Kolkata: England would now go on to play the semi-finals with a lot of confidence as they finished their group stage matches with an all-win record after they trounced the Aussies by 40 runs, courtesy the DLS method in Edgbaston on Saturday.
Rains have clearly dampened Australia’s hopes in the Champions Trophy as two of their matches-where they were in winning positions were washed out and now, the only near-full game that they got to play was dominated by a spirited England side who have now undoubtedly become one of the favourites to life the title this year.
Coming to the match, the Australians batted first as openers David Warner and Aaron Finch put on 40 runs for the first wicket in 7.2 overs. Warner (21) then was dismissed by Mark Wood after which skipper Steve Smith joined Finch to put on a 93 run stand for the second wicket before the latter’s stay at the crease was ended by Ben Stokes for 66.
Smith went on to make a steady 56 before losing his wicket to Mark Wood after which Travis Head (71*) with some help from Glenn Maxwell (20) helped put 277 runs on the board for his team, in a must-win encounter. For the home team, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid scalped four wickets each.
278 was always going to be an easy chase for the in-form Englishmen but Aussie pacemen Josh Hazlewood (2/50) and Mitchell Starc had other ideas (1/52) as they reduced the home side to 35/3 at one stage with the in-form Joe Root (15) and Alex Hales (0) back in the hut.
But captain Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes then joined at the crease to recreate what Shakib Al-Hasan and Mahmadullah did the other day, as they smashed their way to a 159-run partnership, which helped England gain control of the match. However Morgan fell 13 short of a deserved century as Adam Zampa ran him out but his partner- Ben Stokes carried on at dominating the Australian bowlers as he registered his first ton (102*) in the Champions Trophy.
Only 38 runs were required of 58 deliveries when the rains again intervened only to have the match called off. Thus England, who were 40 runs ahead of the DLS par score (200) won the match.
If England achieved the unique feat of remaining unbeaten in the group stages, then Australia too has a record of their own as rains have played a spoilsport in all their games and it is indeed sad for a champion side like them to make an early exit from the Champions Trophy.
On the other side, Bangladeshi fans would be over the moon as they have qualified for their first major semi-finals after they registered a resounding come-from-behind win against New Zealand just a day ago. So from Group A, they have made it to the semis against all expectations and would join England from this group going further ahead into the competition.
Australia 277/9 (Travis Head 71, Aaron Finch 66; Mark Wood 4/33) lost to England 240/4 in 40.2 overs (Ben Stokes 102*, Eoin Morgan 87; Josh Hazlewood 2/50) by 40 runs via DLS method