England swaggered into their first World Cup final in 27 years, blowing away rivals Australia by eight wickets in a magnificent display of attacking cricket that sets up a winner-takes-all date with New Zealand at Lord’s.
The three-times runners-up are now firm favourites to land the trophy for the first time on Sunday, having thrashed the Black Caps by 119 runs in the group stage, and head to the home of cricket on the back of a sensational performance at Edgbaston.
Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid performed wonders with the ball after Australia chose to bat first, reducing the visitors to 14 for three in a frenzied opening burst and ultimately restricting them to a lacklustre 223 all out.
England would have been mindful that they were bowled out for 221 and beaten by the same attack last month, but Jason Roy missed that game with a torn hamstring and his brilliant 85 put the game beyond a shellshocked Australia, who went down with 107 balls remaining.
Having already thrashed nine fours and five sixes, he would surely have gone on to a career-best hundred had he not been robbed in messy circumstances. Given caught behind despite making no contact with the ball, he instantly called for a review only to belatedly realise Jonny Bairstow had already used it up.
Roy lost his cool, remonstrating on the pitch and on his reluctant walk off, and needed soothing words from umpire Marais Erasmus to stop things getting worse.
The sour tone of his dismissal cannot detract from his outstanding efforts, which almost single-handedly banished England’s concerns about chasing, nor from the raucous celebrations which followed on the back of a decisive stand of 79 between Joe Root (49no) and Eoin Morgan (45no).
Archer and Woakes also excelled, taking two for 32 and three for 20, while Rashid bagged three scalps in his best display to date.