‘Ridiculous’: World reacts to Cup disaster
England's appearance in a World Cup final has been 27 years in the making and you better believe the Poms are going to party like it's 1992.
The hosts thumped Australia by eight wickets in a demolition job sure to make New Zealand fans nervous as they await Eoin Morgan's team in the decider at Lord's on Sunday.
The English will be desperate to go one step further than they did in 1992 when they lost to Pakistan, knowing they have their best ever chance to hold the trophy aloft - a feat that would be even more special on home turf, especially considering they bombed out of the 2015 tournament in the group stage.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan didn't even wait until the end of the match to start sledging Australia, taking to Twitter while opening batsmen Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow were smashing the ball everywhere to mock Aaron Finch's troops for their unusual semi-final preparation.
"The Aussies should try bowling barefoot," Vaughan mocked, after Justin Langer had his players take their shoes and socks off while walking across the grass before getting together in a bonding circle at a training session.
Vaughan was shut down by Test and ODI legend Adam Gilchrist but it was hard to defend the Aussies.
Kevin Pietersen was on the same wavelength as his former skipper as he too mocked Langer, tweeting about the coach needing to tell his troops to take their "boots off" to improve their effort with the ball, before he deleted the post.
'I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST WATCHED THAT'
Whatever the result on Sunday, there will be a first-time World Cup winner and England players past and present are thrilled they will be able cheer on their countrymen.
Ex-skipper Alastair Cook admitted he was consumed by stereotypical English cynicism, waiting for something to go wrong in the run chase, but was pleasantly surprised when it all ended with a smile.
"I can't believe I have just watched that," he said in commentary for the BBC. "You always think there will be a twist in the tail but there was no twist. England were so good."
Vaughan added: "It's remarkable and all the players deserve all the credit, the management, everyone involved in English cricket. It's going to be amazing, I can't wait."
England seamer Chris Woakes, who took 3/20 from eight immaculate overs, added: "I'm pretty speechless. It was an incredible performance from the whole team. It started with the bowling performance and then the way they (the batsmen) knocked that off was outstanding."
Plenty of other notable cricket personalities shared their thoughts on England's impressive win on Twitter.
Too good @ECB_cricket today , bad luck to our boys they came up short today but did well throughout . @cricketcomau @MacquarieSport looking forward to the final for a first time winner 👍good luck both teams #NZVENG— Darren Lehmann (@darren_lehmann) July 11, 2019
ENGLISH IN AWE OF AUSSIE HUMILIATION
Writing for The Telegraph, Scyld Berry said: "England did not reach the World Cup final against New Zealand on Sunday. No, sir. They romped into it by playing some of the most exhilarating one-day cricket this world has seen.
"Instead of freezing in their first World Cup semi-final since 1992 - so feeble have they been for a generation at the 50-over format - England played a virtually perfect game to eliminate the holders.
"Perhaps it was the sheer pizzazz of England's performance that will live with the players through their rest and travel day, and their light practice at Lord's on the eve of the final: such a combination of flair and efficiency that England have seldom exhibited in the knockout stages of any sport."
The Guardian 's Vic Marks wrote: "England's passage to the World Cup final was faintly ridiculous. Semi‑finals are supposed to be gritty affairs with runs dourly chiselled out in a desperate quest to get to Lord's.
"Yet Eoin Morgan's England took the alternative route to a final. They smashed Australia.
"They were minded not just to defeat the Australians but to humiliate them."
Cricket correspondent for The Sun, John Etheridge, echoed a similar sentiment to his journalistic colleagues, lauding England's positive intent.
"(Jason) Roy's monster hitting encapsulated England's dominance and near-disdain for their opponents," Etheridge wrote.
"Australia were not just beaten - they were hammered and humiliated by eight wickets with 17.5 overs to spare.
"England's four-year, 50-over master plan, devised in the wake of their embarrassment at the 2015 World Cup, is just one win away from the ultimate glory."
FINCH: WE SAVED OUR WORST FOR LAST
Although proud of what was, on the whole, a successful campaign, captain Aaron Finch said it was a shame his side had saved its worst performance of the tournament for the knockout stage.
"Very disappointed. We came here today expecting to win," Finch said. "We felt like our preparation leading in to the tournament and then the momentum we'd built-up through the tournament was really important and we came here feeling good, we trained well, we had enough break in between games and guys were fresh enough, so very disappointing.
"That was really disappointing how it ended, especially to put up probably one of our worst performances overall for the tournament.
"All in all, we were totally outplayed to be honest all throughout the day, so you look back at that and you can analyse each 10 overs, but just outplayed."
Finch said the game was lost in the first 10 overs when Australia slumped to 3/14 and lamented an inability to capitalise on the impressive 103-run, fourth wicket partnership between Alex Carey and Steve Smith.
While the hurt of defeat was raw for the Aussies, they tried to ease the pain by sipping beers and mingling with family on the Edgbaston balcony after the match.
In terms of what the future holds for the ODI team, Finch said it was important to look ahead to the next World Cup in 2023 and identify areas of improvement.
"I think that after a World Cup you always start looking and you have one eye towards the next one," Finch said. "I think that as a management, senior players, I'm sure … over the next couple of months or so we will sit down and start talking about that and start planning how we think that we can best plan and prepare and improve over the next four years to get us to go two steps further.
"I think that every team will do that. You start looking at what you can improve most, areas that you can identify that you need some work to be done and that will happen no doubt.
"That happens naturally with players when you are talking about the game and trying to find ways to improve."
Lovely. 🏴— mark butcher (@markbutcher72) July 11, 2019
Congratulations England. Outplayed Australia today. All the best for the WC final v NZ.#CWC2019— Jason Gillespie 🌱🌈 (@dizzy259) July 11, 2019