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Australia victory seals England’s World Cup elimination | Cricket


Australia victory seals England’s World Cup elimination | Cricket

It was a bitter end to England’s slim chance of reaching the World Cup semi-finals after suffering a sixth defeat in seven games. The elimination of the defending champions with two games left was made doubly painful as it was a defeat to arch rivals Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday that confirmed it, again failing to chase down a challenging total.

England's Adil Rashid greets Australia's players after the match in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, at Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Australia won by 33 runs. (ANI)
England’s Adil Rashid greets Australia’s players after the match in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, at Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Australia won by 33 runs. (ANI)

A month earlier at the same venue, England were thumped by New Zealand in the tournament opener. It had seemed their formidable line-up would find a way to bounce back, but things kept going from bad to worse.

Chasing a target of 287 against Australia, Jos Buttler and Co were dismissed for 253 in 48.1 overs despite working their way to strong positions in the chase.

Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and skipper Buttler, three of England’s most established ODI batters, yet again didn’t fire. Bairstow fell to the first ball of the innings, Root became Mitchell Starc’s second victim in the fifth over and Buttler was caught in the deep for one run off seven deliveries.

However, England found themselves at 102/2 and then on 169/4 as Ben Stokes first added an 84-run partnership with Dawid Malan and then 63 runs with Moeen Ali. But Australia upped the intensity in the field and kept finding breakthroughs thanks to the irrepressible Adam Zampa.

The 31-year-old reclaimed the top spot in the list of leading wicket-takers in the World Cup with another high class spell. It was the fifth match in a row where the leg-spinner took three or more wickets. Zampa had an exceptional outing as he delivered with the ball, bat and also took a superb running catch in the outfield to dismiss David Willey.

Earlier, England decided to go in with an unchanged playing XI while Australia were forced to make two changes. Glenn Maxwell, who had a freak golfing accident, and Mitch Marsh, who had to head home for personal reasons, were replaced by Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green.

Opting to field, England were off to a promising start as Travis Head, having hit a match-winning century upon his return from injury in the last game against New Zealand, was dismissed by Chris Woakes in the second over. Australia’s worries deepened four overs later as the in-form David Warner was also sent packing by Woakes.

The need of the hour for Australia at that point was a partnership and they got their biggest one of the match thanks to Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. The duo mixed caution with aggression to add 75 runs for the third wicket. Smith missed out on getting a second half-century of this World Cup, but Labuschagne carried on and scored an 83-ball 71.

At 178/5, with Adil Rashid delivering a fine spell through the middle overs, England had the opportunity to restrict Australia to a below-par total. But Green and Stoinis showed grit to keep the scoreboard ticking by picking boundaries consistently. The finishing touch came from Zampa, who smashed 29 from 19 balls to hand his team the momentum heading into the break.

After enduring a tough campaign with the ball, Woakes claimed his best World Cup figures but that wasn’t enough in the end.

Brief scores: Australia 286 in 49.3 overs (M Labuschagne 71, C Green 47, C Woakes 4/54, A Rashid 2/38); England 253 in 48.1 overs (B Stokes 64, M Ali 44, J Hazlewood 2/49, P Cummins 2/49, A Zampa 3/21). Australia won by 33 runs.

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