Finch made sure they got the Aussies to a good start in most matches. Steve Smith came on.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat against England at Edgbaston in the second semi-final.
Australia and England lock horns again before the Ashes. The last time they both met was the World Cup group stage where Australia got the better of England by runs. However, this time around Englanda opener Jason Roy will look to start as he missed out with an injury during their last clash.
Peter Handscomb came in for injured Usman Khwaja for Australia while England remains unchanged from their previous game.
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Liam Plunkett, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Peter Handscomb, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jason Behrendorff
More to follow…
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