England all-rounder Chris Woakes has been one of the silent performers for the side in the ICC World Cup. Although express pacemen like Jofra Archer and Mark Wood have hogged most of the limelight, Woakes has performed in most games, partnering young Archer with the new ball.
In the second semifinal against arch-rivals Australia on Thursday (July 11), Woakes once again proved his effectiveness by claiming 3/20 on his home-ground at Edgbaston and won the man-of-the-match award as England entered their first World Cup final after 1992.
The pace bowling duo of Woakes and Archer set up the eight-wicket win for the hosts by reducing the defending World Cup champions to 14/3 and ultimately restricting them to just 223.
“The semi-finals are usually nervy aren’t they and tend to be tight. To win the way we did and by the margin and in that fashion was special from the whole team,” Woakes said in the ICC mixed zone after the win on Thursday.
“We’ve built momentum nicely and we know that’s how we can play. To do that in such a big game in a semi-final against Australia adds a little bit to it as well. It’s incredible.
“A few games ago when we were under the pressure to qualify, we probably didn’t even think this was possible. So to do what we’ve done and to put in this performance, myself as well, we’re delighted,” the Warwickshire all-rounder added.
Woakes was hammered for a boundary off his first ball by the in-form David Warner but came back with a peach of a delivery to dismiss the Australian opener off the next ball.
“The first ball I’d like to have had back but other than that I felt I hit my straps and bowled the right lengths on that wicket apart from the first ball.
“We’ve got a great opportunity. We turn up on Sunday, it’s a new day against a completely new team who are full of confidence after beating a great India side so we know we have to be on the money, but we have that opportunity which is a great thing,” Woakes, who has picked up 13 wickets in 10 games so far, said.
Woakes paid tribute to his ODI captain Eoin Morgam for the way the left-hander has built the team in his image, while remaining a calm presence in the changing room.
“Morgs is cool as ice with everything he does. Regardless of the situation, he’s great to have as a captain because he keeps everything simple and doesn’t change his emotions too much. In the heat of the battle it’s what you need as a bowler sometimes to keep your mind clear and execute your plans,” the 30-year-old said.
“He has led from the front in the way the batsmen play in this team. They take the attack to the bowlers, they never sit off and the guys have shown that over the last three or four years. He’s led that, he’s decided from that moment that this is how the team should play, we have got the players who can execute those skills and that is how we play our best cricket, when we don’t back off,” Woakes added.