Cricket

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 : Australia on Return Flight as Stokes-Morgan run rout in Edgbaston

Chris Woakes of England

The curse for Trans-Tasman neighbours (Australia and New Zealand) continued in the last league game of group A in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 as they became the first two teams to bid adieu to English shores.  Australia, after being asked to bat, posted 277-9 on the board, courtesy fifties from Travis Head (71*), Aaron Finch (68) and Steve Smith (56). Mark Wood (4-33) and Adil Rashid (4-41) were the pick of the bowlers for England.

Also Read: 5 reasons behind New Zealand’s hasty ICC Champions Trophy exit

Australia clawed their way back into the game as the Starc-Hazlewood pair removed the top three English batsmen cheaply. However, skipper Morgan and Stokes had other plans. They combined in a 159-run stand to quell any hopes of Aussie resurgence. After Morgan’s run out, Stokes and Buttler completed the formalities as England won the game by 40 runs (by DLS method). Stokes completed his hundred just before the rain settled in (England 240-4) and prevented further cricketing action at Edgbaston.

Here are the five talking points from the game.

Stokes-Morgan special leaves Aussies clueless

The English innings today very much resembled the Bangladeshi effort, the day before, to knock New Zealand out of the tournament. At one point of time, both were in a precarious situation, losing early wickets in a pressure chase and ultimately finding super-heroes to take them home comfortably. If it was the duo of Shakib-Mahmudullah for Bangladesh, it was Morgan-Stokes for England who combined in a 159-run stand to kick Australia out of the Champions Trophy 2017.

Morgan completed his 14th fifty (most by an Englishman against Kangaroos, going past Graham Gooch’s 13) against Aussies in 41 innings, before being run-out by Zampa for a brilliant 87 off 81 balls. Stokes went on to register his third career ODI hundred by hitting a boundary off a half-tracker from Zampa. He remained unbeaten on 102.

Starc-Hazlewood rattle English Top order

England were hot favorites as their openers embarked on the 278-run chase. They soon found themselves in troubled waters as their openers registered their lowest aggregate score since 2011 (scored an aggregate 0 vs India). Both the openers were back in the hut with the score reading just 6 and soon their best batsman was in the dug-out too, as Hazlewood snaffled Root caught behind for a paltry 15. All three wickets went to the opening pace duo of Starc (wicket of Roy) and Hazlewood (Root and Hales).

Travis ‘Calm’ Head saves Australia’s Day

While it was all mayhem going on at one end,  Australia found their saviour in 23-year old South Australia Captain, Travis Head. Head who remained unbeaten on 71 of 64 balls, with involved 5 fours and 2 sixes, had his share of luck but made sure that he took full advantage of the chances he got and went on to register his 6th ODI fifty. He displayed remarkable calmness and character as he ensured Australia went past 275 without getting bowled-out.

Kangaroos get a ‘Rash-Wood’ beating

Australia were comfortably placed at 239-4, with the Maxwell-Head stand already at 58 and looked set for an above 300 finish. Then came a moment of brilliance by Jason Roy who showed great presence of mind in catching a Maxwell blinder at the deep mid-wicket boundary. The fall of Maxwell started a procession of sorts as Aussie batsmen struggled to find their feet at the crease except for Head. From 239-4, Australia soon found themselves facing the danger of getting all-out under 250 overs as their ninth wicket fell at 254. Mark Wood (4-33) and Adil Rashid (4-41) were the chief destroyers. Here’s a look at the Roy brilliance-

Smith-Finch help Australia overcome Warner’s loss

Warner didn’t have the best of outings at Edgbaston as he was dismissed for a 25-ball 21. Aussies lost their vice-captain at the score of 40. In came in-form skipper, Steve Smith, who combined with Aaron Finch (68) to build together a 96-run stand which laid a solid platform for the rest of the batsmen to follow. Both the batsmen threw it away after completing their respective fifties which resulted in Australia not being able to build upon the platform they provided.

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