He won the last World Cup. But he didn’t play a single game. He was not involved in the earlier games at this tournament. David Willey finally got the chance to show his worth in the final game of his career. The 33-year-old all-rounder from Northampton contributed with the bat, then dismantled the Pakistani batting order with a classic left-arm swing. The Pakistani fans were left disappointed with their team falling to another defeat in this miserable World Cup campaign.
England played with an unchanged first eleven that demolished the Netherlands in the previous game. Ben Stokes and David Willey were playing their last games in this format. With the current form taken into consideration, this also might be the last time we were watching Jos Buttler in an England shirt at the ODI World Cup.
Pakistan made a solitary alteration to their side that won a thriller against New Zealand. Hasan Ai dropped to the bench to give spinner Shadab Khan a chance to make the most out of a spinning track. Pakistan had the slimmest of chances to qualify for the last fours before this match.
- Dawid Malan 2. Jonny Bairstow 3. Joe Root 4. Ben Stokes 5. Jos Buttler (Cap.) (WK) 6. Harry Brook 7. Moeen Ali 8. Chris Woakes 9. David Willey 10. Gus Atkinson 11. Adil Rashid
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Fakhar Zaman 3. Babar Azam (Cap.) 4. Mohammad Rizwan (WK) 5. Saud Shakeel 6. Salman Ali Agha 7. Iftikhar Ahmed 8. Shadab Khan 9. Shaheen Afridi 10. Mohammad Wasim Jr. 11. Haris Rauf
English captain Jos Buttler won the toss and elected to bat first on a good batting surface at Kolkata. The pitch at Eden Gardens is known for its high-scoring games. The pitch is also conducive to the spinners. The new ball bowlers might find some movement early on, along with a good carry to the wicketkeeper.
England and Pakistan faced each other 88 times before this match. The head-to-head record clearly shows an English dominance: 56 wins to Pakistan’s 32. England also won four of the last five ODIs. The game in the last World Cup also resulted in an English victory.
|Venue||The 44th match of the 2023 World Cup was played at the hallowed ground of Eden Gardens, Kolkata, West Bengal.|
|Date||The game started at 02:00 pm on Saturday, November 11.|
Captaincy & Tactics
In a spectacular display at Eden Gardens, England bid farewell to the 2023 World Cup by reclaiming their former dominance and securing an emphatic 93-run victory over Pakistan. The outcome effectively eliminates Babar Azam’s men from the semi-final race.
David Willey, in his final appearance for the national team, showcased an exceptional all-round performance, achieving his 100th and final ODI wicket. Ben Stokes, once again displaying his power-hitting prowess, played a pivotal role in setting a commanding total of 337 for 9. Furthermore, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid capitalized on the spin-friendly pitch, combining to take four wickets and extinguishing any hope of a competitive contest.
The England vs. Pakistan encounter had promised to be one of the highlights of the World Cup, but sadly, both teams fell short of their pre-tournament expectations. Nonetheless, England’s back-to-back victories secured them a respectable seventh-place finish in the group-stage standings and secured a spot in the 2025 Champions Trophy, although it was deemed a consolation prize with little satisfaction.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s performance reflected their disappointment from the beginning. Jos Buttler’s successful coin toss put them on the back foot. With New Zealand holding a significant advantage in net run-rate, Pakistan’s slim chances of reaching the semi-finals rested on posting an enormous total before bowling out England by a margin of 287 runs or more – a daunting task considering England’s form in the tournament.
For Pakistan, however, the situation worsened when Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan accelerated to a formidable 72 for 0 in the powerplay, the highest powerplay score for England in the tournament. The required run-rate skyrocketed, and chasing a target of 338, Pakistan’s hopes were officially extinguished after just 6.4 overs, with Willey reducing them to 30 for 2 with his 98th and 99th ODI wickets.
From that point on, Pakistan’s prospects continued to decline. Babar Azam succumbed to Gus Atkinson, mirroring his disappointing start in the campaign against the Netherlands. Mohammad Rizwan suffered a similar fate, falling victim to Moeen as he lunged down the pitch only to be bowled through the gate, reminiscent of his previous heroic but comedic incident against Sri Lanka.
Despite the underlying subplots, England delivered their most comprehensive performance of the World Cup. On a slow pitch, they finally found the right batting tempo, with Bairstow, Joe Root, and Stokes all contributing half-centuries. Additional attacking cameos added impetus to England’s innings, enabling them to play their shots freely and with power.
