The England team might acknowledge a bit of nervousness now about their situation. England can still control its own destiny after a thorough 64-run defeat, in which Australia dominated with just the odd minor hiccup from the start to end. But in their last two group matches against the two sides that have yet to beat in this tournament, India and New Zealand, they may well need two wins.
The Cricket World Cup’s best double act so far shared a record opening stand of 123 at Lord’s on Tuesday, the launch pad Australia used to beat England by 64 runs and confirm a semifinal spot with two matches to go in the round robin.
Captain Finch made hundred, his 2019 tournament’s second century, and Warner made 53. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Australia’s opening blend of notable figures. They became the first duo to post a fifth consecutive 50-plus opening stand in a World Cup. They average 91.71, making them the second most successful opening pair in World Cups following Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan, who over nine innings averaged 100 for Sri Lanka in 2011.
Both openers have made two centuries, and have made fifty-five times. Finch scored 496 runs, second only to Warner’s 500 in this tournament. Before they started on Tuesday, they b both had to endure a withering start from the England pace attack in humid conditions, including bruise strikes on their thighs.
Warner was out in the 23rd over, taken by Moeen Ali, a spinner. His 53 came off 61 balls, and the crowd drowned any boos for him in cheers for Joe Root, who caught him at backward point. Finch was out in the 36th over. He lasted 116 balls and struck 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Finch and Warner clicked the first time they opened for Australia in ODIs. In 2014, they merged in a chase against England in Melbourne for 163. These two innings did not come close to those heights, but they won the home series early and Warner was rested.
Now, England will face India at Edgbaston in five days. They may need that time to allow them to compete with their greatest team. Stokes ‘ body is threatening to rebel and there is growing despair to get Jason Roy back at the top of the order, which they are not permitted to articulate.
This outcome leaves three sides, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan – to feel the potential for an unlikely semi-final position. For Pakistan in specific, if they can defeat New Zealand on Wednesday at Edgbaston, there’s a definite route forward.
OFFICIAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MATCH: