Jun 11, 3 months ago

Stokes-Morgan combine knocks Australia out

http://sportsinfo.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Ben-Stokes-1.jpghttp://sportsinfo.lk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Ben-Stokes-1.jpgStokes-Morgan combine knocks Australia out

Bangladesh joins England in semi-finals after home side rides on 159-run stand to send the world champion home early
Ben Stokes also joined the party smashing boundaries all over the park, seizing the advantage from Australia.

England’s massively entertaining approach of attack at all cost came to the fore again, and with excellent results, as Ben Stokes and Eoin Morgan combined to knock Australia out of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with a 40-run win (DLS method) at Edgbaston on Saturday (June 10).

The result meant Bangladesh qualified for the semi-final of a world event for the first time, England having already sealed the top spot from Group A, while Australia joined New Zealand among teams leaving early.

A position of 35 for 3 in six overs after losing the top three batsmen in a chase of 278 with the opposition pacers on fire is supposed to be trouble. Not for England, though, as Stokes and Morgan counter-attacked in a 159-run stand to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

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Stokes made his third One-Day International ton while Morgan fell 13 short when he was run out. The two provided the thrills, but the victory was set up by the bowling pair of Mark Wood and Adil Rashid. They bagged four wickets apiece to help England restrict Australia to 277 for 9 despite three batsmen – Aaron Finch (68), Steven Smith (56) and Travis Head (71 not out) – making half-centuries. England then raced to 240 for 4 in 40.2 overs – well ahead of the DLS par score of 200 – when rain ended the game.

England’s chase started with Jason Roy falling to Mitchell Starc in the second ball and Alex Hales following in the next over off Josh Hazlewood. And when rain arrived after Joe Root too nicked one off Hazlewood in the sixth over, Australia was almost desperate not to leave the field. Understandably so, as it had the upper hand during the 42-minute rain interval.

But it all changed before the blink of an eye on the other side of the break. The remarkable turnaround began with Morgan hitting two fours off Starc, and carried on once Stokes got going. Much to Australia’s agony, it never really ended.

Morgan got an early life on 12 when Matthew Wade spilled a chance down leg side. It was an error Australia would rue, as the England captain latched on to everything he could get his bat on. He danced down the track when the ball was up, and unleashed fierce pulls whenever it was pitched short. Hazlewood was in the firing line, Morgan hooking him for two sixes into the crowd.

Morgan’s aggressive approach rubbed off on Stokes, who looked in sublime touch with his timing. He too took on the short balls with disdain, one such fierce hook taking him past his half-century off just 39 balls. As many as 38 of his first 50 runs came in boundaries.

Despite the early wobbles, England raced to 100 within 15 overs, with as many as ten fours and two sixes in nine overs after the rain break. From then on, it was almost like Stokes and Morgan were just out there to entertain the record 24,227-strong crowd.

Australia threw everything at them but every bowler was treated with disdain. The partnership raced past 150 in 143 balls, with the batsmen matching the other in strokeplay, and Australian shoulders dropping with every run and ball.

Morgan was run out in the 32nd over, but by then, the equation had come down to 83 off 103. Australia was too shell-shocked to take the opening anyway, as Glenn Maxwell’s drop off Jos Buttler showed.

Stokes meanwhile went past his century cutting Adam Zampa to the sweeper cover fence, before rain arrived to deliver Australia the knockout punch.

Before the Stokes-Morgan show, it was the Rashid-Wood combination that set up the game. Rashid didn’t concede a single boundary while Wood was equally impressive with as many as 40 dot balls in his ten-over spell.

In total, Australia played as many as 153 dot balls but it all seemed very different when David Warner and Finch got going at the top, before Wood found Warner’s edge in the eighth over. With Smith joining Finch, Australia went past 100 in 18 overs without doing anything extravagant.

It left Rashid with a massive task to do and the leg-spinner rose to the occasion. He troubled Finch with accurate, skiddy bowling and the pressure resulted in the batsman lofting Stokes to cover, ending the 96-run stand.

With a leg-spinner in the midst of a good spell, one might have expected the left-handed Head to walk in but Australia stuck to Moises Henriques, who has an ODI batting average of 8. Henriques started well before walking straight into the temptation trap when he slogged a rare flighted ball from Rashid to mid-on.

The onus was on Smith but he too fell in a soft manner, gently chipping Wood to mid-off as Australia slipped to 181 for 4 from 136 for 1.

The momentum shifted back for a brief while with Head leading a counter-attack in a 58-run stand but Wood, combining with a splendid T20 style catch in the deep from Roy, ended the threat by getting Maxwell in the 43rd over.

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Rashid capitalised on the opening immediately with a double-wicket over and ran through the tail. Australia went from 239 for 4 to 254 for 9 as Head waged a lone battle at the other end. It was too little, too late as Morgan and Stokes proved.

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