Birmingham, June 11: England on Saturday sent Australia packing home, knocking them out the Champions Trophy, after winning the rain marred match via Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method that also helped Bangladesh secure a place in the semi-finals.
Ben Stokes (102 not out) and Eoin Morgan (87) helped England defeat Australia by 40 runs as the latter failed to progress from the Group A.
Put in to bat by England, who had already reached the semi-finals, Australia posted 277/9, thanks to Travis Head (91 not out), Aaron Finch (68) and skipper Steve Smith (56). During the chase, Stokes and Morgan shared 159-run fourth-wicket stand to help England recover from 35/3.
England’s chase was interrupted twice by rain and when the skies halted play for the second time, England were 240/4 in 40.2 overs, with Stokes unbeaten having hit his third century in One-Day International cricket. With no play possible thereafter, England were declared victors as D/L method came into effect. Stokes flogged 13 fours and two sixes.
With this win, England entered the semi-finals as the top-ranked team from the group with six points. Bangladesh have three points from three matches, while Australia could only pocket two points — a point each from two washed out games and New Zealand have one point.
Australia, facing a do-or-die game, were thwarted by a late disciplined bowling effort from England. Pacer Mark Wood (4/33) and leg-spinner Adil Rashid (4/41) were the pick of the English bowlers, as the visitors lost their last five wickets for 38 runs.
Earlier, a 96-run second wicket partnership between Smith (56) and Finch (68) helped Australia recover from the early loss of opener David Warner (21).
Warner lost his concentration and edged one back off Wood, who tested the southpaw with some immaculate line and length. Warner’s fall brought in his captain Smith, who along with Finch steadied the ship to take the visitors to the three-figure mark.
In the process, Finch got to his 50 off 47 balls and looked set for a big innings before an attempt to launch Stokes misfired with Morgan completing a smart catch at mid-off.
Australia’s decision to promote Moises Henriques to No.4 did not work out as the all-rounder could add only 25 runs for the third wicket with his skipper before falling to Rashid.
Smith also did not last long and fell immediately after completing his half century off 68 deliveries, which contained five hits to the fence.
Thereafter, Travis Head (71 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (20) added 58 runs for the fifth wicket before Maxwell failed to make the most of the life he got on the same score and became Wood’s third victim.
Reeling at 239/5, Australia lost the remaining four wickets of Matthew Wade (2), Mitchell Starc (0), Pat Cummins (4) and Adam Zampa (0) within a span of 15 runs to lose the plot.
Towards the end, Head played a lone hand, smacking Ball and Stokes out of the park twice to milk 19 runs off the final two overs with tailender Josh Hazlewood (1 not out) a mute spectator at the other end. Head’s 64-ball innings was laced with five fours and two sixes as he lifted Australia to 277/9.
England’s chase had a torrid start, losing openers Jason Roy (4) and Alex Hales (0). While left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc got a lbw decision against Roy in the second ball of the first over, Hales edged a delivery from right-arm pacer Josh Hazlewood to Aaron Finch at first slip.A
Joe Root () too couldn’t contribute much, as he edged a delivery from Hazlewood to wicket-keeper Matthew Wade in the fourth ball of the sixth over.
Left-hander Morgan, meanwhile got a reprieve at the personal score of 14 when Wade dived to his right but failed to pouch a catch of the batsman, who failed to connect a short delivery from Hazzlewood in the sixth ball of the fourth over. But the partnership had stretched for only 29 runs when the latter.
Morgan and Stokes began the damage control act after a 40-minute interruption due to rain, with the hosts at 35/3 in six overs. The pair took the attack to the opposition, hitting boundaries in each over. Both of them being natural stroke-makers, the element of risk was there but they managed to negate it.
Morgan, who scored his 34th fifty in ODI cricket, milked eight fours and five sixes before being run out by a direct throw from Adam Zampa from midwicket. He left having put England at a position of strength at 194/4 in 31.5 overs.
Stokes continued his fireworks and completed his century in 108 deliveries as he got good support from wicket keeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who played a lovely cameo of 29 not out in 32 deliveries until rain intervened again, with England at 240/4 in 40.2 overs — eventually a winning position.
Brief Scores: Australia 277/9 (Travis Head 71 not out, Aaron Finch 68, Steve Smith 56, Mark Wood 4/33, Adil Rashid 4/41). England 240/4 in 40.2 overs (Ben Stokes 102 not out, Eoin Morgan 87; Josh Hazlewood 2/50). England win by 40 runs via D/L method.