CENTURION (South Africa) (AFP) - Skipper Ricky Ponting needed only three words to explain why Australia crushed England by nine wickets and qualified for the Champions Trophy final here Monday. Respect every ball, was the message the 34-year-old leader drilled into his team-mates at SuperSport Park Friday before the eighth ODI clash between the countries in the last two months. And this was the most humiliating of seven England losses with Australia scoring 258-1 off 41.5 overs to surpass the 257 of England in 47.4 overs that owed much to 80 runs from bowler Tim Bresnan after a top-order implosion. This was not a match, nor even a mismatch. It was a massacre as Ponting (111 not out) and man-of-the-match Shane Watson (136 not out) created a record Australian one-day partnership. Now the world champions are just one match away from becoming the first country to successfully defend a competition that brought the best eight countries to South Africa for a mini-World Cup. Pakistan, beaten by a last-ball Aussie bye in the group stage, are favoured to defeat New Zealand at the Wanderers in the other semi-final later Saturday and set up a potentially fascinating climax. I told my boys to take nothing for granted against England - to respect every ball. We were pretty good and very good with the bat, Ponting told reporters. We were really looking forward to this game because playing in the big ones is what it is all about. We stood up and got the job done and now we look forward to getting our heads together before the final. Tasmanian Ponting always seems uncomfortable when his personal achievements are raised and it was no different in Centurion after being quizzed about his latest milestone. When one of the great skippers struck a boundary by pulling Graham Onions to deep square, he became only the third batsman after Sachin Tendulkar of India and Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka to amass 12,000 ODI runs. It is a nice achievement, but I had no idea before the game how many runs I had scored. I hit runs for my country and when my career is over I can reflect on the successes, he said. Ponting preferred to laud Watson, who began the Champions Trophy with ducks against the West Indies and India, before getting into the groove by scoring 24 off the Pakistani bowlers. Shane has been through a lean patch but is peaking at the right time. He and I went through a few critical overs before the runs started to flow, admitted Ponting of the star who also snapped up two wickets. England skipper Andrew Strauss offered no excuses despite the absence of injured bowler Stuart Broad, who took 10 wickets in three group games, and virus-struck wicketkeeper Matt Prior. This was a thoroughly professional job from Australia. Shane and Ricky battled magnificently well after we fell about 40 runs short of the total needed to be competitive on that track, he confessed.