How can England rescue faltering World Cup bid?

June 26, 2019 | By

London: England are in grave danger of leaving their own party early after slumping to a third defeat at the World Cup, raising serious questions over their ability to cope with the pressure.

The hosts have become the undisputed top dogs in one-day cricket since an embarrassingly limp display at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

But beating teams in bilateral series is one thing — doing it on the biggest stage of all at a World Cup in your own country is a different level of challenge entirely.

AFP Sport looks at what England need to do to get their campaign back on track.

First of all, pray

Specifically for a miracle recovery for injury-hit Jason Roy. When he limped off the field with a torn hamstring against the West Indies, alarm bells did not ring too loudly.

The in-form opener is a major weapon at the top of the order but England were flying high and that day cruised to an easy win in the Southampton sunshine.

But for all of England’s much-vaunted batting strength, the powerful Roy has been badly missed.

His replacement, James Vince, has done nothing to silence his detractors in his three innings and former England Test captain Michael Vaughan believes he should be dropped for the India game on Sunday.

It’s in the lap of the gods and England need to seek divine intervention in the hope that Roy will be ready in time. Their ultimate decision could depend on how the World Cup table looks on the morning of the match.

Bat first

Should England have batted first against Australia at Lord’s despite the heavy skies and a bit of dampness in the air?

England’s attack made it tricky for Aaron Finch and David Warner in the early overs but the opening batsmen survived and established a good platform for Australia.

Morgan’s side have looked comfortable chasing big totals in the past but they have now lost three of the four matches at the World Cup in which they have batted second.

Only Bangladesh have successfully chased more than 250 to win a match, despite the expectations that bat would dominate ball at the tournament.

If England bat first they would be able to build an innings at their own pace without “scoreboard pressure”, relying on their formidable bowlers to complete the job.

Be flexible

England have been criticised for their one-dimensional approach even though it has brought them so much success in recent years.

The team made a conscious decision to keep attacking at all costs and it has paid off spectacularly.

But when it goes wrong it can go badly wrong. England had the chance to construct a measured reply against Sri Lanka last week but slumped to 212 all out.

They found themselves in deep trouble against Australia but rather than taking time to regroup, Morgan and Jonny Bairstow holed out.

If England are going to reach the semi-finals, they might need to learn to play with a bit more patience.

Rewrite history

England’s last two matches are against India and New Zealand, neither of whom they have beaten at a World Cup since 1992.

They will probably need to win one, and maybe even both, of those games to go through.

If they are not up to the task, Morgan’s side, currently clinging on to fourth spot, are at risk of being caught by Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.


For all their struggles, England can look back to the 1992 and 1999 World Cups for inspiration.

In both of those tournaments, eventual winners Pakistan (1992) and Australia (1999) made sluggish starts before finding their form later in the tournament.

If England can rediscover their verve they have the talent in both batting and bowling to become champions on home soil.

But the pressure is mounting.


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