Having entered the Cricket World Cup as one of the favourites, England now find themselves in a delicate situation, knowing another slip up could be potentially fatal.
In a match which saw England far from their usual brilliant best, Sri Lanka capitalised and claimed a major scalp. Things initially started off positively for Eoin Morgan’s men, who only allowed their opponents 232 after fielding first.
It was a day to forget though in the batting department, with England delivering several loose shots, allowing Sri Lanka in. Towards the end of the innings, Ben Stokes provided a lifeline for his side playing some smart cricket, protecting his partner and last batsman Mark Wood. Unfortunately, Stokes couldn’t prevent the slightest of clips from Wood who was caught out after facing four balls, leaving England all out for 212.
Speaking after the defeat Morgan in an interview with BBC Sport said: “In the chase we didn’t do the basics of getting substantial partnerships going.
“We had a couple of good individual performances, but Sri Lanka thoroughly deserved to win.
“We didn’t do enough to win the game and even if we had nicked it then it would have been us robbing the game with an outstanding individual performance.”
Defeat isn’t too severe as things stand with England still sitting in third place, a position which would see them qualify for the semi-final spots. The major worry is the opponents that are still to come. Morgan now has to prepare his side for three tricky tasks against Australia, New Zealand and India, all of whom are currently sitting in the top four spots surround England. In past years, there hasn’t been much to cheer about when it comes to World Cup matches versus any of those three sides, with no wins recorded since 1992.
One loss shouldn’t dash hopes of being glorious come the end of the tournament though, it should be used as an eye opener. Although, having said that it isn’t there sole loss so far in this World Cup, after facing defeat to Bangladesh too.
As things stand, England have struggled to find a rhythm. They have shown flashes of magic but offer room for doubt too. In the space of four days, the side went from smashing records playing some of the best cricket you’re likely to see to then putting in a lacklustre display in a game that with all due respect to Sri Lanka, was winnable.
If the players can leave yesterday’s performance as a thing of the past, looking forward to the future, should they deliver anything similar to what was on show against Afghanistan winning the remaining matches is very much achievable.
During the breath-taking victory which saw Afghanistan beaten by 150 runs, captain Morgan hammered a record breaking 17 individual sixes, along with a new high as a team with 25.
England are now not back in action until Tuesday when they will seek redemption as they go toe to toe with table toppers Australia in a massive showdown at Lord’s.
(Image via Sporting Life)