Australian bowlers provided a magnificent collective performance to see the five-time champions through against England. Despite the early struggles, the Aussies are looking like one of the favorites to lift the World Cup on the subcontinental soil. England’s lack of application, skill, and form is alarming and they have launched one of the worst title defenses in the history of the game. The match looked like a close encounter from the scoreboard, but England rarely seemed to be in the game through the 99 overs played.
Australia was forced to make a couple of changes to the team that narrowly avoided a defeat against rival Kiwis. Glenn Maxwell suffered a concussion from a freak accident and he was replaced by Cameron Green. Marcus Stoinis came in for Mitchell Marsh who flew back to Australia for personal reasons.
England played with an unchanged eleven that capitulated without any resistance against Sri Lanka. Captain Jos Buttler is under constant pressure to deliver something that would brighten up their dismal campaign.
- David Warner 2. Travis Head 3. Steve Smith 4. Marnus Labuschagne 5. Josh Inglis 6. Cameron Green 7. Marcus Stoinis 8. Pat Cummins 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Adam Zampa 11. Josh Hazlewood
- Jonny Bairstow 2. Dawid Malan 3. Joe Root 4. Ben Stokes 5. Jos Buttler 6. Liam Livingstone 7. Moeen Ali 8. Chris Woakes 9. David Willey 10. Adil Rashid 11. Mark Wood.
English captain Jos Buttler won the coin toss and decided to bat first with the dew factor in mind. There was little grass on the hard surface in Ahmedabad. It is known to be one of the most conducive pitches to bat on in the whole of India. A score near 300 is a good first innings total to challenge the team batting second.
|Venue||The 36th match of the World Cup campaign was played in The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India|
|Date||The match started at 01:30 p.m. onwards on Saturday, November 4.|
Captaincy & Tactics
England’s decision to bat first looked a solid one with both the Australian openers failing to make their mark. Steve Smith came and started a counterattack on his own with Marnus Labuschagne chipping away at the other end. There was little on the pitch for the bowlers except the slower ones. Steve Smith was hitting through the line by getting into the pitch of the ball. Marnus Labuschagne was more defensive with backfoot punches by standing deep in his crease. Adil Rashid put on a show with his varieties and troubled the batsmen all afternoon. The older ball made life difficult for the batsmen with some hint of reverse.
Mitchell was swinging the ball at a rapid pace and removed the English openers in no time. Dawid Malan was willing to curb his attacking self by posting a resilient fifty. Ben Stokes also fought hard for runs on a pitch that seemed much slower in the second innings. Adam Zampa bowled wicket to wicket and stifled the run rate massively. He also bowled 9 googlies, most of them not picked by the batsmen. Chris Woakes tried to give the English chase some impetus with some late boundaries, but his solo effort down the order was never going to be enough.
England started off the match well by bowling Australia out for 286 runs after winning the toss. They hoped that the evening dew would help the ball move smoothly on the pitch, making it easier to bat. However, England’s batting performance was extremely poor, and it became clear that their lack of form was going to affect their chances of winning. Captain Jos Buttler, who is known as a great player in limited-overs cricket, got out for just 1 run from 6 balls. This left England struggling at 106 for 4 after the first half of their innings. The signs were not good right from the beginning of their chase.
In the past, England’s team could handle such setbacks without losing hope. For example, Jason Roy, who has a great record in limited-overs cricket, has often faced dismissals in the first over, even getting out to the very first ball of his career. However, this didn’t stop him from being confident and taking risks because he knew that his teammates would support him.
Australia heavily relied on their opening partnership without the power hitters, Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, in the middle order. However, Chris Woakes dismissed Travis Head and David Warner early on, leaving Australia at 38 for 2. As a result, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith had to revert to their Ashes strategies and patiently built a partnership of 75 runs for the third wicket, aiming to avoid a repeat of their collapse in the 2019 semi-final.
England’s key player, Adil Rashid, entered the game later than expected but managed to disrupt Australia’s progress once again. After 20 overs, Smith was still struggling with his timing when Rashid bowled a slower and wider googly in his second over. Smith attempted a cut shot but ended up scooping the ball to Moeen Ali at backward point, getting dismissed for 44. Rashid struck again in his second over, trapping Josh Inglis LBW with a poorly judged reverse sweep. Despite Labuschagne reaching his half-century from 63 balls, Rashid’s clever variations and ability to change pace against the determined batsmen prevented Australia from accelerating their scoring.
Mark Wood’s return to the bowling attack brought a noticeable increase in Australia’s scoring rate. Cameron Green, Maxwell’s replacement, struggled against Wood’s fast deliveries. At one point, his bat flew out of his hands, leading to a top-edged pull that drew the attention of four fielders, but he managed to find gaps through backward point and picked up runs, including a deflected four off a searing 153 kph yorker.
Despite Wood’s efforts to make a difference, taking the wicket of Labuschagne with an LBW that left him perplexed after a failed review, and later dismissing Pat Cummins with a short ball, his figures of 2 for 70 indicated that his raw speed sometimes resulted in wastefulness when he missed his target.
As soon as Jonny Bairstow attempted to hit a loose delivery from Mitchell Starc on the leg side and got out, England’s troubles were evident. It was a disappointing start, and even Starc looked a bit embarrassed about it. After failing to take any wickets in the previous World Cup match against New Zealand, Starc was quick to get back on track and put Australia in a strong position against their favored rivals.
From an England perspective, what followed was a painful and uncomfortable sight. Although Dawid Malan tried to hold the innings together with his usual calmness, Joe Root, England’s captain, had a rough time. After hitting a boundary on his second ball, things went downhill for him. In the next 15 balls he faced, he managed to survive an lbw appeal by Starc by a very small margin, was dropped by Marcus Stoinis at point, and edged a shot off Josh Hazlewood that was just out of reach for the second slip fielder.
