In a thrilling encounter at Ahmedabad, Australia advanced to the ICC World Cup semi-finals, while England faced a crushing defeat, leaving their title defense in shambles. Chasing a target of 287, England succumbed for 253 in 48.1 overs, marking their sixth loss in seven matches and keeping them rooted at the bottom of the 10-team table.
Australia, boasting five World Cup titles, inched closer to securing a spot in the semi-finals, joining India and South Africa, both of whom had already sealed their berths with assured performances.
Adam Zampa emerged as the star of the day, making significant contributions with both bat and ball. The leg-spinner picked up three crucial wickets, finishing with figures of 3-21. Despite some promising partnerships, including a 63-run fifth-wicket stand between Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, England’s pursuit was derailed by Zampa’s relentless leg-spin.
“We set a highly competitive total, but defending it was always going to be challenging,” remarked Zampa. “The ground’s dewiness made length control and stumps targeting crucial as we tried to anticipate the batsman’s moves.”
Zampa not only excelled with the ball but also played a pivotal role with the bat, contributing 29 runs. His catch in the outfield to dismiss David Willey added to his all-around performance. Stokes, one of England’s key players, was sent packing when he misjudged a paddle and was caught at short fine-leg, leaving with visible disappointment.
England’s woes continued as they lost quick wickets, with Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali departing in succession. This trend has been emblematic of England’s struggles in this tournament, which has seen them fall to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.
England’s skipper, Jos Buttler, expressed the profound disappointment, saying, “It certainly feels like a low point. I’ve had a few but definitely as a captain. To be in this position, arriving in India with high hopes, is incredibly tough and disappointing. It hurts a lot.”
Australia’s victory was set up by their batsmen, with Marnus Labuschagne leading the way with an impressive 71. Contributions from Steve Smith (44), Cameron Green (47), Marcus Stoinis (35), and Zampa (29 off 19 balls) propelled Australia to a total of 286.
Chris Woakes was England’s standout bowler, claiming four wickets for 54 runs. He found support from fast bowler Mark Wood and leg-spinner Adil Rashid, both contributing with two wickets each.
England’s chase was marred by early dismissals, as Mitchell Starc accounted for openers Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. Dawid Malan managed to put up a fight, scoring 50, but Pat Cummins eventually got the better of him.
With this defeat, England’s focus shifts to the 2025 Champions Trophy, as the top seven teams from this World Cup secure entry into the tournament. Their hopes of retaining the World Cup title have significantly dimmed.
Australia’s path to the semi-finals seems assured, showcasing their mettle in this World Cup with five consecutive victories.