England out of the cricket World Cup

ICC World Cup of Cricket

England have been knocked out of the cricket World Cup in the group stage after another dispiriting performance that saw them lose by 15 runs to Bangladesh.

England failed to chase down a target of 276, one that skipper Eoin Morgan described as "chase-able", and were instead bowled out for 260, with Rubel Hossain's castling of James Anderson sealing the ignominy.

They had made a solid if unspectacular start to their chase - one you could easily decry as being the epitome of the way England continue to play ODI cricket - by reaching 97 for one in the 20th over and 121 for two after 26.

Not a bad platform from which to launch an assault considering the way other teams have gone so far in the tournament, but things went badly awry in the middle overs as they so often seem to do. It wasn't the spinners who caused the problems as was expected, but rather an unheralded Bangladeshi seam attack. Rubel Hossain removed the settled Ian Bell for 63 and then Morgan for a duck in the same over. Taskin Ahmed's subsequent dismissal of James Taylor left the scoreboard suddenly reading 132 for five.

Jos Buttler - about the only one of England's players who seems to belong to the modern era - gave them false hope with a typically powerful 65. He was ably supported by Chris Woakes during a seventh-wicket stand of 75 that arguably briefly made England slight favourites. Buttler, though, was caught off Taskin and it was left to the tail. They did their best - Stuart Broad hooking a six - and got things down to 16 off the final two overs, helped along the way by Tamim Iqbal dropping Woakes. Broad and Anderson, though, were promptly bowled by Rubel and that was that.

Again, with the ball, England had made a good start as James Anderson dismissed both openers in consecutive overs. However, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim set about compiling the match-winning total during a fifth-wicket stand of 141. Mahmudullah became the first Bangladeshi to hit a World Cup century, while Rahim fell 11 short of becoming the second.

It is the first time that Bangladesh have reached the knockout stage of a World Cup and their fans - both at the ground and back home - will surely celebrate for a long time to come.

 

Stat of the day:
England have now beaten Bangladesh only once in ODIs since 2010. Admittedly that does amount to only once in four games but two of those defeats have come in World Cups.

Man of the day:
Mahmudullah had never made a ODI century until today but his knock helped Bangladesh post a competitive total after they had threatened initially to be blown away by Anderson. He made 103 off 138 balls and provided the calming influence that his side has so often lacked previously.

Talking point:
There are, and will be, many for England over the coming days. They have managed to get knocked out of a tournament at a stage when it was supposed to be impossible for a top eight nation to do so.

Much has been talked about over the years of their inabilities to take advantage of the powerplay, bowl at the death and play spin, but today they lost the game in the middle overs. They were unable to make the breakthroughs with the ball that Bangladesh were ultimately able to do in the run chase. It would be easy to blame coach Peter Moores and captain Eoin Morgan for the miserable performance at this tournament but there is a feeling that the problems lie much deeper. Both Moores and Morgan are relatively new to their jobs and England have been punching below their weight in ODI cricket for much of the past two decades.

 

 

Many criticisms will be hurled and suggestions proffered in the coming days, weeks and months and yet another root-and-branch review of the running of the game in the country is expected to be undertaken by the new chairman Colin Graves and his chief executive. While it will be no means provide a cure-all, a view of mine is that a way must be found to get some form of live cricket back onto free-to-air television.

Other areas likely to receive attention and those more pressing to the immediate future are those such as why do players seem to get worse upon entering the England set-up and why do players appear so stifled and inhibited by fear when playing limited-overs cricket? It is always sad to see people - especially those such as Peter Moores who has hardly been dealt a hand of aces and who seems to have his heart very much in the right place - take criticism and probably lose their jobs, but a statement from his press conference and already picked up across the internet may yet provide a fitting epitaph for his second tenure as coach.

 

It sums up what many see as the lack of creativity and flair that has stifled England in ODI cricket over the past 20 years.

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