Starc, Behrendorff take Australia to World Cup semi-final


LONDON: Australia reached the semi-final stage of the World Cup tournament with 64 runs win against England courtesy a five-wicket haul by Jason Behrendorff.

Mitchell Starc returned to take the key wicket of England dangerman Ben Stokes as reigning champions Australia closed in on a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup at Lord´s on Thursday.

When left-arm fast bowler Starc yorked Stokes for 89, England were 177-6 off 37 overs, chasing a target of 286. Mitchel Starc took four wickets while Stonis picked one.

Earlier, Australia captain Aaron Finch made exactly 100 in a total of 285-7.

England´s reply saw them lose a wicket off just the second ball of their chase, with the struggling James Vince — only playing because Jason Roy was out with a hamstring injury — bowled by an inswinger from the recalled Jason Behrendorff.

Starc, like Behrendorff a left-arm quick, then took two wickets in nine balls to become the tournament´s leading bowler.

Test skipper Joe Root was plumb lbw to an inswinger for eight before England captain Eoin Morgan (four) fell into a hooking trap when a top-edge was held safely by Pat Cummins at fine leg.

Australia, who had lost 10 of their past 11 one-day internationals against England, were in complete charge with England now 26-3.

Jonny Bairstow then fell to a careless hook off Behrendorff before Stokes and Jos Buttler (25) repaired some of the damage with a fifth-wicket stand of 71.

Buttler, however, was well caught by Usman Khawaja, running round and staying just inside the deep square leg boundary off Marcus Stoinis.

Stokes defiantly hit Marcus Stoinis for six but shortly before completing his fifty, the all-rounder pulled up with a calf injury.

Starc was brought back to take a key wicket and duly obliged with a thunderbolt yorker, his 18th wicket of the tournament, that ended Stokes´s 115-ball innings, including eight fours and two sixes.

Finch, dropped on 15, and fellow opener David Warner (53) came through some testing early overs to share a stand of 123 as too many of England´s pacemen, with the exception of Chris Woakes, dropped short.

The skipper´s exit sparked a late flurry of wickets but Australia have already defended a total of 288 to beat the West Indies earlier in the tournament, with Finch side´s having won all four games in which they have bowled second at this World Cup.

Both Warner, the World Cup´s leading run-scorer, and Steve Smith were booed as they entered and exited the field following their recent return from year-long bans for ball-tampering.

Finch went to his century thanks to a misfield by Woakes but next ball he miscued a hook off Jofra Archer and Woakes made no mistake with the catch at fine leg.

The skipper faced 116 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes in his second century of this World Cup following his 153 against Sri Lanka.