London: When England needed 109 runs from the last 13 overs with five wickets in hand, Mitchell Starc produced an unplayable inswinging yorker with the last ball of the 37th over to hit Ben Stokes’ off stump.
A disgusted Stokes kicked his bat away at being bowled after playing a fighting knock of 89.
The act was also a demonstration of how England batsmen kicked away their chances of a victory against Australia, after restricting their arch-rivals to 285 for seven at the historic Lord’s.
Australia booked their place in the semi-finals with the 64-run win over England, whose reputation gets further tarnished as the favourites to lift the World Cup.
Riding on a captain’s knock of 100 from Aaron Finch and David Warner’s 53, Australia fought valiantly through their pace bowlers led by Jason Behrendorff (5 for 44) and Mitchell Starc (4 for 43).
Stokes tried his best to carry his team to the target.
He pushed England, who had slipped to 53 for 4 in just 13.5 overs, through a 71-run partnership in 13.3 overs with Jos Butler (25) and also added another 53 with Chris Woakes (26).
It wasn’t the total that Australia wanted to post but England, who won the toss and put Australia in to bat, were happy they could restrict their rivals to a gettable total.
Australian openers had laid the foundation for a total of over 300 through a 123-run opening partnership between Warner and Finch. In fact, at one stage Australia were at a commanding 173 for 1.
If not for an unbeaten 38 off 27 balls from Alex Carey, Australia would have got restricted to an even smaller total.
Warner was unstoppable again and went past the 500-run mark in this World Cup and looked set for his third century when Moeen Ali ended his innings by having him caught by Joe Root at backward point. It was a dramatic end because the delivery had bounced a bit more than Warner had expected and hence checked his stroke and Root, despite the ball popping out of his hands, took the catch.
Usman Khawaja on 23 paid the price for his poor footwork and that too against an accurate Stokes as he allowed the ball to go through the gates to be bowled. After Finch, who hit his second century of this World Cup following his 153 against Sri Lanka, celebrated his success but fell to the next ball top-edging Jofra Archer to Woakes at fine leg.
Maybe he lost the concentration after his three-figure mark or a bad timing, he had to walk away fully aware that he should have capitalised on his century and guided his team for a bigger score.
When next man Glenn Maxwell too fell after an eight-ball stay to score 12 runs, England wiped away Australia’s advantage of a good start. By the 42nd over they had lost four wickets for 55 runs in nine overs.
There was drama to Steve Smith’s dismissal too as he wanted to carry Australia to a stronger position but fell after hitting 38 off 34 balls and got booed all the way.
It was a surprising act from the fans at the Lord’s as Smith walked away livid at having played a poor shot to Woakes, hitting into the hands of Archer at long-on.
Australia knew that to fight with this total, which was not scary enough for England, they needed some quick wickets. England made it easy for them as opener James Vince fell to the second ball of the innings letting a Behrendorff inswinger hit the stumps.
Root, who too fell to an inswinger from Mitchell Starc. It was a stroke unacceptable from a batsman of his calibre at that stage and got trapped leg before after just a nine ball stay at the wicket. The in-form England skipper Eoin Morgan, stayed for just seven balls before pulling Strac to Cummins at fine leg.
For the next eight overs wickets did not fall and 27 runs were added to the total, but Behrendorff struck again. To the dismay of all England fans Bairstow hit high to Cummins, who once again did not make any mistake at the gifts being offered to him in the form of a catch.
At 53 for 4 in 13.5 overs, Australia’s total began to look huge and kept swelling as run rate kept mounting will regular fall of wickets.
A. Finch c Woakes b Archer 100
D. Warner c Root b Ali 53
U. Khawaja b Stokes 23
S. Smith c Archer b Woakes 38
G. Maxwell c Buttler b Wood 12
M. Stoinis run out 8
A. Carey not out 38
P. Cummins c Buttler b Woakes 1
M. Starc not out 4
Extras (4lb, 4w) 8
Total (for 7 wickets in 50 overs) 285
Did not bat: Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon
Fall of wickets: 1-123, 2-173, 3-185, 4-213, 5-228, 6-250, 7-259
Bowling: Chris Woakes 10-0-46-2, Jofra Archer 9-0-56-1, Mark Wood 9-0-59-1, Ben Stokes 6-0-29-1, Moeen Ali 6-0-42-1, Adil Rashid 10-0-49-0.
J. Vince b Behrendorff 0
J. Bairstow c Cummins b Behrendorff 27
J. Root lbw b Starc 8
E. Morgan c Cummins b Starc 4
B. Stokes b Starc 89
J. Buttler c Khawaja b Stoinis 25
C. Woakes c Finch b Behrendorff 26
Moeen Ali c Carey b Behrendorff 6
A. Rashid c Stoinis b Starc 25
J. Archer c Warner b Behrendorff 1
M. Wood not out 1
Extras: (1b, 5lb, 3w) 9
TOTAL: (all out in 44.4 overs) 221
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-15, 3-26, 4-53, 5-124, 6-177, 7-189, 8-202, 9-211, 10-221
Bowling: Jason Behrendorff 10-0-44-5, Mitchell Starc 8.4-1-43-4, Pat Cummins 8-1-41-0, Nathan Lyon 9-0-43-0, Marcus Stoinis 7-0-29-1, Glenn Maxwell 2-0-15-0.
Result: Australia wins by 64 runs
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney, New Zealand, and Sundaram Ravi, India.
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena, Sri Lanka.
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle, Sri Lanka.