Saturday, June 10, 2017

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 : England vs Australia

England vs Australia at Birmingham today was a virtual knockout match for the Aussies. With England having already qualified for the last four, nothing short of a win would guarantee a semis spot for the Men in Yellow.
Eon Morgan won the toss for England & put Australia into bat - obvious plan to capitalise on the D/L methods in case of rain.

Warner & Finch started well, but once again Warner could not build on a start & got out in the 8th over for just 21 runs. Finch & Smith them settled down well to build a platform, but just when they were looking good for a big total, first Finch & then Henriques & Smith left in short inetrvals, leaving the Aussies stuttering at 818 for 4 in the 32nd over - Travis Head & Maxwell however had other ideas, as they got the measure of the English attack, as well as the pitch & both together set to build the innings. Its at this stage, that Maxwell got caught on the mid wicket boundary ropes, with Jason Roy managing to pluck a wonderful catch. The Aussies batting collapsed after that, & it was only some intelligent batting by Travis Head, who stayed unbeaten till end on 69 runs, that the score reached some respectability with 277 for 9 in 50 overs. One brilliant catch, just when Maxwell was looking to tear into the bowling, & the rest of the batting folding down. It was strange to see the Aussies get themselves into a hole, with wickets falling at regular intervals, failing to get past at least 300 runs. Surely not enough in a pitch which held no demons.
For England, Wood was fantastic with figures of 4 for 33 runs in his 10 overs, which included prized scalps of Warner, Smith & Maxwell, with very able assistance from Rashid, who too picked up 4 wickets in the middle order for just 41 runs, in his quota of 10 overs.

In the run chase, England got into trouble early in the innings, as the Aussie pacers scalped three quick wickets within the first 6 overs, with score reading a precarious 35 for 3. Rains came to the rescue of the home side as the match was halted for a while. But that was all the celebrations Aussies could lay hands on. On resumption, Capt Eon Morgan & Ben Stokes, in the middle stroked every delivery with gay abandon, scoring freely. It was as if they were feasting on some part time bowlers, as Starc, Hazelwood, Cummins, & others were just despatched to all parts of the ground. Morgan was unlucky to get run out for 87, but Stokes went on to get his third ODI hundred, as Butler joined him in the carnage. In the 41st over when rains came down again, this time rather heavily, England were sitting pretty at 240 for 4, way ahead of the D/L target.
In the end the match was called off & England were winners by 40 runs (D/L), shoving the current World Champions Australia out of this tournament. Hosts England certainly look to be in ominous form, having won all the games till now - the only team in the tournament to have maintained a clean slate.
Bangladesh by virtue of this result enter the semis along with England from Group A.
The focus now shifts to Group B, where India plays SA & Sri Lanka plays Pakistan - the winners qualify for the semis.