Bairstow, in particular, adjusted his approach after a lackluster tournament, taking time to gauge the pitch’s pace before launching into aggressive strokes. His knock of 59 from 61 balls ended with a shot to cover off Haris Rauf. Malan, England’s most consistent performer, contributed 31 before falling to a reverse sweep.
Although Root’s tournament had been disappointing, he managed to register his third half-century in nine innings. However, his overall performance of 60 from 72 balls did not meet his own high standards, indicating his struggle to find the desired rhythm. Stokes, on the other hand, showcased his expected prowess, scoring 84 from 76 balls, providing the crucial impetus in England’s third-wicket partnership of 132.
Stokes’ innings could have ended early if not for a dropped return catch by Shaheen Shah Afridi, which led to a relentless counterattack by the England all-rounder. However, his knee troubles became apparent as the innings progressed, manifesting in visible discomfort. Despite this, he continued to play inventive shots, including a remarkable tumbling reverse sweep for six over-backward points.
Stokes’ dismissal for 84 signaled a potential end to his involvement in England’s white-ball formats, given his forthcoming knee surgery and past absences. Buttler, whose form had been waning, had a chance to finish on a high note, but he couldn’t fully capitalize. A reprieve from dropped catches couldn’t prevent his run-out by a sensational throw from Rauf at backward point, wrapping up a disappointing campaign for Buttler.
Despite expressing their desire to extend their cricketing careers until the 2027 World Cup, both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root’s disappointing performances in the current edition have raised concerns. The duo, who have managed only 372 runs between them, have struggled to score a half-century in the past month, highlighting the challenges of entering the tournament without sufficient relevant practice.
Earlier this year, Chris Woakes hinted at an impending departure from ODIs after the World Cup, while Mark Wood’s focus appears to be primarily on Test and T20 cricket, despite his three-year contract signaling his continued consideration for the format.
For those players who may not feature again in future tournaments, the current ending is far from what they envisaged. England embarked on their journey to India with high hopes of defending their title, only to find themselves scrambling for a spot in the Champions Trophy 2025 after a disappointing campaign. Their recent comfortable victory over the Netherlands has almost confirmed their inability to progress further. This is a tournament that England will want to put behind them as soon as possible. The team had reached the semifinals in five consecutive men’s ICC events, including three T20 World Cups, a 50-over World Cup, and a Champions Trophy, winning two of them. However, they have stumbled, losing six out of their eight matches in this World Cup held in India.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, there will undoubtedly be extensive analysis and investigations to ascertain the exact reasons for England’s underperformance and to identify potential areas of blame. Perhaps the explanation is simple: this tournament proved to be one step too far for a squad that had already peaked.
With a solid foundation set by the top order, England also witnessed explosive contributions from Brooke and Willey, who retired after a quick cameo. Willey, carrying the positive momentum into his opening spell with the ball, claimed two wickets in his first ten balls, including the dismissal of Fakhar Zaman.
Pakistan’s top-order struggled to find any momentum, with only Agha Salman managing a relatively decent tempo with his 51 from 45 balls. However, Willey dismissed Salman in his second spell, securing his 100th ODI wicket. Adil Rashid, the standout performer for England throughout the tournament, claimed two more wickets, including a well-disguised googly to bowl Saud Shakeel.
Although Pakistan’s tailenders, Wasim and Rauf, provided some resistance with an entertaining partnership of 53 runs, the match had already slipped from their grasp. Ultimately, England’s victory margin could have been more significant if not for the late fireworks.
As both teams reflect on their campaigns, questions arise about missed opportunities and unfulfilled potential. England’s dominant performance in their final match highlighted their ability to find their form, albeit too late to salvage their World Cup hopes. Pakistan, on the other hand, faced disappointment from the outset, unable to live up to expectations.
The English team returned to Eden Gardens for a floodlit training session, which was reminiscent of their near-victory in the 2016 T20 World Cup; it served as a poignant reminder of the remarkable achievements they have attained. Six players from that momentous XI – Root, Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, David Willey, and Adil Rashid – are all but certain to step out onto the field again, underscoring the longevity of this squad and the fact that age is catching up with most of them.
Despite the disappointment and struggles faced in this World Cup, once the dust settles, this England team will be remembered not for the recent lows of the past six weeks but for the remarkable highs they reached during the preceding seven years. Their legacy will be defined by their consistent presence in the semifinals of major ICC events and their ability to clinch championship titles. The journey, though challenging, has forged their reputation as a competitive and resilient side.
