England 262 for 4 (Vaughan 86, Trescothick 81, Strauss 52*) beat Australia 259 for 9 (Martyn 65, Gough 3-48) by 6 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Michael Vaughan missed out on a maiden one-day century, but his classy 86, to go with his 2 for 42 with the ball, formed the backbone of England's innings as they romped to a six-wicket victory against Australia and booked a place in the finals of the Champions Trophy. Coming in after the early loss of Vikram Solanki, Vaughan added 140 in just over 26 overs with Marcus Trescothick to take the game away from Australia.
He then put on 66 with Andrew Strauss, who finished unbeaten on 52, to seal the win. All of Australia's four-pronged pace attack were put to the sword, with Brett Lee going for more than seven an over. Lee eventually got the better of Vaughan, beating him for pace to have him caught off a top edge, but by then the result was assured. After such an impressive batting display, the only disappointment was that the match was played out in front of a half-full Edgbaston.
Earlier, Australia accelerated well in the final overs after some sedate mid-innings consolidation to reach a challenging total of 259 for 9. There was excitement from the very start when Adam Gilchrist sliced Darren Gough wide of Paul Collingwood at backward point: Collingwood leapt into the air but could only get a fingertip on the ball. After a slightly nervous start, Gilchrist got going with a slapped four past point and a powerful pull that landed just over the rope for six, both off Gough.
Following a brief three-over opening burst from Gough, Vaughan made an interesting early change, bringing Andrew Flintoff into the attack in the seventh over. The decision almost paid off, as Gilchrist edged the last ball of the over to Trescothick in the slips, but the sharp chance was spilt. But Trescothick made up for his lapse in the next over, holding a clean catch off Matthew Hayden (44 for 1).
Gilchrist kept attacking, but Gough struck a vital blow for England when he was recalled for a second spell, as Gilchrist gifted another catch to Trescothick, now in the gully (69 for 2). Some economical bowling and excellent ground fielding from England put the brakes on - from 96 for 2 in the 20th over, Australia scraped only 34 runs in the next ten, and also lost the wicket of Ricky Ponting for 29.
Ashley Giles, bowling his left-arm spin on a leg-stump line from over the wicket, proved particularly hard to get away, and the pressure he built up eventually told on Ponting. Attempting to loft Giles over long-on, he was deceived in the flight and chipped an easy catch to Gough (114 for 3).
Giles lost concentration slightly in his ninth over, dishing up a short, wide one that Damien Martyn crashed past point for four. That signalled the start of Australia's acceleration, and the runs began to flow. Giles's last two overs went for 17, and Flintoff's introduction did nothing to stem the flurry. Darren Lehmann, who had been dormant, was suddenly motoring along at a run a ball, and Martyn went to his half-century from 73 balls.
Taking a gamble, Vaughan brought himself back on, and in his first over he bowled Lehmann for 38 to break his 75-run partnership with Martyn (189 for 4). Steaming in from the other end, Steve Harmison fired a yorker at Andrew Symonds's left foot. His shout for lbw was turned down, but it didn't matter - Symonds wandered out of his crease looking for a single, and Vaughan swooped in from the covers to run him out for a duck (190 for 5).
Martyn clipped Vaughan to midwicket for four to move to 65, but, attempting the same shot two balls later, he lofted a catch to Trescothick, running in from the boundary, who just managed to cling on (210 for 6).
A fired-up Lee lofted Gough straight over his head for a huge six, but then swished across the line at a full-toss that clattered into leg stump. Gough then bowled Jason Gillespie first ball with another full, swinging delivery (249 for 8). The hat-trick ball thudded into Michael Kasprowicz's pads, but it was too high for an lbw.
Michael Clarke gave himself some room and cracked Flintoff through the covers in the final over, but then moved too far across to the off side and had his middle stump flattened (258 for 9).
When England began their run-chase, Vikram Solanki never looked at ease with the bowling, and was trapped lbw by Gillespie after shuffling across his stumps and playing around his front pad (21 for 1).
Ponting was determined to keep attacking, leaving two slips in place, but Vaughan started to find his touch against Lee, smashing him for two fours on either side of the wicket. With Trescothick going at better than a run a ball at the other end, the fifty partnership came up from only 51 balls. Vaughan then unleashed an array of well-timed shots against Lee, hitting 16 in one over, and suddenly it was Australia who were struggling. England's hundred came up in the 19th over, and Trescothick then brought up his own half-century by stepping down the wicket and hitting Kasprowicz high over long-off for six.
Ponting turned to his spinners, Lehmann and Symonds, and just as England's slow bowlers had done earlier, they successfully slowed the scoring rate. With the field spread, there were singles on offer, but the boundaries dried up. Vaughan moved past 50 with a deft late-cut off Symonds, but Symonds then struck a late blow, bowling Trescothick with a quicker one (161 for 2).
But Strauss was immediately into his stride, working Symonds off his toes, and then easing him to the third-man boundary with sublime touch. McGrath came back on, but the first three overs of his second spell cost 22, and England continued their march to victory.
In a final throw of the dice, Ponting brought Lee back on. Vaughan, with a maiden hundred in his sights, top-edged an attempted pull straight up in the air, and Hayden took a simple catch. But it was all academic for England from there on, as Strauss continued to work the ball around easily and Flintoff biffed 16 off nine balls to take them to the brink.
Before the start of the chase, it was thought that it would revolve around Flintoff. As it turned out, it was Vaughan, after a wretched run of form in one-day cricket, who broke Australia's 14-match winning streak - dating back to January 1999 - and won the game for England.
Liam Brickhill is editorial assistant of Wisden Cricinfo.