Pressure on home side to repeat form in finals

12 June 2017
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Rain again did Australia no favours but England deserved to win. Now the pressure will really be on in the semi-finals

About the Writer:

One of Australia's most accomplished batters across all three forms of the game, Mike Hussey exited the international arena in 2013 before captaining the Sydney Thunder to the BBL|05 title

It was fitting really that the rain came down in Birmingham, ending Australia's Champions Trophy campaign. Each of Australia's matches were affected by weather, which made it difficult for the players to get some momentum and continuity in the tournament.

Quick Single: Stokes, England eliminate Australia

Coming into the must-win match against England, my biggest concerns from an Australian point of view were that England had confidence and momentum, and because they had already qualified for the semi-finals, could play with freedom. That is a dangerous recipe.

Australia would have prepared well in the nets, but nothing beats match intensity and I was concerned that the batsmen would be rusty after very little time in the middle in match situations due to the weather intervening in previous matches.

A common theme of Australia team meetings is that one of the top four batsmen needs to take the responsibility and score a big hundred for it. The Australia top four got starts and all, except for David Warner, would be disappointed with the way they were dismissed by giving their wicket away.

At one stage, Australia was well placed at 2-161 in the 27th over, but none of the top four could kick on and score a century.

Bruising Finch gets Aussies off to strong start

England bowlers deserve credit as they bowled very well, building pressure on what looked to be a good batting pitch. Mark Wood and Adil Rashid picked up wickets at regular intervals, which made it difficult for Australia to accelerate the run rate at the end of the innings.

At the halfway mark of the match, Australia would have been slightly disappointed with 277 on the board, but would have believed they could win if early wickets were taken. Things were looking good at 2-6 and when Joe Root was dismissed with only 35 on the board, the game was in Australia's favour.

What came next was a partnership of the highest quality.

Wood, Rashid restrict Aussies as Head fires

Australia's best bowler has been Josh Hazlewood, with his strength being his immaculate line and length. He picked up the two early wickets of Alex Hales and Joe Root with excellent deliveries, where both batsmen didn't do much wrong and were beaten by good bowling.

There was a short rain delay, which possibly curbed Australia's momentum and gave England a chance to re-group.

Hazlewood, Starc blow away top order

After resumption, both Stokes and Morgan played with control, confidence and composure, timing the ball beautifully and the partnership grew quickly. Morgan often looked to advance down the pitch to disrupt Hazlewood's consistent and disciplined bowling which paid dividends, and Stokes played some powerful drives down the ground mixed with some vicious pulls putting the Australian attack on the back foot.

Steve Smith tried everything, swinging his bowling options around with no luck and it seemed only a runout would break the partnership. Adam Zampa obliged by running out Eoin Morgan for 87, but Jos Butler came to the crease and kept the momentum going for England with 29 not out from only 32 balls.

Stokes puts on ODI batting masterclass

It was, however, Ben Stokes' day, as the rain came again and did not abate, he remained on 102 not out from 109 balls and with England 40 runs ahead on the DLS method he was a worthy player of the match.

England has found a formula for success which is to play with freedom, with each player knowing his role and knowing he has the backing of the coach, captain and selectors to play his way.

Roy's ripper sparks stunning Australia collapse

The challenge will be to play in the same manner in their finals campaign, which is easier said than done.

It wasn't Australia's day and England deserved to win as they played the better cricket on Saturday. As a result, it's on to the semi-finals for England with confidence and momentum, and for Australia it is another disappointing ICC Champions Trophy and time to head home.

Top four let us down: Smith

This article first appeared on

Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

Squads: Every Champions Trophy nation


1 JuneEngland beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

2 JuneNew Zealand v Australia, no result

3 JuneSri Lanka lost to South Africa by 96 runs

4 June – India beat Pakistan by 124 runs

5 JuneAustralia v Bangladesh, no result

6 JuneEngland beat New Zealand by 87 runs

7 JunePakistan beat South Africa by 19 runs (DLS method)

8 June Sri Lanka beat India by seven wickets

9 June  Bangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets

10 June England beat Australia by 40 runs (DLS method)

11 JuneIndia beat South Africa by eight wickets

12 JuneSri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 JuneFirst semi-final (England v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 JuneSecond semi-final (Bangladesh v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 JuneFinal, The Oval (D)

19 June – Reserve day (D)

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