Defending world champions Australia confirmed their spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup by sealing a 64-run victory over England at Lord’s, leaving the hosts chances of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging in the balance.
Australia’s captain, Aaron Finch, making his Lord’s ODI debut, forged an opening stand of 123 with David Warner, and his subsequent century inspired Australia to a total of 285 for 7. It was Finch’s second century at the Home of Cricket – he scored an unbeaten 181 on his first ever appearance at the Ground, to celebrate the Bicentenary of Lord’s in 2014.
He also became the first player to write his name on to the new Limited Overs International Honours Boards, which were installed in the dressing rooms at Lord’s earlier this year.
Warner made 53 before Steve Smith (38) and Alex Carey (38 not out) propelled Australia to set a competitive target against an England side missing opener Jason Roy to injury.
Pre-tournament favourites England – defeated by Sri Lanka in a shock result at Old Trafford last Friday – were undone by Australia’s two left-arm pacemen, Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc, who took nine wickets between them.
Behrendorff finished with career-best ODI figures of 5 for 44 to seal his own place on the new Honours Board, whilst Starc claimed 4 for 43, taking his current tournament tally to 19. Only Ben Stokes looked likely to lead an England charge and when he was dismissed by a fine delivery from Starc for a defiant 89, the home team’s challenge subsided to a forlorn end.
Australia return to the Home of Cricket on Saturday when they take on an unbeaten New Zealand, and with their semi-final place safe, they will be firmly focused on making it to the final at Lord’s on 14th July to defend the trophy they won on home soil in 2015.