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    Tournament 'favourites' England's topsy-turvy road to 2019 World Cup semi-finals

    Before the World Cup could commence, England established their presence with thumping series wins since last year over India, Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Pakistan respectively. A dominating batting line-up with a strong bench of pacers, the hosts were prepared for the upcoming challenge and seemingly confident of 'bringing it home'!   Having played three heartbreaking finals - 1979, 1987 and 1992, England have a real chance at hand to silence their critics as this squad boasts of domination. They did have a few upsets in the tournament, not forgetting the stunning loss to Sri Lanka, England managed to pick themselves up, dusted off the dirt by defeating other tournament favourites 'India'. The Englishmen finally booked their semi-final spot by defeating New Zealand.   Here's England's road to the 2019 World Cup semi-finals:   England vs South Africa   England comfortably handled South Africa and a lively Oval pitch to take the opening match of the 2019 World Cup by 104 runs with 10 overs to spare. The Englishmen dished out a clinical and disciplined performance to dominate the field in all three areas.   It was the statement win sought by the hot title favourites, but not as expected on Thursday. The bowlers starred rather than the batsmen, notably newcomer Jofra Archer, who took three wickets and generated pace that scared the South Africa top order.   England vs Pakistan   The world's most unpredictable cricket team ended a run of 11 straight losses in one-day internationals by beating top-ranked England by 14 runs in a thriller at Trent Bridge.   Set 349 to win, England got centuries from Joe Root (107) and Jos Buttler (103) but couldn't complete what would have been a record run chase at a World Cup and finished on 334-9.   England vs Bangladesh   Opener Jason Roy smashed his way to a sensational 153 as England scripted a dominating performance to hammer Bangladesh by 106 runs in a high-scoring World Cup match on Saturday.   Sent into bat, England posted a massive 386 for six and then returned to dismiss Bangladesh for 280 in 48.5 overs, despite a superb hundred by all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.   England vs West Indies   The sun appeared after a week of gloom and shined on England, giving the World Cup hosts perfect batting conditions to chase down a meager West Indies target and clinch an eight-wicket win with almost 17 overs to spare on Friday.   Joe Root was able to get on the front foot to nullify any threat of an expected barrage from the West Indies pace attack and scored an unbeaten century to guide England to 213-2 in reply to 212.   England vs Afghanistan   England captain Eoin Morgan smashed a world record 17 sixes in his blistering 71-ball-148 as the hosts crushed Afghanistan by 150 runs in a World Cup encounter on Tuesday.   England scored their highest World Cup total 397 for 6 riding on brilliant batting performances of Morgan, Joe Root (88 off 82) and Jonny Bairstow (90 off 99).   England vs Sri Lanka   Angelo Mathews posted a defiant, unbeaten 85 and Lasith Malinga collected four wickets in vintage fashion as the veterans combined to guide Sri Lanka to an upset 20-run win over England at the World Cup on Friday.   England had been aiming to retake the lead in the standings with a win at Headingley and appeared to be on track after Jofra Archer and Mark Wood took three wickets apiece to restrict Sri Lanka to 232/9.   For England, it was a defeat that seemed to come out of nowhere, but was similar to the letdown when it was beaten by Pakistan after winning the tournament opener so emphatically against South Africa.   England vs Australia   It was reminiscent of the Australian swagger of yore as Aaron Finch's pacers bossed arch-rivals England on their way to the World Cup semifinals with a 64-run victory on Tuesday.   While Australia became the first team to reach the semifinals of the showpiece, England's defeat, their second straight following the stunning reverse to Sri Lanka, made their path to the last four way tougher than it was not less than a week ago.   England vs India   England survived to live for another day as they outbatted India for a 31-run win in a high-scoring World Cup encounter, keeping their semi-final hopes alive on Sunday.   Opener Jonny Bairstow's hundred (111 off 109 balls) set the platform and a cavalier 54-ball 79 by all-rounder Ben Stokes took England to an imposing 337 for 7 in 50 overs after batting first, neutralising the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav with some heavy duty hitting.   England vs New Zealand   England entered the World Cup semifinals for the first time since the 1992 edition, beating an erring New Zealand by 119 runs to fuel their "dream" of winning a maiden title. The Englishmen were ruthless with the bat and ball, giving New Zealand a 'royal' thrashing to become the third team to qualify for the semifinals after Australia and India.   Jonny Bairstow, who smashed 106 off 99 balls to become the first Englishman to score back-to-back hundreds in a World Cup, was mainly responsible for taking the hosts to 305 for eight on a pitch that got slower as the game progressed.

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