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.
“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.”
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