So England’s Cricket World Cup extravaganza could end up with an embarrassing early exit for the pre-tournament favourites. Being top of the ODI Rankings means nothing if you don’t make the final 4 of your own World Cup. The ECB have prioritised victory in this tournament ahead of The Ashes but they could end up with real egg on their faces as the home team find themselves in serious danger of missing out on the semi-finals. I suppose it had to be Australia that beat England at Lords to put the hosts under enormous pressure, how they must be loving this, especially Messrs Warner and Smith. To be fair though England have not made the last 4 of the Cricket World Cup for 27 years, when they lost the final to Pakistan in 1992.
GOOD TIMES AND BAD
It was nearly a month ago that England opened the tournament with victory over South Africa, they then lost to a Pakistan side they had hammered 4-0 in a ODI series just weeks before. Maybe the first sniff of complacency, but it is Pakistan and they have a habit of pulling it out at the strangest moments (like the ICC Trophy semi-final in 2017). Comfortable victories followed against Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan, it seemed that they had hit their groove and an overall 4th win in a row (5th overall) was inevitable against Sri Lanka, especially when the side from Asia were 3-2 within the first 3 overs. They scrabbled to 232, a total that should have been well within Eoin Morgan’s side compass. But no they steadily lost wickets, even when in control and to some stupid shots too. Clear complacency and sadly arrogance reared it head and it was clear that the players and management thought the game was there for the taking no matter what the English did. Served them right they lost, which allowed the Sri Lankans to now dream of making the last 4 themselves as well as giving Pakistan and Bangladesh a hope of qualifying themselves.
EVERYTHING IN THEIR FAVOUR
It is funny how the fixtures were decided, I’d suggest the ECB had a bit of a hand as the run of England games were clearly set up so they got a great start with the plan being to win 5 of their first 6 matches (if not all 6) and then qualification would have all but been assured. The obvious by product is that they now had to play the best sides at the end (and the teams chasing them have easier games on paper too). They have already failed against Australia and with India up next, followed by a trip to Chester-le-Street to face New Zealand who may possibly find themselves needing to win that game to secure semi-final passage themselves. So even with things in their favour they have right royally messed this up. Eoin Morgan ridiculously commented after the defeat against the Australians that he was “not hugely disappointed” – clearly he had not gauged the mood of the supporters.Let’s hope that was not what was being said in the dressing room.
RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 ALL OVER AGAIN?
So the words chokers and bottlers are being mentioned in regards to this England side and personally i don’t think that is too harsh as we stand. So good for the years in between but when put under pressure on tricky pitches they can’t perform. In 2015 England Rugby had their own extravaganza with a World Cup in this country and a team, we were told, that had a great opportunity to win on home soil, and despite, like now, having everything set up for them, especially the fixture order, they FAILED to even get out of their group, and quite rightly were a laughing stock, with management and players hammered by fans and press alike. I very much worry this will be the case again, a team with all the credentials, an organisation talking them up, the players and management saying they are ready to make this country proud. Actions speak louder than words and they are so needed very loud now. On the positive side a friend of mine did say that if England win their next 4 matches they will be World Champions. I have to say the logic is spot on and the hosts have shown they can go on a run like this, but sadly that seems a long way off from what I’m witnessing at the moment. Time will tell.
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