England beat Australia by 6 wickets

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/e/englandlogo.jpg' class='caption'> England have defeated Australia by 6 wickets to win the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final at Edgbaston today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:09 IST
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England rode on the all-round heroics of their skipper Michael Vaughan to upset world champions Australia and move into the final of the ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament here at the Edgbaston today. Skipper Michael Vaughan picked two crucial wickets before hitting a career-best 86 to star in the six-wicket win, which ended England's 14-match losing streak against Australia. Replying to Australia's strong 259 for nine, England were never really troubled as they cruised to 262 for four in just 46.3 overs. Vaughan, Trescothick make merry Vaughan, struggling with his form before this crucial outing, was ably supported by opener Marcus Trescothick who provided the intial momentum to the chase with some aggressive strokeplay in his 88-ball 81. England would now meet the winner of the second semi-final to be played tomorrow between West Indies and Pakistan at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. The result also meant that Australia once again failed to add the elusive Champions Trophy to their kitty. England were almost clinical in their approach in this match and did not appear daunted by either the past record or the form of their opponents, billed to win the title for the first time since the inception of the championship in 1998. Aussie bowlers thrashed In fact, the famed Australian bowling line-up got some real pasting from the England batsmen including Andrew Strauss who remained not out with a superb 52. Very few must have backed England, who won the toss and decided to field, to chase down 260 against the world champions, yet it was made possible through outstanding innings by Trescothick and Vaughan who put on 140 runs from 159 balls for the second wicket. The two took on Australia's frontline bowlers like few had ever before, putting on 50 from 51 balls and 100 runs together from a mere 114 balls. Trescothick turned the heat on with four fours in Glenn McGrath's fifth over and Vaughan emulated him when he slammed Brett Lee for four boundaries in the bowler's third over. Trescothick reached his 19th ODI half century in style when he slammed a straight six off Michael Kasprowicz to reach the milestone off 54 balls. Vaughan's half century took 75 balls in coming but it was no less remarkable. England lost Vikram Solanki (7) early on with the toal reading 21 but the rest of the batsmen showed character in taking on the Australians head on. Trescothick departed at 161 when he tried to cut Andrew Symonds and was bowled out for 81 from 88 balls with nine fours and a six. Vaughan was dismissed at 229 in the 42nd over but by then the task was almost accomplished. Strauss shines Strauss did not let the tempo drop and hit cheeky boundaries behind square to finish with an unbeaten half century from just 39 balls with six fours. Andrew Flintoff (16 off nine balls), denied the big stage because of the good form of earlier batsmen, still had the pleasure of hooking Brett Lee for a six before the formality was completed in the 47th over. Earlier, England spinners did a good job in pulling back Australia to 259 for 9. Ashley Giles and Vaughan retarded Australia's progress in the middle overs after the world champions were off to a rollicking start. Adam Gilchrist (37) and Matthew Hayden (17) had raced to 44 for no loss in the seventh over and raised visions of a 300-plus total before the spinners got into act. Vaughan bowled his off-spinners superbly in returning figures of 2 for 42 from his 10 overs, accounting for Darren Lehmann (38) and Damien Martyn (65) who put on 75 runs for the fourth wicket from 84 balls. In between these two wickets, Vaughan enjoyed another outstanding moment in the field when he ran out dangerous Andrew Symonds for nought. Symonds survived a leg before appeal against Steve Harmison but was run out in the same over, backing out too far as Vaughan at short covers made a direct hit. Aussies crumble From a safe-looking 189 for 3, Australia suddenly slipped to 210 for six in the 43rd over. That they still made it to 259 for nine was due to a crisp innings of 42 by number seven bat Michael Clarke who needed only 34 balls and hit five fours. He produced a timely stand of 39 runs for the seventh wicket with Brett Lee (15). Australia lost their openers Gilchrist and Hayden to catches at second slip off Darren Gough and Steve Harmison as the new white ball did jag around a seaming Edgbaston pitch under cloud cover. Skipper Ricky Ponting (29) and Darren Lehmann (38) enjoyed a neat little stand before spinners pegged them back. Ponting holed out Ashley Giles to Darren Gough at long on and Lehmann was bowled by Vaughan for 38, having faced 42 balls and hit four fours. Damien Martyn glued the innings together with a sweetly timed innings of 65 which came off 91 balls and included four fours. He was out in the deep trying to take advantage of a deep vacant arc between deep midwicket and long on. Gough recovered well to finish with 3 for 48 including two off successive balls in his last over. Harmison, Flintoff and Giles had a wicket each while Vaughan made his presence felt with two scalps. (PTI)

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