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Archer and Rashid the precious cogs in England’s World Cup machine | Andy Bull

For England to have a fast bowler that menacing is unusual, for them to have a wrist spinner that deadly is almost unprecedented as Australia found to their cost in the semi-final

Some strange daydream, this, a child’s idea of what an England win might look like, or a revenge fantasy perhaps, cooked up by despondent English fans in their lowest moments. By the middle of the afternoon, the thousands at Edgbaston seemed almost drunk with happiness watching it come true in front of them.

From the top of the pavilion, where their victory songs echoed around the rafters, you could see the heavy weather circling Birmingham. The Met Office had put out a weather warning and, judging by the smudges away on the horizon, they were getting plenty over on the far side of the city. But everyone was left waiting for a storm that never came as England made their way smoothly, serenely, easily into the World Cup final.

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