Australia defeated England to eliminate the defending champions from the Cricket World Cup.
England’s defense in the World Cup has struggled since the beginning and is now officially unsuccessful. They lost to their biggest rival, Australia, by 33 runs in a challenging match in Ahmedabad.
There was no dispute to distract from the outcome, no hypothetical situation to comfort the struggling Jos Buttler as, for the sixth instance in this tournament, his English team fell short. Their remaining two matches still offer the chance to finish in the top eight and secure a spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy, but at this moment, with their position at the bottom of the standings, it seems unlikely.
Not that this match was all about the English woe encapsulated by Jonny Bairstow’s first-ball duck in the chase or Buttler’s latest disappearing act with the bat. Instead it came down to an Australian side who overcame the absence of two first-team players in Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh, a disadvantage by way of conditions after losing the toss, and yet strung together a characterful performance.
They have surpassed New Zealand and are now in third place in the rankings. They appear to be almost guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals.
Adam Zampa played a crucial role in their victory, not only with his impressive three wickets for 21 runs, but also as a nuisance in the latter part of the first innings. He came in at number 10 and managed to score 29 runs off just 19 balls, which turned the score from 247 for 8 to 286 all out. This proved to be enough to defeat a struggling England team playing under lights.
This was a maddening cameo for Buttler’s men, built on streaky edges, cross-batted swipes but plenty of gumption, the value of which became increasingly apparent as the chase unfolded. There was a half-century from Dawid Malan up top and a defiant 64 from Ben Stokes in the middle. But in the end, when Adil Rashid sent a top edge into the night sky to see England 253 all out in 48.1 overs, the difference proved to be a tailender who spends more time on tour brewing artisan coffee than working on his batting in the nets.
Marnus Labuschagne may have something to say about this. He was not originally included in Australia’s World Cup plans, but due to injuries and his strong performance, he was added to the team. Batting at number four, Labuschagne played a crucial role in securing their victory with a composed 71 runs off 83 balls. However, he will not be constantly discussing this achievement with his teammates as they travel to Mumbai for their upcoming match against Afghanistan.
Instead, the talkative member of Australia’s team will most likely bring up a rare success with the review system to Pat Cummins and others. He successfully convinced his captain to review a faint edge from Joe Root’s bat, resulting in a wicket for Mitchell Starc with the new ball. This was an ideal beginning to their attempt to defend a potentially average total. Starc had already dismissed Bairstow with his first delivery, which was aimed down the leg side.
During this moment, a particular aspect of England’s struggles in India was brought to attention. Bairstow has seemed uncomfortable ever since Jason Roy was removed from the team before the tour, especially when tasked with facing the first ball. This is not a criticism of Malan, who, despite a shaky start, showed his talent by scoring 50 runs and partnering with a cautious Stokes for an 84-run third wicket stand. However, he was eventually caught in the deep after top-edging a delivery from Cummins.
One problem for England is the performance of Buttler, or rather, the lack thereof. In this instance, he was the first to fall victim to Zampa’s bowling, as he tried to move down the pitch and hit the leg-spinner out of the stadium, but instead found Cameron Green on the boundary. So far in this World Cup, Buttler’s average is 15.4. Despite having a T20 World Cup title to defend (or attack) in June of next year, he may be losing his grip on the captaincy. Similar to some past Test captains, England values Buttler’s runs more than his leadership abilities.
However, this takes away from Zampa’s performance. Despite Stokes and Moeen Ali building a strong partnership of 63 runs, Zampa was able to dismiss both of them. Stokes, who made a comeback from a tough situation, hit three sixes into the crowd of 55,000 people and executed a reverse lap shot that was caught at short fine leg. Moeen was also caught out after scoring 42 runs. Liam Livingstone’s brief appearance, resembling Abe Simpson, was cut short when he was caught out by Cummins. With the score at 187 for seven, the game was essentially over.
The final moments of the game were tense before the outcome was determined. Chris Woakes, who had previously taken four wickets for 54 runs, aimed to showcase his all-around skills with a strong score of 32. Rashid also contributed with two wickets for 38 runs. However, it was Australia’s day as they excelled in their fielding, especially with David Warner’s fierce performance despite the slippery conditions from the evening’s dew. This win marks a significant shift in their tournament journey.