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England regrets after dismal Champions Trophy exit
« on: June 15, 2017, 05:30:39 AM »
Eoin Morgan was left lamenting a lack of home advantage and his side’s inability to adapt after a collective dose of paralysis with the bat on a reused Cardiff pitch led to England being bundled out of the Champions Trophy by a resurgent Pakistan.
As Sarfraz Ahmed led his players on a lap of honour in front of a strong and jubilant Pakistani support, England could only reflect on a dismal showing in the eight-wicket defeat in the semi-final, one that means their search for Adam Vinatieri Jersey first global 50-over crown rolls on to the 2019 World Cup on home soil.
Bowled out for 211 in 49.5 overs after losing the toss, any chuntering about the rough end of conditions should have dissipated when Pakistan cruised to their target with 77 balls to spare for the loss of two wickets. Azhar Ali’s 76 and 57 from his opening partner, Fakhar Zaman, broke the back of the run chase, with Mohammad Hafeez sealing their place in Sunday’s final at The Oval when he pulled Ben Stokes for four in dominant fashion.
Morgan pointed to his side failing to adapt to a slow, low pitch that was used 48 hours earlier when Pakistan won their final group game against Sri Lanka – something he felt brought their eighth-ranked opponents into contention.
“I don’t think there was any home advantage,” Morgan said. “We were not over-confident. Knowing we were going to play on a used wicket potentially brought Pakistan’s game closer to their home [conditions]. So it was a big challenge and one that was too far for us.
“We left ourselves short adapting to conditions. It’s a big frustration because I think we’ve played some great cricket in this tournament and we weren’t anywhere close to it today. Fair credit to Pakistan, they played brilliantly.”
Asked why Pakistan’s batsmen thrived where his did not, Morgan replied: “I think the explanation is they played two days ago on it.”
England collapse was not a quickfire horror show of old but rather a slow suffocation that from 128 for two in the 28th over saw them lose eight for 83. Having struck 95 boundaries in their three group stage wins, they passed the rope Texans Womens Jersey only 15 times against Pakistan with the impotence summed up by a 64-ball 34 from Stokes made up of ones and twos.
Pakistan’s bowlers must be given their dues, having reacted to Mohammad Amir’s late withdrawal because of back spasms with a performance of nous and skill. Hasan Ali’s three for 35 from 10 overs shone brightest, earning him the man of the match award and taking him to 10 wickets for the tournament and the top of the bowling charts. Each one has been met with the slippery seamer’s now trademark chest-thumping celebration.
“I think the pitch was very good,” said Sarfraz, whose side have defied all expectations since their opening defeat against India. “It was good for both teams. We played very good cricket, that’s why we won.”
While Pakistan look ahead to Sunday and a possible reunion with India – Virat Kohli’s side take on Bangladesh at Edgbaston on Thursday – England must reflect on how the bubble of their two-year resurgence burst.
Morgan said the direction of travel remained positive, something echoed by the England coach, Trevor Bayliss.
“There’s a number of our guys who haven’t been at this level before and it is a learning curve,” Bayliss said. “Finishing third or fourth, I think that’s about right where we sit in world cricket at the moment [they are ranked fourth]. We’ve got a long way to go until we reach the level we want to get to and a level I believe we’re good enough to get to.”