England produced ultimate performance to reach World Cup final, says Andrew Strauss
England produced “the ultimate performance” to blitz Australia and book their place in a 50-over World Cup final for the first time in 27 years, says Andrew Strauss.
Eoin Morgan’s side thrashed the defending champions by eight wickets at Edgbaston, bowling Australia out for 223 before dashing to their target in just 32.1 overs.
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Man-of-the-match Chris Woakes (3-20) set the tone in partnership with Jofra Archer (2-32), before Jason Roy (85) and Jonny Bairstow (34) put on 124 for the first wicket to effectively seal Australia’s fate – Joe Root (49no) and Morgan (45no) knocking off the remaining runs.
“That was England’s best performance of the World Cup,” said Strauss. “The first 10 overs with bat and ball were crucial and England absolutely obliterated Australia in both of them, especially with the ball.
“The way that Archer and Woakes set the tone was fantastic, then England were outstanding with the bat – Roy in particular. The way he lined up Starc was fantastic.
“It was the ultimate performance and England will go into that final in incredible spirits; this will give them huge confidence and they will be very confident that they can put New Zealand away as well.”
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England’s qualification for the last four had appeared in doubt following defeats to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia but victories over India and New Zealand enabled them to progress to the semi-finals and Strauss says they’ve been rewarded for playing with clarity and purpose.
“The circumstances were absolutely crystal clear for England. They had to go out and perform the way they have over the last three or four years.
“That’s easy to say but tougher to do in the pressure of a World Cup. The way they committed to their game-plan against India and New Zealand was impressive.
“You could see the difference that made to their confidence levels. They were very relaxed when they came to the ground this morning; they knew exactly how they needed to play.
“Lord’s is a different ground with different conditions but if they play like that, they are going to be a very hard team to beat.”
Strauss was appointed Director of England Cricket in the aftermath of England’s poor showing at the 2015 World Cup and, in partnership with captain Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss, implemented a strategy to encourage the team to play in a more proactive, free-flowing manner.
The former England opener stepped down from his role to spend more time with his wife Ruth, who died from cancer in December 2018, and admitted that watching England advance to Sunday’s final was a moment he will cherish.
“I’ve found myself getting quite emotional today watching it because all we wanted four years ago was for England to go out and play in a different style, a different brand of cricket,” he reflected.
“We didn’t know where it was going to lead us but we thought it was England’s best chance of winning a World Cup and they’ve proved us right so far.
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