Adil Rashid and Chris Woakes showcased their prowess by claiming two wickets apiece for England, putting them firmly in control against Australia in the 36th match of the World Cup at Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
The high-stakes contest unfolded on a Saturday at the majestic cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, setting the stage for an Ashes clash of epic proportions.
Australia, the five-time champions, faced a challenging situation as they were asked to bat first and found themselves struggling at 190-5 after 35 overs. Woakes initiated their plight by dismissing both opening batsmen, reducing Australia to a precarious 38-2. However, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne valiantly sought to stabilise the innings, forging a partnership that added 75 runs.
The turning point arrived when leg-spinner Rashid managed to break this crucial partnership by removing Smith, who had scored 44 runs, and subsequently dismissing Josh Inglis for a mere three runs as Inglis attempted a reverse sweep and was caught at backward point.
Labuschagne, on the other hand, persevered and reached his half-century, eventually forming a partnership of 61 runs with Cameron Green before falling to the relentless Mark Wood. Labuschagne contributed a notable 71 runs to his team's total.
The outcome of this match had significant implications for both teams. A victory for Australia would significantly enhance their chances of securing a spot in the semi-finals, as they currently occupy the third position in the 10-team table, which is led by hosts India, already confirmed for the final four stages.
In contrast, England's prospects of advancing to the semi-finals appeared bleak, with five losses in six matches. Another defeat in this game would officially spell the end of their campaign. Nonetheless, a win would provide a glimmer of hope for their qualification into the 2025 Champions Trophy, as the top seven teams from this World Cup would gain entry to the tournament, where hosts Pakistan have an automatic qualification.
Woakes, the fast bowler, made an early impact by sending back Travis Head, who had been the centurion in the previous match. Head was caught for just 11 runs as he edged an angled delivery to Joe Root at slip.
David Warner briefly attempted to counter-attack with a boundary and a straight six off Woakes, but the bowler soon had his revenge when Warner mishit a slower off-cutter and was caught.
England : Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (c, wk), Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid
Australia : David Warner, Travis Head, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins (c), 9 Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood