The independent voice of cricket

Wisden at CWC19

When an unstoppable Australia added to England’s anxiety – Almanack

England v Australia, 2019 World Cup
Lawrence Booth by Lawrence Booth
@the_topspin 2 minute read

Powered by Aaron Finch’s second hundred of the tournament and their left-arm quicks’ brilliance, Australia handed England their third defeat of the 2019 World Cup, their second within four days and with it, became the first team to seal a semi-final spot. Here’s Lawrence Booth’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.

England v Australia
Match 32, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Lord’s, London
June 25, 2019

England’s defeat by Sri Lanka had left their fans twitchy. Now, after a hammering by Australia – whom they had beaten in ten of their previous 11 ODIs – those fans began to wonder: could a place in the semi-finals really be slipping through England’s fingers?

Morgan’s decision to bowl, on a cloudy morning after an overnight deluge, made sense. But while lavish movement helped Woakes repeatedly pass Warner’s bat, Archer and Wood dropped too short. The openers took grateful advantage, and brought up their fifth successive stand of 60 or more, gold dust in the circumstances. They extended it to 123 before Warner miscued Ali to point, having become the first in the tournament to reach 500.

Finch completed his 15th ODI hundred (and seventh against England), but Australia’s progress slowed against Stokes and Rashid: 285 for seven was fewer than had seemed likely at 162 for one after 30 overs.

Still, England needed a solid start; within six overs, they were in pieces. The unassuming left-armer Behrendorff, handed the new ball ahead of Cummins and a brief to pitch it up, swung his second delivery through Vince’s prod, before Starc trapped Root with another full-length inswinger. When Morgan top-edged Starc to fine leg, England were 26 for three, and in need of heroics. Instead, Bairstow and Buttler both picked out fielders in the deep, leaving Stokes alone on the burning deck, as he had been four days earlier against Sri Lanka.

Two sixes in three balls off Maxwell roused the crowd, but an unplayable, laser-guided yorker from Starc ended his resistance on 89. Stokes dropped his bat, kicked it, and dragged himself off, taking England’s fading hopes with him. Behrendorff cleaned up to claim a maiden ODI five-for, and Starc finished with four. Australia were the first side into the semi-final, their eighth in all World Cups. England were contemplating the unthinkable.

First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99