England joined the party after all was done and dusted, finding plenty of reasons to smile as they humiliated a demotivated Pakistan by 93 runs in their final World Cup match in Kolkata on Saturday. By virtue of winning their last two matches, England finished seventh in the 10-team table and qualified for the Champions Trophy scheduled for Pakistan in 2025. Pakistan’s unlikely hopes of semi-final qualification were destroyed the moment England struck first and scored 337 for nine in 50 overs.
In reply, Pakistan managed just 244 runs in 43.3 overs as their batsmen were unable to either pick Adil Rashid’s (2/55 in 10 overs) googlies or stop David Willey’s (3/56 in 10 overs) sharp swinging deliveries .
There was no chance in hell for Pakistan to make the cut because even if their batters had hit 40 consecutive sixes in 6.4 overs, they would not have surpassed England’s total and toppled New Zealand on net run rate.
The academic interest was whether Pakistan’s batting was able to withstand the pressure of the scoreboard and once again Babar Azam’s men batted in archaic fashion as if the 50-over showpiece was held in 1992 and not in 2023.
Once again, Babar (38 off 45 balls) and Mohammed Rizwan (36 off 51 balls), the two pillars of Pakistan batting, struggled to get going and let the game slip below their 51-run stand in 11.2 overs.
Batting second at Eden Gardens has been difficult as the ball swung around and also with a lot of balls grabbing from the surface, there was turn on offer. The two seniors did not have the game to put the opposition under pressure and that has been Pakistan’s story throughout the tournament.
In each 10-over spell, Pakistan scored 43 (1-10), 46 (11-20) and 54 (21-30), which was never going to be okay in a chase of nearly 340.
They have failed to show resolve, save a couple of games against Bangladesh and New Zealand (DLS win) where Fakhar Zaman fired after being picked late into the tournament.
On the day, purposeful batting by Salman Ali Agha (51 off 45 balls) or tailender Haris Rauf (35 off 23 balls) was a lesson to the backers for the top order.
Earlier, England’s star-studded batting line-up saved their best for last as half-centuries by Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow powered the 2019 champions to a commendable total.
Premier all-rounder Stokes, who missed their first three matches due to a hip injury, headlined their batting show in a 76-ball 84. Bairstow (59 off 61 balls) and Root (60 off 72 balls) also made fine contributions to strength. total amount.
After scoring 339/9 against Holland in their last match, this was England’s second consecutive 300-plus total.
However, England’s batsmen failed to shoot at the death as, from being 240/2 in 40 overs, they managed 97 runs in the last 10 overs, a period in which they also lost seven wickets.
Haris Rauf returned with 3/64 while Shaheen Shah Afridi picked up 2/72 and denied Stokes a well-deserved century by cleaning up the left-hander with a reverse-swinging delivery that tailed in.
Meanwhile, Rauf also became the first Asian bowler to earn the ignominy of giving away 500 runs in the tournament.
The 32-year-old Stokes, who came out of ODI retirement to take part in England’s title defence, smashed two sixes and 11 fours while playing full-blooded reverse sweeps and mighty pulls.
Since his return, he has made his mark with three back-to-back 50-plus scores, which also included a century as he bagged the WC with 304 runs at 50.66.
Premier batsman Root has been the weak link so far in the World Cup, but Stokes’ fury also rubbed off on him as he finished with a knock over fifty.
The duo consolidated after a quick start in a 132-run partnership that came from just 131 balls.
(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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