Joe Root’s luck wasn’t on his side, unfortunately. His performance has been disappointing, and although he managed to escape a few close calls, there were only so many fortunate moments he could have before Australia caught him. He might have been lucky once again when Mitchell Starc tempted him outside off stump, but Marnus Labuschagne claimed to have heard a noise and a review confirmed a faint edge. This dismissal made it Root’s 11th time getting out during the powerplay in 18 innings since the 2019 World Cup, with an abysmal average of 5.63.
Despite Root’s struggles, England still had Ben Stokes and Dawid Malan at the crease, each with their own approach but believe in building a solid foundation. As they held together an 84-run partnership for the third wicket, similar to Labuschagne and Steve Smith’s efforts for Australia, there was a glimmer of hope for England.
However, Malan, when on 50, played an unnecessary shot and got caught off Pat Cummins. This exposed Jos Buttler, who’s been out of form, to a challenging situation that he couldn’t handle. Though Moeen Ali played a diligent innings, scoring 42 runs off as many balls, England’s entire focus seemed to rely on Stokes, and Australia was well aware of it.
Stokes, despite his failure against India, showed his presence on the big stage as he cautiously accumulated 15 runs from 37 balls before unleashing a powerful straight drive off Starc for four runs. From there, he became more aggressive and powerful, although he suffered from his troublesome left knee buckling during his big shots to the leg side.
However, despite Stokes’ heroic efforts, his innings were reminiscent of his memorable but unsuccessful innings during the Ashes at Headingley and Lord’s. A frustrated exclamation of “Oh no!” echoed as he mistimed a sweep shot and was caught by Marcus Stoinis at short fine leg. Liam Livingstone, oddly chosen over Harry Brook despite his own poor form, lasted less than an over before getting caught at midwicket while attempting a pull shot. When Moeen became Adam Zampa’s third wicket of an exceptional spell, the rest of the match was a mere formality.
It’s a reflection of England’s current struggle that Australia managed to win despite their own inconsistent batting performance. Against most other teams in this tournament, Australia’s score would have been more challenging.
The Australians were exceptional in the field in defending a target that seemed a bit below par. The fielding on the boundary was fantastic. David Warner is known to be a brilliant fielder and he put his body on the line multiple times to save boundaries. He also took the important catch of Moeen Ali. After contributing with bat and then ball, Adam Zampa also brought out his fielding self by claiming an amazing catch to dismiss David Willey. Josh Inglish had a good day behind the wicket by completing three catches.
The English fielding was good throughout the Australian innings. He finished the catches well and saved multiple boundaries to keep the Australian within touching distance. But this eventually turned out to be a day of disappointment with the Three Lions languishing at the bottom of the table.
Marnus Labuschagne stood strong with his second fifty against a rejuvenated English attack and added an invaluable 71 runs off 83 balls. Cameron Green came in for the concussed Glenn Maxwell and the young all-rounder made good use of the opportunity by scoring 47 runs. Steve Smith looked in fine touch, he fell just short of fifty with a 44 run innings. Marcus Stonis’s 35 and Adam Zampa’s 29 down the order made sure Australia finished on a high. Chris Woakes was the pick of the English bowlers with 4 wickets for 54 runs. Adil Rashid continued his white ball form with an economical spell of 2 for 38 runs. Mark Wood was also expensive with a couple of scalps.
England faltered right from the start except Dawid Malan (50 from 64) and Ben Stokes (64 from 90). Moeen Ali had a rare innings of poise and grace with 42 runs from 43 balls. Chris Woakes provided some late fireworks by hitting an innings of 32. Adam Zampa was exceptional once again, he secured a trio of wickets by just giving away 21 runs from 10 overs. Mitchell Starc is back among the wickets after a break in his World Cup streak, he picked up the first two wickets. Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins also finished their day with two wickets.
Ben Stokes hasn’t had a good World Cup after returning from retirement. But he has been the man for big occasions for the English and was providing some hope for the English with an innings typifying the man’s class. He built a counterpunching stand with Moeen Ali of 66, the last chance saloon that was giving the English fans some hope. At one point England needed 118 from 88 runs.
Stokes was batting at 64 runs from 89 balls. Adam Zampa bowled the third ball of the 36th over on a full length and it pitched around the hip of Ben Stokes. The English legend tried to sweep it away towards the third-man region. But the timing was not there and he only managed to find Marcus Stoinis standing at short fine leg. Stokes was visibly disappointed at this soft dismissal among the cheerful Aussies who were happy to see the back of a talismanic performer.
Australia made 5 wins out of 5 with a magnificent victory of 33 runs over their arch-rivals England.
Player of the Match
Adam Zampa won the best player of the match for his wonderful bowling of 3/21 and a cameo of 29 runs off 19 balls.
|Australia Total: 286/10 (49.3 overs)||England Total: 253/10 (48.1 overs)|
|Marnus Labuschagne 71 (83)||Ben Stokes 64 (90)|
|Cameron Green 47 (52)||Dawid Malan 50 (64)|
|Chris Woakes 4/54 (9.3 overs)||Adam Zampa 3/21 (10 overs)|
|Adil Rashid 2/38 (10 overs)||Pat Cummins 2/49 (10 overs)|
Australians managed to heap more misery on the already struggling Englishmen who are wallowing at the bottom of the table with only one win that came in the second match against Bangladesh. Australia has turned a corner after two successive defeats in the opening two games. They would have a chance to secure their semi-final spot when they face Afghanistan in the next game. England’s next assignment takes them to Pune where they meet an impressive Dutch side.