Australia ‘outplayed’ by England in World Cup semifinal says Finch, as hosts cruise to Lord’s NZ showdown

England’s captain Eoin Morgan, left, hugs teammate Joe Root to celebrate their win over Australia in the Cricket World Cup semifinal match at Edgbaston in Birmingham to set up a final with New Zealand at Lord’s. (AP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Australia ‘outplayed’ by England in World Cup semifinal says Finch, as hosts cruise to Lord’s NZ showdown

  • Losing to their arch-rivals in front of a gleeful Edgbaston crowd was painful way for Australia to lose their crown
  • Finch, who was out for a duck, conceded England had been far superior

EDGBASTON, Birmingham: Australia captain Aaron Finch admitted his side were “outplayed” by England after the World Cup holders saw their reign ended in a semifinal thumping on Thursday.
Despite winning the toss and batting first, Finch’s team were humbled as they collapsed to 223 all out before allowing England to sweep to victory in just 32.1 overs.
Losing to their arch-rivals in front of a gleeful Edgbaston crowd was a painful way for Australia to surrender the trophy they had won four times in the past five tournaments.
But Finch, who was out for a duck, conceded England had been far superior.
“We were totally outplayed today. We expected the new ball to seam a little but they bowled a great length, hitting the stumps a lot,” Finch said.
“We had to have a lot things go right for us. We had to take our chances and bowl them out.
“We tried to take wickets but when you are aggressive with the ball and they are aggressive with the bat, things can happen very quickly.”
England openers Jason Roy, who hit 85 from 65 balls, and Jonny Bairstow, who made 34, took the game away from Australia with a superb 124-run partnership for the first wicket.
“They played exceptionally well. We know how dominant they are when they get on top. You’ve got a very good cricket team in England,” Finch said.
Although Australia had beaten England easily in the group stage at Lord’s, they were a shadow of the team that eased into the semifinals with seven wins from nine matches.
For just the second time in the past seven World Cups, Australia have failed to make the final, but Finch said he was proud of his team’s efforts 12 months after they were crushed 5-0 by England in a one-day international series.
“We have a lot of positives from the campaign. We’ve come a long way from when we were in England a year ago,” he said.
“We came here thinking we could win the tournament. We’ve had backs to the wall and character shown and I’m proud of how the group have progressed but it still hurts.”


Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

Updated 21 February 2020

Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

LONDON: Jose Mourinho had almost reached the end of his lament about the current situation facing his weary Tottenham players when he turned his attention to their next Premier League game against a team he knows so well.

“The Chelsea players were watching this game on TV,” Mourinho said after Tottenham’s 1-0 home loss to Leipzig in the Champions League, “with nice sparkling water, with lemons and biscuits, enjoying the game.”

If only the outlook at Chelsea were so rosy.

Indeed, recent results suggest the predicament of Mourinho’s old club is more concerning than Tottenham’s.

Chelsea, somehow, find themselves still holding onto fourth place in the league heading into Saturday’s London derby against their nearest rivals in the race for Champions League qualification. That’s despite collecting only 15 points from its last 14 games, a dire run stretching back to the end of November.

At that time, Chelsea were on a six-match winning streak — its best since the team’s title-winning season of 2016-17 — and wasn’t too far behind Liverpool, the current runaway leader. Youngsters like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were regular starters, given their opportunity by an up-and-coming manager in Frank Lampard who is eager to promote youth. US winger Christian Pulisic was in his best form since his move from
Borussia Dortmund.

Fast forward three months and injuries are starting to bite, the kids are starting to feel the pace in a grueling season, and Lampard — a bright, eloquent and engaging manager — has been grumbling about the club’s failure to add numbers to the squad in January and his players’
wastefulness in front of goal.

“I must sound like a broken record,” a clearly frustrated Lampard said after seeing Chelsea get picked off in a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Lampard’s main gripe is the team’s inability to finish off chances, which has become more pronounced with Abraham — a scorer of 13 league goals this season — currently out injured.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic also missing against United, Lampard played a front three of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Pedro Rodriguez — a throwback to a few years ago and an era Chelsea fans probably thought they’d seen the back of.

Key midfielder N’Golo Kante joined Abraham on the injury list after going off early against United, while Lampard is still playing 38-year-old Willy Caballero in goal after dropping Kepa Arrizabalaga — signed in 2018 as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

It’s an uncertain period for Lampard, who is still a rookie in managerial terms, and Chelsea’s recent slump has seen as many as seven teams move within seven points or closer in the standings.

In that three-month period, Tottenham have won 29 points — a haul second only to Liverpool. That coincided exactly with Mourinho taking over as manager from Mauricio Pochettino.

The issue, now, is whether Spurs can keep it up, and Mourinho clearly has his doubts. With attackers Son Heung-min and Harry Kane out potentially for the rest of the season, Mourinho likened his team to someone “going to fight with a gun without bullets.”

Amid a hectic schedule that has seen his team play two FA Cup replays since the turn of the year, Mourinho said he has been forced to start with the same group of players for matches every three of four days. Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench against Leipzig having barely trained.

“I try to manage the pieces that we had,” he said.

Throw in the fact that Tottenham has a tight turnaround after the Leipzig match — Wednesday night to Saturday lunchtime — and Mourinho will feel he has genuine cause for grievance.

Yet, he is managing to scramble together results and a win at Stamford Bridge, where he previously enjoyed two separate trophy-winning spells as coach and was once revered, would see Tottenham climb above Chelsea.

Outmanoeuvring Mourinho, his former coach, in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in December was one of the few bright spots for Lampard in recent months. 

Doing so again would give him and Chelsea some much-needed breathing space in what is suddenly a bunched chase for Champions League qualification.