Jofra Archer will become a World Cup finalist less than three months after making his international debut, but England’s leading wicket-taker at the tournament does not expect nerves to be a problem.
Archer only joined his new team-mates for the first time in May, after changes to the governing body’s residency rules fast-tracked the Barbados-born seamer’s eligibility, but has made a stunning impact.
The 24-year-old has already set a new England record with 19 wickets at the tournament and excelled on his biggest stage to date, dismissing Australia captain Aaron Finch lbw with his first ball of Thursday’s semi-final at Edgbaston, before returning to see off the dangerous Glenn Maxwell.
A crushing eight-wicket victory set up a winner-takes-all date with New Zealand on Sunday and it will be no surprise if Archer is the coolest man at Lord’s.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. But the calmer you are the better you are in these situations,” said Archer.
“I just think I’ve always been like this. I try not to get nervous because then you end up doing stuff that you are not really supposed to do.
“Butterflies? Not really. Even when we were at breakfast before Australia…I may be wrong but I don’t think anyone looked nervous. Everyone just looked focused by the time we got into the ground. It’s those little things that make you feel like the guys are really ready.”
Jofra Archer, who made his international debut just two months ago, finishes with figures of 2/32 from 10 overs in a World Cup semi-final against Australia 🔥— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 11, 2019
Nerves of steel 💪#CWC19 | #AUSvENG | #WeAreEngland pic.twitter.com/yXjU0uQzb4
Archer’s on-field demeanour typically matches his measured words off it, but even he admits that sending the Australia skipper back for a golden duck set the adrenaline racing.
“Emotions were definitely flying after that,” he said with a smile.
“It definitely pushed the team. Everyone was just a lot more focused and switched on. I’m just glad the team is going well.
“I could be doing terribly as long as the team is winning. That would be alright. I’m just happy to play games and win games.”
It seems increasingly likely that Archer will get another crack at Australia during the forthcoming Ashes series, with the only real question surrounding his fitness, not his ability.
There is a growing clamour to unleash him in the Test arena but he has been managing a side issue throughout the last few weeks and England may choose to delay his introduction.
“After Sunday, I’ll probably answer that but for now I’m just focusing on trying to win the final,” he said.
“I’ll keep soldiering on. I have been for a few games now and it’s not got any worse. I was probably going to rest any way but I don’t think Sussex are going to flog me right now.
“I think I may get a well-deserved rest.”
Very little has surprised Archer since he landed on the global stage, but he did express bemusement at the interest in mining his past social media posts.
His prolific use of Twitter as a cricket-mad youngster has given rise to the notion that there is ‘an Archer tweet for every occasion’, often referencing his current team-mates and opponents.
“I have seen this but I don’t know why this should be a big thing! It’s just social media, that’s all it’s there for,” he said.
“I used to do it when I was just watching cricket back home. I wasn’t even in England for half of that stuff.”
Asked if there would be a fitting message to mark England’s first World Cup win in a couple of days’ time, he grinned and added: “Definitely”.
Jason Roy will be reunited with umpire Kumar Dharmasena in Sunday’s final, after the Sri Lankan was appointed for the Lord’s showpiece.
The pair were involved in a tense moment during England’s semi-final thrashing of Australia after Dharmasena incorrectly gave Roy caught behind on 85.
Both batsman and official appeared to be unaware that Jonny Bairstow had already used England’s DRS review, with Roy making the signal and Dharmasena sending the decision upstairs – a process that was only quashed after a reminder from Australia’s fielders.
Denied the chance to make the highest-profile century of his career, Roy remonstrated long and loud before trudging off the field in a state of barely concealed fury, with stump microphones picking up an apparent obscenity.
The 28-year-old was fined 30 per cent of his match fee and handed two demerit points on his disciplinary record as a result, sanctions he accepted at a post-match hearing.
Dharmasena will stand alongside South African Marais Erasmus. Rod Tucker will be the only Australian to see action in the finale, taking up the third umpire’s chair, with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar (fourth official) and Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle (match referee) also chosen.
England head coach Trevor Bayliss knows his side must not listen to the noise of an expectant nation as they prepare for a first World Cup final in 27 years.
Eoin Morgan’s side produced an inspired display to complete a remarkable eight-wicket victory over Australia at Edgbaston and will meet New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday.
With the showpiece event also being broadcast on a free-to-air platform following an agreement between rights holders Sky and Channel 4, expectations will be elevated to another level.
Australian Bayliss, though, has called for calm as England look to go one better than they did in their last World Cup final appearance in 1992 when they lost against Imran Khan’s Pakistan by 22 runs in Melbourne.
