England crush Australia by eight wickets to reach World Cup final

This was not just victory over Australia. This was a total shellacking of the old enemy that not only gloriously took England to their first World Cup final in 27 years but also laid down several serious markers for the Ashes.
What a day for England at Edgbaston and what a triumph for a captain in Eoin Morgan who now stands on the brink of joining Bobby Moore and Martin Johnson in becoming the only captains of English teams to lift major World Cups.
It was all over after just 32.1 overs of the England innings as they galloped past Australia's woeful 223 all out with all the ease of a team who have overcome their mid tournament blip to fully justify all the planning and prioritising of this tournament.
England will now head to Lord's on Sunday to face New Zealand, who they defeated by 119 runs at Durham only last week, as hot favourites to end 44 years of hurt and finally win their first global trophy over the longer form of the limited-overs game.
Truly, this was a day to savour as the real England, the one that has been routinely and thrillingly dismissing virtually all opponents in one-day cricket over the last four years, stood up like never before in this tournament.
From the moment Australia captain Aaron Finch, with seven 50-over centuries against England to his name, was trapped lbw first ball by the brilliant Jofra Archer, this was the day when it really did look like the cricket World Cup was coming home.
The only sour note of a near perfect day came when Jason Roy, again dominant with a blistering 85 off 65 balls, was given out by a truly awful decision by Kumar Dharmasena and showed serious dissent on his prolonged departure.
Roy clearly missed his attempted pull off Pat Cummins that went through down the legside to Alex Carey and was stunned to see Dharmasena raise his finger after prolonged appealing by Australia.
It was a howler of the worst kind but the problem for Roy and England was that his partner in yet another 100-plus stand for the first wicket in Jonny Bairstow had wasted England's review when trapped palpably lbw by Mitchell Starc.
So enraged was Roy that he had to be ushered off by umpire Marais Erasmus and expressed his displeasure with his body language and the apparent mouthing of obscenities. A fine must surely be on its way from match referee Ranjan Madugalle. 
It should not be allowed to take the gloss off England's day. Everywhere you looked there were notable performances in England's most important one-day international since Graham Gooch's World Cup finalists were beaten in the 1992 final by Pakistan.
First there was Archer again showing what a thoroughbred of a fast bowler he already is with the pace and hostility to see off Finch and later Glenn Maxwell to take his World Cup wicket tally to an England record 19 for the tournament.
But, more brutally, there was the sight of Australian blood on the Edgbaston pitch where the Ashes begin in less than three weeks when Archer struck Carey a nasty blow on the chin and nonchalantly retired to the boundary for a drink while he was treated.
Only the side injury that is supposed to be hindering the new bowling superstar of international cricket can possibly stop Archer taking the new-ball in the first Ashes Test back here on August 1.
Even more impressive was the new-ball bowling of local hero Chris Woakes as England came bristling and bursting out of the traps after Finch had won what seemed like an important toss to set the tone for a day of English dominance.
Woakes was at the heart of that burst with an opening spell of two for 16 off six overs that saw the back of David Warner, prolific in his comeback tournament, and the hopelessly out of his depth replacement Peter Handscomb.
Honestly, this was like the fabled Ashes Test here in 2005 in the intensity of the England bowling and the raucous atmosphere of England's most patriotic ground as Australia found themselves rocking on 14 for three with little chance of hitting back. 
Australia did manage to at least hold their sinking ship together when Steve Smith, booed more vigorously than Warner, and the impressive Carey, bandaged up like Rick McCosker after being hit by Bob Willis, added 103 for the fourth wicket.
It did look as though Australia would produce a total to at least test England in this tournament where bating first has invariably held sway until Carey foolishly swung Adil Rashid to cow corner and the door was again ajar.
Smith's defiant 85 was ended by a brilliant direct hit run out by Jos Buttler and Australia wasted an over as they were rushed out for a score at least 50 short of where they should have been on one of the best pitches of this World Cup.
It never looked enough. What a difference Roy has made to England since returning from his hamstring injury and what a display of hitting this was with five sixes flying into a thankfully full and jubilant Edgbaston crowd.
Nothing was better than the extraordinary six off Australia's best bowler in Starc that was somehow flicked by Roy to the left of long leg and nothing was more satisfying than the straight six that flew off Nathan Lyon's first ball.
Yet, most notably of all, there were three successive sixes off a single Steve Smith over that cost 21 runs, the third flying further and higher into Edgbaston's new stand than any seasoned Warwickshire observer could ever remember.
It was all over when Joe Root and Morgan enjoyed themselves in an unbroken stand of 79 and Edgbaston resounded to the sounds of 'Warner, Warner what's the score?' and 'Smith, Smith what's the score?' from the Hollies Stand.
They know the score alright. It was the heaviest of thrashings by England over Australia and only New Zealand now stand in the way of England and the World Cup. These sides will be back here soon for the start of the Ashes with the psychological edge overwhelmingly with England. 

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