Captain Aaron Finch was incredibly proud of his side’s progress in the last 12 months, but admitted that the eight-wicket thrashing against England in the second semifinal was Australia’s worst performance in the ongoing World Cup.
Five-time champions Australia failed to defend its title after losing by eight wickets against hosts England in the second semifinal at Edgbaston on Thursday night.
Australia failed to defend a modest 223 after opting to bat as England rode on Jason Roy’s (85 off 65) blitzkrieg to romp home with 107 balls to spare.
“I think we’ve made lots of progress as a team in the last 12 months and I’m proud of how far they’ve come,” a disappointed Finch said.
“However, we came here to win and I’m just disappointed with how it ended, putting up probably our worst performance of the entire tournament in the semi-final.”
Australia has had a tough outing in the last 12 months, especially after former skipper Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were banned for one year each for their role in the infamous ball tampering scandal in South Africa.
Opening stands between Finch and Warner had laid the foundation for Australia’s progress to the semi-finals but against England on Thursday, the duo failed as they could muster just nine runs.
England pace attack, consisting man-of-the-match Chris Woakes (3/20) and Jofra Archer (2/32) had Australia reeling at 14 for 3.
While defending the target, Australia failed to impress with ball too as Roy and Jonny Bairstow (34) put up a 124-run opening stand to take the game away from the Kookaburras.
And Finch said they were completely outplayed by England on Thursday.
“Those first 10 overs changed the game, the damage was done with the ball. You can try to analyse the game as much as you want but we were totally outplayed,” said Finch.
He credited the fourth-wicket partnership of 103 runs between Steve Smith (85) and Alex Carey (46) for at least giving his bowlers a target to bowl at.
“Steve and Alex dragged us back into the game but we knew they’d come out aggressive with the bat and they just got on top of us straight away. When Jason (Roy) is playing like that he can be so damaging to the opposition,” Finch said.
Asked about Sunday’s final, Finch said it is difficult to take a call as both New Zealand and England “love to fight and scrap”.
“New Zealand are never out of the contention and England play a high-energy and high-risk game,” he said.
Australia will now start preparations for the Ashes but the five-time world champions will also take time to reflect on their unsuccessful campaign.
“After you finish a World Cup you’ve always got one eye on the next one. We’ll sit down and start planning and talking and thinking about how we can improve in the next four years to go two steps further,” Finch said.
“There are always areas to identify where you need some work done. We’ll get on the same page and pull in the same direction,” he added.