One-day cricket has long been the poor relation of the international game in England in terms of status. But an embarrassing first-round exit at the World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand propelled them to overhaul their ODI outfit.
Since then, England has dominated the 50-over format and on Thursday (July 11) the three lions reached their first World Cup final since 1992. Eoin Morgan and company thrashed arch-rivals Australia in the semi-final by 8 wickets at Edgbaston to setup the summit clash with New Zealand at Lord’s on July 14.
Speaking after the match, England skipper Morgan said his team has taken a massive leap since its poor showing in the quadrennial event four years ago.
"I was six in 1992, I don't remember it, but I have seen a lot of it. It is an opportunity for us on Sunday, a huge one at that too. It is a massive leap from where we were in 2015. Everyone in that dressing room must take a lot of credit for that," he said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Chasing 224 to win, England rode on Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy’s fourth consecutive 100+ stand to overhaul Australia’s target in just 32.1 overs. Earlier, all-rounder Chris Woakes (3/20) bowled brilliantly to help England bundle out the defending champions for 223 in 49 overs.
"Roy and Jonny at the top of the order are really imposing when they get themselves in. They are in the form of their lives and they take advantage of that. They set the tone for us. Extremely happy for Woakes also. He is a cool customer and has been one of the best bowlers for us in the last couple of years," Morgan remarked.
On the other hand, Australia captain Aaron Finch had no qualms in admitting that his team was outplayed in the marquee clash.
"We were just totally outplayed today. The way they set the tone with the ball and getting to 27/3 after 10 overs was a huge part of the game. And was too hard for us to get back from. You do expect the new ball to seam first up, but they bowled really well by targetting the stumps and bowled a great length, something that we tried to do as well.
"But plenty of positives for us in this World Cup especially given where we were last year when we came here in England. You always want to win, but really proud of the group to get us here. In the last six months or so, there has been a lot of character shown, but it still hurts.
"We tried to change it up as much as we could, kept looking for wicket-taking options. Just couldn't find it because they played exceptionally well," said Finch.
(With PTI inputs)