We couldn’t live with Woakes or Archer, admits dejected Australia captain Finch
The pace pair reduced Australia to 14 for three at the start of the day.
Aaron Finch accepted his Australia side were “totally outplayed” in their resounding World Cup semi-final defeat to England, handing the bulk of the credit to pace pair Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.
Australia were comfortably second best in an Ashes-flavoured knockout at Edgbaston, bowled out for 223 after winning the toss and then blown off the park as their hosts raced to an eight-wicket win inside 33 overs.
Jason Roy batted brilliantly for a fierce 85 and leg-spinner Adil Rashid scooped tournament-best figure of three for 54, but Finch had no doubt about the key passage of play.
Shortly after winning the toss he was dismissed for a golden duck, lbw to Archer’s first ball, then watched as Woakes accounted for David Warner and Peter Handscomb in a compelling opening burst that left the away side 14 for three.
Australia might have found stability in the form of a century stand between Steve Smith (85) and Alex Carey (46), but they never managed to recover their lost momentum.
“All in all we were totally outplayed to be honest, all throughout the day,” said a dejected Finch.
“But the damage was really done with the ball. Definitely in the first ten overs of the game. It was a bit of a frantic start, three-for in the powerplay.
Chris Woakes is a world-class bowler, puts it in the right area time and time again. Aaron Finch
“They’ve got bowlers that hit the seam and if there is anything in the wicket, they will certainly get it out of it. Chris Woakes is a world-class bowler, puts it in the right area time and time again, and
Archer is getting better and better.”
The result made Finch the first Australian captain to taste defeat in the last four of a World Cup and denied him the chance to add a sixth title to his country’s record haul.
Yet when he took over as skipper of an off-form and directionless squad last autumn, merely reaching this stage seemed fanciful.
He was left balancing conflicting emotions of pride and regret.
“In terms of where we were 12 months ago, obviously I think we have made a huge amount of progress and I’m really proud of everyone involved for how much hard work they’ve put in and how far we have come,” he said.
“But at the same time we came here today to win a semi-final and get ourselves into a position to win another World Cup.
“So it was really disappointing how it ended, especially to put up probably one of our worst performances in the tournament.”
Australia’s red ball contingent will be back in Birmingham for the first Ashes Test on August 1, but Finch dismissed the notion that they would go into that match bearing any psychological damage.
“If we rolled up and played a one-dayer tomorrow there might be a few scars there, but in terms of the Test team, I don’t think so,” he said.
“I don’t think that the guys carry too much baggage when you are going between formats. I know it sounds a bit stupid after we have lost and we don’t have a great record here, but it’s a great place to play.”