England has finally been put out of its misery, suffering a 33-run loss to Australia in Ahmedabad to officially end any chance of qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals.
Chasing a 287-run target for victory, Jos Buttler’s men were rolled for 253 on Sunday, with Australia securing its fifth consecutive victory in the tournament.
Adam Zampa put together an all-round masterclass at the Narendra Modi Stadium, blasting 29 (19) in a late cameo with the bat before taking three crucial wickets during the run chase.
Australia will next face Afghanistan at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday evening, with the first ball scheduled for 7.30pm AEDT.
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‘COME ON MARN’: LABUSCHAGNE’S DRS REDEMPTION
He finally got one right.
Marnus Labuschagne has become renowned as being Australia’s ‘boy who cried wolf’ in the field, repeatedly pleading for reviews on non-existent outside edges.
The Queenslander’s enthusiasm in the field is well documented, but his DRS antics have cost Australia countless reviews since his international debut five years ago.
However, Labuschagne well and truly redeemed himself at Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday evening.
In the fifth over of England’s run chase, Joe Root wafted at a wide delivery from Mitchell Starc that sailed through towards wicketkeeper Josh Inglis. The Australian slips cordon wasn’t interested, but Labuschagne, who had been fielding on the inner ring, bellowed a high-pitched appeal for caught behind. Starc was uncertain, pointing at his ear to indicate he didn’t hear a noise.
“There was a huge noise,” Labuschagne told his teammates.
“I don’t know what you guys saw, but everything was good.
“I heard a massive noise.”
The Australians only had one unsuccessful review remaining, having wasted the other in the first over of the run chase. With seconds ticking away on the DRS clock, captain Pat Cummins double-checked with Labuschagne before turning to umpire Marais Erasmus and signaling for a review.
“Boys, I really hope I’m right here,” Labuschagne said as third umpire Adrian Holdstock consulted the footage.
“Come on, Marn.”
The Australians erupted with roars of delight when a spike appeared on Snicko. Some players mobbed Starc in celebration, but most of them converged on Labuschagne, who was absolutely ecstatic.
There were hugs and high-fives as Root trudged off for 13, with England in early trouble at 2-19.
The scorecard will credit Starc for the dismissal, but Labuschagne will forever claim his big ears were responsible for the breakthrough.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing if I play a role in the DRS … usually if I’m bowling I always think it’s out, and if I’m batting I never think it’s out,” Labuschagne told reporters a couple of years ago.
“The only thing I’m good for is the noises – the ears are quite big, so I pick up some faint noises, but that’s about the only benefit I was able to give Painey usually.”
‘NO NEED’: PUNTER SLAMS WASTEFUL AUSSIES
It’s fair Australia’s middle order won’t be happy with their dismissals in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
With the exception of Marnus Labuschagne, every member of the team’s middle order needlessly threw their wicket away, exposing the team’s tailenders at the death.
The first guilty party was Steve Smith, who scratched his way towards 44 before slicing a wide delivery from leg-spinner Adil Rashid towards short third man, where Moeen Ali held onto a low chance.
In Rashid’s following over, wicketkeeper Josh Inglis attempted an audacious reverse sweep that picked out Ali in the same position, gone for 3.
“As far as I’m concerned, no need to play that shot,” former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said in commentary.
Cameron Green, fighting to keep his spot in the ODI side, seemed destined for a half-century before trying to paddle left-armed quick David Willey through fine leg, losing his leg stump. It now seems inevitable that the 24-year-old will make way for Glenn Maxwell when the Victorian returns for next week’s crucial match against Afghanistan.
“Not sure he needed to play that shot,” Ponting continued.
Last but not least was Marcus Stoinis. The right-hander, Australia’s last recognized batter, cruised towards 35 before holing out to deep mid-wicket in the 44th over, falling victim to part-time spinner Liam Livingstone.
Smith, Green and Stoinis each departed within 15 runs of their half-century. If even one of them had survived through to the end of the innings, Australia would have comfortably surpassed 300.
“It’s been a bit of a negative one, the Australian batting so far in this innings,” Ponting lamented.
“There’s too many guys that have gotten starts and not gone on and made the big score that you need to make.
