BIRMINGHAM, England (CMC) – Barbadian Jofra Archer’s dream of reaching a World Cup final materialised on Thursday when he produced another excellent performance to help England trounce old foes Australia by eight wickets in the second semi-final at Edgbaston.
Choosing to bat, the reigning world champions were limited to 223 all out off 49 overs with former captain Steve Smith top-scoring with 85 off 119 deliveries.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey supported with 46 off 70 balls while Mitchell Starc chipped in with 29 and Glenn Maxwell, 22.
In reply, Jason Roy slammed 85 from 65 balls in an opening stand of 124 with Jonny Bairstow who struck 34 from 43 deliveries.
When both were dismissed within two overs of each other, captain Eoin Morgan stroked an unbeaten 45 in an unbroken third wicket stand of 79 with Test skipper Joe Root (49 not out) to steer England to victory in the 33rd over.
England will face New Zealand in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.
However, it was the early pace of Archer which helped lay the foundation for the hosts’ win. The 23-year-old, who only qualified to represent his adopted country mere weeks before the start of the World Cup, got the breakthrough when he trapped the left-handed Aaron Finch lbw without scoring with a full-length delivery.
With just four runs on the board in the second over, the Aussies lost opener David Warner (9) and Peter Handscomb (4) cheaply – both to Man-of-the-Match seamer Chris Woakes (3-20) – to be in further trouble at 14 for three in the seventh over.
Archer was pulled from the attack after only five overs which cost 11 runs and Australia fought back through a 103-run, fourth wicket stand between Smith and Carey.
Recalled after 30 overs with the Aussies on 130 for five, Archer again bowled superbly to remove Maxwell with one that jumped off a length, the batsman jabbing a simple catch to Morgan at cover.
Somewhat of a controversial selection, Archer has proven his critics wrong with 19 wickets at an average of 22 to be England’s leading wicket-taker.
Born and raised in Barbados, Archer represented West Indies Under-19s in a handful of matches in 2013 before turning his attention to representing England.
He holds a United Kingdom passport through his father who is British.