BIRMINGHAM: Ben Stokes hit a career-best 102 not out and captain Eoin Morgan 87 as England knocked Australia out of the Champions Trophy with a 40-run win over their arch-rivals on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Opener Aaron Finch and captain Steve Smith both scored fifties as Australia scored 277/9 in 50 overs against England.
Australia were set for a big total but saw a middle-order collapse towards the end of the innings with the England bowlers picking up 5/15 in five overs.
Wood and Rashid took four wickets each, ripping through the middle of the Australian batting order.
The Aussies, yet to win a match in the tournament, need to win to qualify for the semifinals. A defeat or a washout would send Steve Smith’s men home, paving way for Bangladesh’s entry into the semifinals.
England, meanwhile, have already secured their berth in the semis and would look to continue their momentum against old foes Australia.
Smith’s side contains several proven match-winners and the skipper said he expects his team to raise their game on Saturday.
“Obviously, it’s a must-win match for us … essentially a quarter-final,” said the star batsman.
“That usually does bring out the best of the Australia cricket team in big tournaments. So let´s hope that is the case.”
Australia beat England easily en route to winning the 2015 World Cup but an admiring Smith said: “I think they’ve come a long way.
“We’re certainly going to have to be at our best if we´re going to beat them.”
Meanwhile England captain Eoin Morgan has labelled Saturday’s match his personal equivalent of the Ashes.
The former Ireland batsman does not expect to add to his tally of 16 Test caps, with the Middlesex left-hander’s international focus now firmly on white-ball cricket.
“I’ve been in a position where I haven’t played in Ashes cricket,” said Morgan. “If you never get to play in an Ashes game, this is the closest you will ever get to beating an Australia team.”
Although his side are already into the last four, Morgan sees Saturday’s match as important staging post on the road to the 2019 World Cup in England.
“If we´re looking to win this tournament and go beyond and win the World Cup, we need to be beating the best sides in the world — and Australia at the moment are one of them,” he said.