ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
Chris Woakes was adjudged Man of the Match in the semifinal clash against Australia © Getty
England captain Eoin Morgan was effusive in his praise for fast bowler Chris Woakes, who once again struck early in the first powerplay and laid the edifice for England’s push for a spot in the World Cup final.
Woakes removed the dangerous David Warner early, sending him packing for just his second single-digit score of the World Cup, and then cleaned up new man Peter Handscomb to leave Australia reeling at 14 for 3 in the seventh over. Morgan lauded the fast bowler, and adjudged him as one of the best bowlers in the first 10 overs over the last couple of years.
“Extremely happy, he’s a cool customer, goes about his business day in day out exceptionally. He’s one of the best in the first ten overs over the last couple of years. Him and Jofra were outstanding and the other guys backed that up, which allowed us to stay on top,” Morgan said on the sidelines of England’s thumping win over Australia.
Woakes revealed there were some nerves in the dressing room considering the size of the contest and was glad to have ended up on the winning side eventually. Woakes’s start was a bit off – the first ball went for a four – but he then corrected his line and stung Australia early.
“[I am] Pretty speechless actually, incredible performance from the team, starting with the bowling and the way the guys finished that off was outstanding. There were some nerves around, a few anxious people in the dressing room – that’s natural in the semi-finals of a major tournament. The way we produced the goods showed how good we are and how we perform as a team,” Woakes said.
“I just got my length wrong [the first ball], got a little bit full and a world-class player like Warner is going to put it away. Got my length right and felt good after that.”
The pacer, who finished with figures of 3 for 20 in 8 overs, felt the contrast in the way the two teams began proved to be a big difference in the result. While Australia were jolted and left to pick themselves up from 14 for 3, England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow became the first-ever pair to add four successive 100-plus partnerships in a World Cup.
“I don’t think it was a bad wicket by any means and when you get wickets at the top, they have to rebuild, and we kept the pressure on. We got off to a flyer chasing a relatively small total and that’s probably the difference,” Woakes said.
England received a lot of criticism for the manner of their league stage defeat to Australia – at Lord’s – but Woakes said that the players avoided all of that and instead concentrated on carrying forward the momentum they had from beating India and New Zealand.
“We try not to look at what people are saying, could have bowled fuller at Lord’s, but we’ve had momentum from playing two good games against India and New Zealand and carried it on today. It [First World Cup final since 1992] probably hasn’t sunk in, to win in the fashion we have against Australia is incredible and really looking forward to Sunday.”