A surprise win by South Africa against Australia meant India finished top of the table rather than Australia. That pitted India against New Zealand. For many Indian fans that was a certain Final spot, but the Blackcaps had other plans and the Final place is theirs.

England and Australia would battle each other for the other spot. Edgbaston has been a happy place for England for a number of years, Australia haven’t beaten them there since 1993.

Aaron Finch won the toss and elected to bat, that wasn’t music to the ears for England fans.

However, England couldn’t have had a better start! A decent over from Woakes was followed by a first over wicket for Joffra Archer, he trapped Finch LBW, a Golden Duck for the Australian captain! As an added bonus Finch wasted his review! Australia were 4 for 1.

Woakes wasn’t to be outdone, he took the key wicket of David Warner in the next over, he was caught by Jonny Bairstow and out for 9. That put Australia on 10 for 2.

Both Warner leaving and Smith’s arrival confirmed for me my decision to give the Ashes a miss was the right one. Add the W word to the booing and that’s not a good sound at all for me!

A much better sound were the cheers when Woakes sent Peter Handscomb’s bails flying! Out for 4, Australia were now 14 for 3!!!

My shot of the day, not Peter Handscomb’s

After 10 overs Australia had moved to just 27 for 3, an Archer ball hit Alex Carey on the head, dislodging his helmet, a few idiots cheered. But more clapped when he was deemed to be ok. However having seen the hit on the TV it strikes me that cricket must initiate a proper concussion protocol, there’s no way he should’ve just been patched up to carry on.

Things moved on slowly for Australia, they were 47 for 3 after 15 overs and at the drink’s break. With his helmet off it was clear to see the bandage round Carey’s face and head.

Australia’s 50 came up with a Four from Smith from the 1st ball of the 16th, Liam Plunkett’s first over.

Their 100 came up in the 25th over, Steve Smith was on 43 from 64 and Alex Carey on 38 from 58 balls. They were building a great partnership and England needed a 4th wicket.

it was interesting that the umpires were letting England get away with throwing the ball in on the bounce time and again, when they’d been picked up at Trent Bridge for doing the same thing.

England needed a wicket badly and Rashid tempted Carey who hit the ball hard, but not quite hard enough, sub fielder James Vince took the catch on the boundary and he was out for 46, Australia were 117 for 4.

Steve Smith, awkward but effective

Smith’s 50 came up to boo’s, but happily, clapping too. Marcus Stoinis came and went in 2 balls as Rashid trapped him LBW, the appeal was loud, and the finger slow to go up, but it did go up and Australia were 118 for 5.

Glenn Maxwell scored 22 from 23 Balls
Archer strikes again

Glenn Maxwell joined Smith and looked well set, he scored 22 and looked to be building another good partnership but Archer broke it, he was caught by Morgan and Australia were 157 for 6.

Pat Cummins joined Smith, but not for long, he was bamboozled by a ball from Rashid and caught by Root, Australia were 166 for 7 after 37.4 overs. Rashid finished his 10 overs with 3 for 54.

2 for 32 for Joffra Archer

Archer finished his 10 with 2 for 32, another very decent return. Australia moved to 175 for 7 after 40 overs. Steve Smith had 74 from 104 balls. He remains one of the most effective yet awkward looking batsmen I’ve ever seen.

Australia’s 200 came up in the 45th over, Liam Plunkett, looking decidedly average was hit for a huge Six by Mitch Starc, it’s a real shame that Tom Curran hasn’t been given a chance in this tournament.

England took a review of an LBW to Smith from the bowling of Woakes, the ball was a little high, but umpires call, no wicket, but no lost review either.

Steve Smith scored 85 from 119 Balls

After what was a brilliant innings, Smith, who’d been looking for every run, took a single and was run out after an outstanding throw from Jos Buttler at the far end. Again with the benefit of a TV replay, that run out was truly remarkable, Buttler threw the ball between Smith’s legs! He was gone for 85, furious at the way he was dismissed. Starc was out the very next ball, having scored 29 from 36 Balls. He was caught by Buttler from the bowling of Woakes.

Man of the Match Chris Woakes

Australia were 217 for 9 after 47.2 overs. After 8 overs Woakes figures were 3 for 20.

Wood finished things off, bowling Behrendorff for 1 and Australia were all out for 223 in the 48th over. A total that looked highly unlikely at 14 for 3.

Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow opened the batting. The Surrey opener, Roy had missed several matches to England’s detriment. He not only brings runs from his own bat he seems to bring confidence to Bairstow too.

After 10 overs the pair had put on 51, with Roy on 27 from 33 and Bairstow on 20 from 27. Nathan Lyon came on to bowl the 11th over, having said Roy wasn’t brilliant against spin to my neighbour, he hit a Four from the first ball of the over,

England moved to 72 for no wicket when the pair ran 2, as Bairstow finished the second run he went down, in a lot of pain, he looked to have a problem with his groin. Worrying times for England, but he carried on after some attention from the physio. Roy did some stretches at the same time which was also a concern.

Roy brought his 50 up with a Four from the bowling of Starc, his second in that over, England had moved to 95 after 50 overs.

Smith came on to bowl, to boo’s, and 3 Sixes hit from the bat of Jason Roy. They helped bring up the 11th 100 partnership for this opening pair, brilliant!!!

The partnership was broken by Starc however, who trapped Bairstow LBW, he took the review, but there was no question, he was gone for 34 and England were 124 for 1 in the 18th over with their review gone.

Roy went in a controversial manner, he was caught by Carey from the bowling of Starc. Roy was convinced he didn’t hit the ball and showed dissent, but the finger went up. It seems Roy was right, but, Bairstow had wasted England’s review so out Roy had to go. He’d played a fantastic innings and scored 85, but ended up with a fine for his troubles.

Joe Root scored 49 from 46 Balls

England were 147 for 2 after 20 overs, they needed 77 to win. Their 200 came up in the 30th over, this match was being won at a canter! With 20 overs remaining England required 14 runs. Unsurprisingly Sweet Caroline was played and belted out across the ground.

Eoin Morgan scored 45 from 39 Balls

8 runs required from 19 overs and ‘cricket’s coming home’ was sung from the Hollies Stand.

Root was heading to his 50, when the board showed 3 required from 111 balls, England had it covered. Root missed out on his 50 by 1 run, it was Morgan who hit the winning runs, England beat Australia by 8 wickets with 17.5 overs to spare. They go into their first final since 1992 at Lord’s on Sunday.

So much of watching cricket is about the people I meet, today I sat with the delightful Saphié and her husband Paul, they’d been watching cricket together for 40 years. We had great fun, at one point Saphié said Australia looked like Scotland, I pointed out that Scotland beat England last summer, They looked more like the team that visited England then. But, they have had a fantastic tournament, Mitch Starc tops the wickets taken table and David Warner finishes only one run behind Rohit Sharma.

England will face New Zealand in the Final at Lord’s, I was lucky enough to get a ticket in the ballot. July 14th is the day my son, Luke died, 10 years ago now. I’m hoping England give me something to smile about.

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