Right through the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, England has found ways to lose. This pattern was repeated here on Saturday, with the defending champion stumbling to a 33-run loss against Australia here at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
A sixth defeat in seven matches marks the end of England’s hopes of reaching the knockout rounds. Australia, on the other hand, placed one foot in the semifinal door.
Chasing a manageable 287, England had the upper hand at 103 for two. Dawid Malan (50, 64b, 4x4, 1x6) was in good nick, keeping the required rate in check. A needless hoick, however, cost Malan his wicket. It is tough to understand why the southpaw chose a big hit when his team desperately needed him to stick around.
HIGHLIGHTS | Australia beats England by 33 runs
Malan’s departure scrambled the mind of his partner Jos Buttler. A couple of overs later, the captain danced down the track to leg-spinner Adam Zampa and completely mishit a lofted drive to long-off.
Malan and Buttler both strayed well away from the gameplan - a symptom of England’s woes in this tournament.
Ben Stokes started slowly, and only came to life when Travis Head came on with his part-time off breaks. Stokes hit a few clean shots to raise the spirits of the dressing room, but given the unit’s propensity to self destruct, there was a lingering feeling that the joy was short lived. The premonition proved right as Stokes took on Zampa - the best bowler on view - and finished second best. With the best batters back in the hut, England had no way back.
And to think that England started the day with a big advantage, having won the toss. Buttler was happy to chase, given that conditions at the venue get better for batting as the game progresses.
Australia fired in spurts. Openers Head and David Warner got out to poor shots, leaving the tried and tested pair of Steve Smith (44, 52b) and Marnus Labuschagne (71, 83b) to steady the ship.
Cameron Green (47, 52b) and Marcus Stoinis (35, 32b), drafted into the eleven in place of the unavailable Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh, did all the hard work as the innings headed to the death overs. Green then lost his stumps attempting a paddle sweep, handing the momentum back to England.
Tailender Zampa’s 19-ball 29 rescued Australia from a precarious 247 for eight. Zampa’s exploits were made possible by poor bowling, and soon after, it was the England batters’ turn to lose the plot.
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