Australia thwart English challenge to make it to the semis

Australia hammered England by 64 runs at Lord's on Tuesday to enter the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. After Aaron Finch smashed a classy 100, Jason Behrendorff picked 5 for 44 and Mitchell Starc finished with 4 for 43 as England failed to chase 286.

Australia, the defending champions are the first team to reach the last four of the 2019 World Cup. England, the hosts and one of the pre-tournament favourites, are now in a bit of a spot. 

They now have 8 points from 7 matches and face must-win matches against India and New Zealand for a safe passage into the semis.

England were rattled in the 2nd ball of their chase when James Vince was bowled by Behrendorff. Joe Root, England's leading run-scorer this World Cup, was then trapped LBW by Starc. 

Eoin Morgan did not look comfortable during his brief stay and top-edged a short ball from Starc - England were in tatters at 26 for 3 in the 6th over. But England still dreamt with Ben Stokes in the middle. He dropped anchor and played some enthralling shots to keep England in the hunt. 

When he started his association with Jos Buttler, it looked like England would take it close. However, England were pegged back further Marcus Stoinis removed the dangerous Buttler. 

After a promising partnership between Stokes and Chris Woakes, Starc produced a lethal yorker to end Stokes's stay for 89. From thereon, it was a matter of time before Australia romped home to a comfortable win. 

It was a special day for Behrendorff and it was made more special when he dismissed Jofra Archer to pick his maiden 5-wicket haul in ODIs. Earlier, Eoin Morgan won the toss and decided to put Australia in to bat in overcast conditions. 

After a watchful start, Aaron Finch and David Warner got into their groove and became the first opening pair to be involved in 5 successive 50+ stands in the World Cup.

Warner and Finch are the two leading scorers in the 2019 World Cup and they have allowed Australia to be so dominant despite a dodgy show from the middle-order. On Tuesday, the two men tormented England and made sure Australia had a solid foundation for a big score.

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David Warner became the 3rd Australian after Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting to score 500 runs in a single edition of the World Cup but he fell to Moeen Ali for 53 after a 123-run opening partnership.

Australia once again sent Usman Khawaja before Steve Smith at No.3 and he could never eeally get going but Aaron Finch was in fine form at the other end. He pierced the gaps, ran hard and kept the English attack on its toes.

And just when it looked like Australia were on course for a score well in excess of 300, they lost Khawaja and Finch in quick succession.

While Khawaja fell to Ben Stokes in the 33rd over, Finch miscued a pull shot off Jofra Archer right after getting to his 100 in the 36th over. Steve Smith tried his best at No.4 with 38 but a horrible mix-up with Marcus Stoinis and regular wickets thereafter allowed England to restrict the Australians.

Alex Carey's unbeaten 38 off 27 meant Australia got to a competitive total against a power-packed English batting line-up. At the end, 285 proved to be more than enough against a batting side which fancies itself to go past 500 in ODIs one day.


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