Monday, February 26, 2024

England’s last line of defence


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Bengaluru, Oct 25: England will get a chance, perhaps a final one, to drag their shipwreck of a World Cup campaign, marked by batting and bowling downtime, to less stormy shores when they face fellow strugglers Sri Lanka here on Thursday.
The defending champions have two points from four matches, similar to their opponents, and are ninth on the table.A win here will not push them too far ahead on the chart, but it may give them that tiny bit of motivation against teams like India and Australia ahead. But a defeat against Lanka will take away even the benevolence of mathematics, which is currently scaffolding their hopes.To avoid being in the proximity of an early exit, England need improvement through the order, and in particular their batters need to fire. For that, they will not get a more favourable venue than the M Chinnaswamy Stadium with its short boundaries and pitch aiding runs.
The last match here between Australia and Pakistan produced a combined 672 runs, and the England batters would desperately want to repeat their effort against Bangladesh on October 10 when they mustered 364 for 9 at Dharamsala.It has been their bane during this tournament as none of their batters, barring Dawid Malan and Joe Root to a lesser extent, have been able to find their range, a defeat against Afghanistan and the mauling by South Africa still play out like the reels of a bad dream.
There was so much riding on the likes of captain Jos Buttler, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone but none of them have delivered.
Among them the malfunctioning of their all-rounders might have been the most disappointing as they were central to England’s bull run in white ball cricket. (PTI)


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