“We had a chat in the changing room (at Edgbaston) afterwards and realised we have not won anything yet,” Bayliss said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“There is going to be a lot of noise around ‘you guys are now the favourites’, and all this type of thing – we can’t listen to any of that.
“We have just got to concentrate on the way we have gone about our cricket over the past four years and what has got us to this point and go through our process.
“If we do that, we know we will play good cricket and the opposition will have to play even better to beat us.”
After Australia were all out for 223 in 49 overs, England opener Jason Roy struck a superb 85 from 65 balls – including nine fours and five sixes – as he put on yet another big stand with Jonny Bairstow to break the back of the run chase.
Roy was given out for an apparent glove behind despite getting nowhere near the ball in question from Pat Cummins.
With no DRS available, he reacted angrily enough to the decision to earn two demerit points and a 30 per cent match fee fine in a post-match hearing.
Bayliss, though, feels the 28-year-old can soon put the incident behind him.
“I think it shows the passion Jason has got for the game, and it is such a big game as well, when he was on the verge of scoring a hundred,” the England head coach said.
“He will learn from that and go on to bigger and better things, I am sure.”
The Surrey batsman is expected to be in contention for a place in the Ashes squad.
Bayliss, though, was giving little away as his current focus stays on the one-day format.
“We sit down about the 17th (July), three days after this World Cup final for that to be discussed,” he said.
“But he has certainly been in discussions over the last six to 12 months and I am certain he will be in discussions this time around also.”
Bayliss felt it was a “fantastic gesture” by rights holders Sky to help facilitate the national side returning to traditional free-to-air television for the first time since the 2005 Ashes.
“It is an opportunity to influence another generation of young cricketers – 2005 was 14 years ago – I am sure there are a number of players in this team who were pretty young when that was happening and it would have inspired those to greater things, so hopefully this can do a similar thing for the next generation,” he said.
Bayliss, 56, is set to step down at the end of his current deal in September, no matter what the summer brings.
“I have always been a believer that four or five years is long enough, whether you are doing well or not,” he said.
“It is time for a new voice for the boys, to hopefully take them to another level.”
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England captain Eoin Morgan is desperate to seize a once-in-a-generation chance and get the nation talking about cricket in Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s.
The tournament hosts put in a magnificent performance in the semi-final against Ashes rivals Australia, bowling their visitors out for 223 before sprinting to an eight-wicket victory with 107 balls to spare.
It was bold, brave and brilliant stuff from the world’s number one side and they will now take on the Black Caps, with both nations hoping to land the trophy for the first time. For New Zealand it is a chance to go one better than their runners-up finish in 2015, while England are appearing in the showpiece for the first time since 1992.
For England the opportunity stretches even further thanks to an agreement between rights holders Sky and Channel 4, which will see the national side returning to a traditional free-to-air platform for the first time since the 2005 Ashes.
“I think Sunday is not a day to shy away from, it’s a day to look forward to,” said Morgan.
“We have created the opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It sounds pretty cool and it feels pretty good.
“It’s the game I love so it’s great news that it’s on free-to-air. Particularly given the 2005 Ashes was, for me, sort of the day cricket became cool. Throughout the whole summer, the game was on the front and back page of every newspaper going around, everyone was talking about and it that is really good for the game.
“It is obviously a very exciting time for everybody, ourselves included.”
The viewing public will be in for a fine show if England can replicate the outstanding all-round performance they turned in at Edgbaston.
Their new-ball bowlers set the tone – Chris Woakes’ three for 20 earned him man-of-the-match honours and Jofra Archer set a new England record of 19 wickets at a single tournament – before a freewheeling display with the bat.
Jason Roy struck nine fours and five towering sixes in his fearless 85, while Jonny Bairstow (34), Joe Root (49no) and Morgan (45no) all batted with absolute conviction.
It was all a far cry from the lame departure in the group stages four years ago, an experience that could easily have sunk Morgan’s captaincy.
“If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you,” he said with wry smile.
“As a team we have learned to enjoy ourselves, particularly days like this, even if they don’t go well.
“Everybody out there on the field and even in the changing room loved every ball that was bowled. We had a bit of a day out. They have earned a beer or a glass of wine, definitely.”
The only thing that would have improved England’s day would have been a deserved century for Roy, who was given caught behind despite getting nowhere near the ball in question from Pat Cummins.
He instantly called for a review but the process was quashed when umpire Kumar Dharmasena was reminded by Australia that Bairstow had already burned England’s DRS allocation.
Roy was apoplectic at his ill-fortune, reacting angrily enough to earn two demerit points and a 30% match fee fine in a post-match hearing.
He accepted the sanction, which takes him to the brink of a ban, but his captain was indisposed at the time.
“I didn’t see exactly what happened, I was on the toilet,” he said.