For the defending champions of the ICC ODI men’s World Cup, hanging out as bottom dwellers on ninth can only mean one thing and one thing alone. And it’s that England have seen better days in the past. Haven’t they?
For a team that didn’t really put a foot wrong in the previous ICC ODI World Cup campaign, held in balmy English conditions in 2019, the current world champions are barely playing like one.
What’s not helped the cause, and there’s just one left, which is to save themselves from further embarrassment, is how do England play now.
Common sense dictates that the team currently ninth on the ICC World Cup 2023 table goes out there and wins every single game.
That precisely means, winning each of their remaining fixtures, which lest it is forgotten, are against Sri Lanka, the Netherlands, Australia and, of course, hosts India.
England’s matches at ODI World Cup 2023
Oct 5 (Thursday)
England vs New Zealand
Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
NZ win by 9 wickets
Oct 10 (Tuesday)
England vs Bangladesh
HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala
ENG win by 137 runs
Oct 15 (Sunday)
Afghanistan vs England
Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
AFG win by 69 runs
Oct 21 (Saturday)
South Africa vs England
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
SA win by 229 runs
Oct 26 (Thursday)
England vs Sri Lanka
M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
Oct 29 (Sunday)
India vs England
Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow
Nov 4 (Saturday)
England vs Australia
Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Nov 8 (Wednesday)
England vs Netherlands
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Nov 11 (Saturday)
England vs Pakistan
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Nowhere, not in any green room of England’s biggest rivals Australia and definitely not in Hussain, the brightest star in English cricket’s intellectual galaxy is it written than they can’t fight back. The only thing’s that quite possible in cricket is an impossible or unpredictable result, at the end of the day.
And even as England have lost 3 in 4 games with some sensing their end in the 2023 campaign is but a matter of time, is it actually the case?
For sure being ninth on the table of ten and just ahead of Afghanistan means a calamity of a kind. Afghanistan, interestingly, snubbed Jos Buttler’s side recently in Delhi.
But England’s first big chance at a comeback post they’re hammering against the Proteas, means the opportunity versus Sri Lanka.
Even there, will England actually be able to snub the Lankans who, as of yesterday; found the lost confidence in beating The Netherlands.
For a team that already lacks Dushmanth Chamera and not forget, Hasaranga, Sri Lanka’s triumph over the Dutch would offer signals to England. A lesson that even the Sri Lankans beat the Dutch, which isn’t great news from an English perspective. How?
What happens if say SL beat ENG
England are themselves to play Sri Lanka, and the latter would be amid newfound confidence. Can they further stop England? Should that be the case, for instance, then the current net run rate of England, already a resoundingly poor net run rate of -1.248 will recede further.
Why the net run rate matters is a no brainer.
Why wouldn’t a team who’d like to progress ahead want to do so with a NRR that can keep others’ in check? More so with England whose bag of wins, so far, despite playing 4 full fledged games, is lighter than Yuzi Chahal’s on the weighing scale.
But let’s first understand what spikes the NRR? A combination of wins, consistency at winning coupled with the least wickets lost and the ability to chase down targets with overs left in the tank. Whosever fares the best in such challenging and utterly different benchmarks caps the Net Run Rate.
South Africa done well. The BlackCaps, unbeaten much like Team India, are the table toppers. Having said that, whilst Australia, the usually spunky and powerful side in the men’s ODI World Cup, is appearing rather aimless at the moment.
Which only means England’s mega clash with their arch rivals Australia and of course, the Ashes opponent, could now be the next big clash if there’s one left for them.
Furthermore, there’s the clash against the Dutch who have stunned South Africa, the very team that slapped England and dashed them to the ground.
Would this worry Buttler’s team the most in that the one to whom they lost quite comprehensively at the Wankhede has, in turn, been hammered by a team that’s never been a World Cup force as such.
A game that’s already known to be funny, given it produces just about any result, how much more fun can it be for The Netherlands if they get the better of England? Well, fun for one can be nightmare for the other, isn’t it?
And speaking of nightmare, England would also remember the biggest that is likely to come their way.
In an Indian team that’s got the Hitman Rohit Sharma with a world record breaking century (131 off 84 deliveries) under his belt, a Kohli fresh from his first 2023 World Cup century, and the promise and power of Rahul and Iyer, will this contest be the actual Halloween for an out of sorts camp?
But having said all of that, how about if England win all of these games? Who’s made a rule that they can’t numb the very teams that could make them look dumb given hardly any of the current batters look in form?
What happens then?
Well, the real fight, SportsTiger reckon, is between England, Pakistan and Australia to go through.
Since the way the top three- New Zealand, India and South Africa- are playing, it’s very much likely, if not entirely certain, that any among these three would miss out for the big semi’s stage.
But for that forget not there’d be several permutations and combinations that’ll come into play. And England, who’ve already made their lives difficult but not winning as many games as they’d have liked, there’s one golden rule.
And it’s to platt each of remaining games as their last. This means, playing the kind of game that they did against Bangladesh on October 10, where a victory was achieved only after putting 367 on the board. So what’s needed are big runs and even bigger intent. They can do it? But will they? Will the other situations tied to their progression turn out well? We don’t know. What we do know is that strange things happen in the great game of Cricket.