England’s Cricket World Cup hopes take major hit as Australia win at Lord’s

England's hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals were put on life support by their oldest and fiercest rivals on a dispiriting day at HQ.

Australia are the first to make those semis after dishing out an all too familiar World Cup hiding to Eoin Morgan's side who, far from bouncing back from defeat, curled up in a ball in the corner waiting for it to end.

The tournament hosts and pre tournament favourites are surely anything but following their 64-run loss that made you wonder whether the last four years was some kind of collective dream sequence.

For four years England have demolished sides with a swagger as their batting in particular has flexed muscle after muscle, and for the last 13 months they have been ranked No.1 in ODI cricket as a result.

In that time they have tried to convince themselves that they can handle the pressure and the expectation that comes with that rarified air.

But within the space of three and a half weeks and three World Cup defeats, that pressure appears to be choking them.

It is as if four years of feasting on cakes and sweets to their heart's content, scoring 400 and more on flat pitch after flat pitch has left them in a sugary coma, unable to cope when the heart-rate gets into the 'nipper zone'.

At some point they need to do more than bully teams when the conditions are in their favour, they need to hang tough and show the character they are convinced they have.

Chasing 286, thanks to Aaron Finch's captain's hundred, England were reduced to 53-4 as James Vince, Joe Root, Morgan and Jonny Bairstow all failed to rise to the challenge.

Left arm quicks Mitchell Starc with 4-43 and Jason Behrendorff with 5-44 had a field day and showed the value of pitching the ball up and letting it swing.

For the first time in this tournament, not only did England miss Jason Roy, but you could be forgiven for pining for David Willey too.

Yet again Ben Stokes was left to fight the lone fight with 89 as his body cramped up while as Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes came and went for 25 and 26 respectively. Both were more garnish than meat.

When Adil Rashid was the last man out for 25 the sun was shining brightly over Lord's but the gloom hung over an England dressing room that must find a way to pick themselves up and go again against India on Sunday.

This was another opportunity missed by an England team that will be desperate to get Roy back, but who will know that a win at Edgbaston can put them back on track.

“I thought we were outplayed,” said Morgan. “We were a bit unlucky up front but they posted a good total.

“The wicket was a bit easier but still challenging when we batted, but we didn't manage to make a substantial partnership and hence being outplayed.

“Given the circumstances it is not hugely disappointing. Our fate is still in our own hands over the next two games we play.”

Man-of-the-match Finch kicked off the 2015 World Cup with a match-winning hundred against England on their way to the title and now that he's captain he dished out another dose of reality to the Three Lions.

With David Warner and Steve Smith both chipping in to give their bowlers something to work with, this is what handling the pressure looks like.

England are running out of time to show they can handle it.

Source: Read Full Article