Don Topley: England’s cricket revolution will be capped by World Cup win
- Credit: PA
In his latest column, Don Topley looks ahead to Sunday’s Cricket World Cup Final between England and New Zealand – and predicts the winner.
It was entirely fitting for England captain Eoin Morgan to be at the crease and hit the runs which put England into the World Cup Final at Lord's on Sunday.
England thrashed Australia by eight wickets and now have the right to face New Zealand - a new team name will be engraved on the 50 Over World Cup on Sunday night.
Cricket was on the front pages and the lead item in the main news yesterday after a sensational bowling display, particularly in the PowerPlay. England restricted Australia to 27/3 off the first ten overs - they were 14/3 at one stage. Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer bowled superbly with the new ball and had learnt from their mistakes in an earlier World Cup game, which Australia won.
Adil Rashid enjoyed his best bowl in this World Cup, despite having a perpetual troubled shoulder. In reply, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow set about a swingless Australian bowling unit with disdain. It was a wonderful and proud day to be English at Edgbaston.
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England absolutely love playing there and Australia simply hate it. They have a history of rolling ankles, becoming frustrated, losing games and generally underperforming, whilst a noisy and hostile environment offers no respite.
David Warner and Steve Smith were, once again, the pantomime villains and copped much stick. None of our antipodean friends will be wanting to return to Edgbaston for the first Ashes Test come August 1!
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England have put together three cracking wins - almost knockout games - to get to the 50 Over Final. The last time England made such a final was 27 years ago, when Graham Gooch's England side peaked a little early and lost to Imran Khan's 'Tigers of Pakistan' in Melbourne.
A few have quietly forgotten that Eoin Morgan's side prospered in India in 2016 and nearly won the t20 World Cup, before Carlos Braithwaite smashed four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes in Kolkata.
I do believe that chastening experience just three years ago will galvanise England and stand our boys in good stead for Sunday.
It's been an incredible journey for Team England, under Morgan. Four years ago, England were dreadful and crashed out of the last 50 Over World Cup, in Australia.
England were playing an outdated game with Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell leading a predictable and one-paced batting approach.
Andrew Strauss must take a lot of credit, being instrumental in contracting Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace, whose philosophies encouraged England to play with confidence and the new 'fearless cricket'. They focused on the white ball game.
Roy and Bairstow have become the modern day 'Greenidge and Haynes' as the very best opening partnership in World Cricket. Since Roy has returned from injury he has been pivotal and given England that much needed fillip in the three winning matches.
Roy's last eleven England innings have seen the Reigate and Surrey opener make nine half centuries - quite remarkable.
On Thursday, Roy, was denied a certain century. He was given out incorrectly and immediately asked for a review. Sadly, Bairstow had used it, so Roy - who knew he was never out - remonstrated and had to be persuaded off by an umpire, which certainly didn't look good.
Roy was probably lucky not to collect a ban for his behaviour, instead adding two demerit points to his disciplinary record, and a fine of 30% of his match fee - perhaps Roy might sidle up to Bairstow and politely ask if he would like to make a contribution? More importantly Roy will not miss his World Cup Final.
It was Chris Woakes, not Roy, who was awarded Man of the Match. Woakes is often the unsung hero either with bat or ball. A charming, polite and popular man, he always has a smile. He claimed 3/20 in 8 overs and on his home Birmingham ground.
The Home of Cricket, Lord's, will welcome Morgan's men. SkySports - who possess the UK Broadcast rights - have agreed to share live coverage with 'free to air tv', Channel4 and More4 on Sunday.
So our nation can witness what I think will be England's first ever 50 Over World Cup win and on home soil! How fantastic is that - cricket is relevant again!