England proved why they are the “benchmark” in one-day cricket in their dominant World Cup semi-final victory, says Australia captain Aaron Finch.
The hosts beat Australia by eight wickets at Edgbaston to set up Sunday’s final against New Zealand at Lord’s.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia were bowled out for 223, with England reaching their target with 17.5 overs to spare.
“We were just totally outplayed by a very good England side,” said Finch.
“They have been the benchmark in one-day cricket for a fair while now and they proved it today under pressure.”
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England opening bowlers Chris Woakes (3-20) and Jofra Archer (2-32) reduced Australia to 14-3 inside the first 10 overs, including Archer removing Finch lbw with his first delivery.
Alex Carey (46) and Steve Smith (85) fought back with a stand of 103 before Adil Rashid (3-54) picked the wickets of Carey and Marcus Stoinis in the same over.
“To start the way they did under pressure with the ball was right on the money and really put us on the back foot from the start,” Finch told Test Match Special.
“It didn’t surprise me. When guys present the seam as well as Woakes and Archer do you expect the ball to move off the seam.
“We lost a couple early and had to rebuild for a while and just when we were building towards that 35-40 over mark we lost a couple of key wickets at the wrong time.”
Prior to this match, 64% of the games in the tournament had been won by the side batting first but England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow ensured it was not a nervous chase with a tremendous partnership of 124 off just 104 balls.
“On a ground like this against such an aggressive side you have to take wickets,” said Finch.
“We looked to do that and when you’re aggressive with the ball and they’re aggressive with the bat it can go one of two ways pretty quick.”
Finch added he was pleased with his side’s one-day resurgence, having been whitewashed 5-0 by hosts England in an ODI series last year.
“Over the last six months or so we’ve come a long way from where we were when people were writing us off, so I’m really proud but disappointed at the same time,” he said.
BBC Test Match Special commentator Jim Maxwell
England exposed Australia’s weakness in the middle order, which has been there all tournament.
Looking to the Ashes, Australia can go gung-ho with their pace attack and play Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson, but if they don’t get it right on these grounds they will go around the park.
Australia may need to look at bowlers like Peter Siddle to hold the game up.
If Jason Roy plays in the Test series – I’m sure they’ll pick him – and gets a start, look out folks! It’s going to be dynamic to watch England play if it comes off like it has in the World Cup.