As the focus shifts from the present setbacks towards the future, England’s cricket establishment will undoubtedly reflect on the lessons learned during this World Cup campaign. They will seek to rejuvenate the squad, provide opportunities to emerging talent, and strive for renewed success on the international stage.
Shaheen Afridi has seen a dip in form after his brilliant performance against South Africa. He also dropped two catches off his own bowling to aggravate his status in the team. He dropped Dawid Malan, who had yet to score from his first six deliveries. The second one came in the first ball of the 25 over. Ben Stokes was dropped by the same person on the score of 10, and he went on to post a big score. Mohammad Rizwan showed an impressive level of athleticism when he caught Dawid Malan out after the initial fumble.
Shadab Khan displayed once again why he is the best fielder in the team by completing a difficult grab to send Joe Root on his way. Jos Buttler was caught on the boundary by Salman Ali Agha, but he stepped on the boundary just after pouching the ball. Shaheen Afridi finally completed a good grab at mid-off to dismiss Harry Brook, moving quickly to his left. Jos Buttler got out via a direct hit by Haris Rauf at short third man. David Willey was caught by Iftikhar Ahmed, the veteran who came in running from long-on and finished a diving catch.
Ben Stokes was also the star in fielding after completing three catches in the Pakistani innings. Dawid Malan was backpedaling when he caught Iftikhar Ahmed out at mid-on. The fielding department made sure Pakistan would never get close to the target set earlier by the English batsmen.
Ben Stokes missed out on back-to-back World Cup hundreds after getting one against the Netherlands. He scored 84 from 76 deliveries, hitting a total of 13 boundaries in his innings. Joe Root was finally able to score some runs; he scored 60 off 72. Jonny Bairstow also posted a fifty with the bat. Haris Rauf was the pick of the Pakistani bowlers by picking up 3 wickets and conceding 64 runs. Mohammad Wasim Jr. and Shaheen Afridi both claimed two wickets apiece; they were costly, though, with the concession of 74 and 72 runs, respectively.
Pakistan never looked like chasing down the huge target, with only Salman Ali Agha getting past 50 (51 off 45). Despite getting off to a solid start, Babar Azam went back to the pavilion after scoring 38 runs. Mohammad Rizwan also got dismissed cheaply at 36. David Willey made his last day as an ODI international bowler memorable by picking up 3 for 56. Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, and Gus Atkinson took two wickets apiece as England bowled Pakistan out before 250.
Pakistan had an incredibly hard task of chasing down a target of 338 when they came out to bat. The Kolkata surface allows the new ball to move around a bit. David Willey, who was playing in his last World Cup game, looked focused. He brought the second ball of his fast over the back towards Abdullah Shafique. The right-hander could not put his bat on the ball and was trapped in front. The umpire had to put his finger up to adjudge Shafique out.
David Willey was back with more carnage in his second over. Fakhar Zaman played an outrageous innings to bring Pakistan a crucial victory against New Zealand in the last game. But he struggled to time the ball early on in this match. In an attempt to break off the shackles, Fakhar Zaman came down the track and charged after the ball. But Willey pitched it a bit short, so Fakhar could only miscue it towards Ben Stokes standing at mid-off. These two wickets by Willey derailed the Pakistani chase in its inception.
England ended their World Cup campaign on a high by recording a comprehensive victory by 93 runs over the Pakistanis.
Player of the Match
David Willey won the Man of the Match award for his bowling spell of 10 overs that yielded figures of 3 for 56. He also hit boundaries in his useful cameo of 15 off 5 with the bat.
|England Total: 337/9 (50 overs)||Pakistan Total: 244/10 (43.3 overs)|
|Ben Stokes 84 (76)||Salman Ali Agha 51 (45)|
|Joe Root 60 (72)||Babar Azam 38 (45)|
|Haris Rauf 3/64 (10)||David Willey 3/56 (10)|
|Shaheen Afridi 2/72 (10)||Gus Atkinson 2/45 (8)|
England might no longer be the reigning champions after the final on the 19th of this month, but they bowed out on a high with two victories in the last two games. Pakistan were playing like a team with zero motivation, and they finished their campaign with just four wins out of nine matches. Babar Azam might be replaced as the captain, with the right-handed batsman also failing to live up to his massive hype. He got only two fifties in this tournament. England will also undergo massive changes, with some senior players looking to retire after this tournament.