LONDON: England came into the World Cup as outright favourites to win the title. In the years after their 2015 World Cup debacle, England’s approach to ODI cricket went through a complete overhaul. Their all or nothing batting style helped them notch up four 400-plus totals and at the World Cup, their bowlers have also stepped up but they have faced some difficulty in reaching the knockout stage.
IANS takes a look at the hosts journey to the final, where they will take on New Zealand at the Lord’s on Sunday
VS SOUTH AFRICA (MAY 30)
Result: England won by 104 runs
The tournament opener was also one in which England sent a clear signal to the rest of the teams. They got partnerships all the way down the order batting first with Ben Stokes top scoring with 89. Stokes also took two wickets and a blinder of a catch on the ropes to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo. England had made 311/8 and in response, South Africa were all out for 207.
VS PAKISTAN (JUNE 3)
Result: Pakistan won by 14 runs
What was expected to a stroll in the park ended up being a sensational defeat? Pakistan batted first and got strong partnerships from their top five. They set up a total of 349. England got centuries from Joe Root and Jos Buttler but the rest hardly scored as they were eventually restricted to 334/9.
VS BANGLADESH (JUNE 8)
Result: England won by 106 runs
Jason Roy smashed 153 off 121 balls to help England reach 386/6 in their 50 overs. It did look like they would make well over 400 when Roy was going big guns in the middle overs. Shakib Al Hasan scored 121 but Bangladesh managed to reach only 280, thus sealing the win for England.
VS WEST INDIES (JUNE 14)
Result: England won by 8 wickets
What was expected to be a run-fest turned out to be a bit of a farce? Joffra Archer and Mark Wood took three wickets apiece as West Indies were blown away for 213. However, Roy was injured while fielding which affected England later on. Joe Root opened with Jonny Bairstow and scored an unbeaten hundred as England wrapped up the chase in 33 overs.
VS AFGHANISTAN (JUNE 25)
Result: England won by 150 runs
Captain Eoin Morgan smashed a record 17 sixes as he raced to 148 off just 71 balls. Rashid Khan ended with 110/0 in 9 overs, the most expensive figures for a bowler in ODI history. The chase was a farcical one that ended with Afghanistan labouring to 247/8 in 50 overs.
VS SRI LANKA (JUNE 21)
Result: Sri Lanka won by 20 runs
This match sparked life into the group stages and is one of the main reasons why it didn’t end with a series of dead rubbers. Sri Lanka batted first and Angelo Mathews’ 85 helped them reach 232/9. The mighty England batsmen were bamboozled by Lasith Malinga, who first got the wickets of Bairstow, James Vince and Morgan before snaffling Buttler later in the chase. Sri Lanka managed to defend the total quite comfortably in the end, dismissing England for 212. Suddenly the hosts’ chances of making the knockouts were in jeopardy.
VS AUSTRALIA (JUNE 25)
Result: Australia won by 64 runs
Jason Roy was not available for the second match in succession and England’s need for an opener of his calibre was seen once again. Australia, on the other hand, got a strong opening partnership with David Warner and skipper Aaron Finch putting up 123 runs. Finch went on to score 100 as Australia scored 285/7. Jason Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc then blew away the England top order within the first 14 overs. England were kept in the game by the tenacious Ben Stokes and it took a yorker that is a good contender for ball of the tournament from Starc to dismiss him. Starc took four wickets while Behrendorff scalped five.
VS INDIA (JUNE 30)
Result: England won by 31 runs
Jason Roy returned and England went back to winning ways. Roy and Bairstow put up an opening stand of 160 runs as the latter scored 111. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler then pummelled the Indian bowlers towards the end of the innings as England posted 337/7. England then saw out a century by Rohit Sharma and restricted India to 306/5.
VS NEW ZEALAND (JULY 3)
Result: England won by 119 runs
Another sublime performance from the openers set the platform for England to beat their eventual title clash opponents by a comprehensive margin. England’s top two contributed 194 runs while Morgan’s cameo helped push the total to 305/8. England’s five-pronged pace attack, with able assistance from Adil Rashid, then blew New Zealand out of the park as the Kiwis were all out for 186.
SEMIFINAL VS AUSTRALIA (JULY 11)
Result: England won by 8 wickets
England’s rematch against Australia was in the semifinal and it couldn’t be more different from their previous encounter than it was in this case. Australia batted first and Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid and Joffra Archer ensured that they were all out for 223. Roy played a blinder of an innings at the top of the order and would have made a century had it not been for an erroneous caught behind decision that went against him. His 124-run opening stand with Bairstow effectively killed the match as England reached the World Cup final for the first since 1992 by chasing down the target in 32.1 overs.