Millennium Post

Reclaiming the 'honour'

Seven months back, the Australian team was in shambles. Almost five months ago, they underwent a total revamp. Just about three months to the World Cup, they achieved a few wins and one month ago they struggled to accommodate two champions returning from exile. And on Tuesday, the Aussie chimaera left World Cup favourites England on the verge of an exit. Australia became the first team to book their place in the knockout stages of the tournament after beating England by 64 runs at Lord's. Aaron Finch's century and a combative 50 from David Warner helped Australia post 285-7, before Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc tore through England, with the hosts being bowled out for 221. England's semi-final hopes now hang in balance with Eoin Morgan's side needing at least two points from their final two games against India and New Zealand respectively. Both sides boast of unbeaten records and look set to join Australia in the final four. England's cricket for the last four years has been free and easy-going. But under the present situation, it cannot be so. They better learn to play another way. Australia is now relaxed and settled as they have proved themselves and have made it to the semi-finals. There have been a few records made as well. David Warner and Aaron Finch have now added three century stands in this edition of the World Cup — the joint most for a pair in an edition of ODI World Cup alongside Arvinda de Silva/Asanka Gurusinha (1996), Adam Gilchrist/Matthew Hayden (2007) and Tillakaratne Dilshan/Kumar Sangakkara (2015). Finch has now scored two centuries in this World Cup — the joint most for a captain in an edition of ODI World Cup. Sourav Ganguly holds the record — 3 in 2003. Another interesting highlight is that Australia has now defeated England six times in the World Cups — the most an opponent has defeated England in World Cups, moving ahead of New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who have scripted five wins each. With jeers and boos, Smith and Warner fought on. The pair have been generally well received over the past fortnight. Indian captain Virat Kohli had, in a rare gesture, urged his own fans to cheer for the former Australian captain and vice-captain. However, even at Lord's against England, Warner and Smith were put to the sword by the English crowd even as they piled on the runs for Australia. The hostile reception even prompted several former cricketers and fans to express their disgust with the Lord's crowd. But the duo, they were all smiles. It's perhaps the most suitable answer they could give to the crowd who should now understand that this booing is actually meaningless and that it's a world stage where a lot more serious business is going on in the field.

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