“You think right back through this World Cup, there’s been a lot of players that are making big scores, big hundreds.”
‘NIGHTMARES’: STOKES ALMOST DOES IT AGAIN
Australia must be sick of the sight of Ben Stokes.
The England all-rounder, who came out of ODI retirement ahead of the World Cup, has repeatedly foiled the Australians since his unforgettable Headingley heroics in 2019.
During the recent Ashes campaign in the United Kingdom, Stokes blasted a fourth-innings century at Lord’s and provided crucial runs in Leeds, reigniting England’s campaign after a slow start.
And Australia’s nemesis continued to frustrate Pat Cummins and his teammates in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
England was in a spot of bother at 2-19 when Stokes walked to the middle in the fifth over, but the left-hander combined with opener Dawid Malan for a patient 84-run partnership to prevent another collapse, slowly chipping away at the deficit .
The loss of Malan and captain Jos Buttler did not deter Buttler, who once again steadied the ship by partnering Moeen Ali for a 63-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Stokes, who only mustered one boundary from his first 50 deliveries at the crease, began to pick up the pace as he approached his half-century. After dispatching Mitchell Starc over square leg for a booming six, he pumped part-time spinner Travis Head down the ground for another maximum.
Suddenly, the match looked to be back in the balance, or at least close to it. Surely Stokes couldn’t do it again, right?
“Australian fans have seen this Ben Stokes story numerous times,” commentator Mark Howard said.
Former England captain Michael Atherton responded: “Some of the body language in the last five minutes from Australia, senses that a few of those memories, or nightmares, are coming back.”
Unfortunately for England, Stokes couldn’t be their hero on Saturday. The left-hander fell victim to Adam Zampa in the 36th over — ironically to the leg-spinner’s worst delivery of the match.
Stokes somehow managed to paddle a half-tracker directly towards Marcus Stoinis at short fine leg, who held onto a low chance. Moments after playing the shot, Stokes yelled out, “No!” before collapsing to his knees in disbelief, dropping his bat in the process.
He trudged off a dejected figure, knowing his lapse in concentration had robbed his team of the chance to push for an unlikely victory.
‘VERY SURPRISED’: GREEN’S BIZARRE SNUB
Why didn’t Cameron Green get a bowl on Saturday?
The West Australian, who was spotted rolling the arm over during the warm-ups, did not bowl a single delivery during England’s run chase in Ahmedabad, with Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head combining as the team’s fifth bowler at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
Green’s snub didn’t go unnoticed, with commentators questioning why the 198cm seamer hadn’t been thrown the ball after Stoinis leaked 24 runs in his opening three-over spell.
“I’ve been very surprised that Cameron Green hasn’t bowled,” former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson said in a commentary.
“I know who I’d prefer to face — Stoinis can bowl nicely, but Green’s pace and bounce is just awkward.”
Green’s white-ball bowling has undeniably dipped in quality this year — before 2023, he averaged 29.27 with the ball in ODIs. However, in the calendar year thus far, the right-armer has taken five wickets at 66.80 with an economy rate of 6.59.
The 24-year-old didn’t bowl in his previous ODI either, Australia’s record-breaking victory over the Netherlands in Delhi.
“We haven’t seen Cameron Green,” former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said in commentary.
“We know what he can deliver.
“He’s actually quite a good death bowler as well. He played a fair bit of IPL cricket last year with the Mumbai Indians. He was used in that role on a couple of occasions, and has done it for Australia in the past.”
SMITH OFFICIALLY RASHID’S ODI BUNNY
It’s official — Steve Smith is Adil Rashid’s ODI bunny.
On Saturday afternoon, Smith crawled towards 44 before losing his patience in the 22nd over, attempting to cut a wide delivery from Rashid through point. The thick outside edge flew towards Moeen Ali at short third man, who held onto a low catch.
The England leg-spinner has now dismissed Smith seven times in the 50-over format, more often than any other bowler. In ODIs, the New South Welshman averages 18.71 against Rashid with a strike rate of 78.0.
“Steve Smith is an excellent player of spin,” former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson said in a commentary.
“But he’s obviously not an excellent player of Adil Rashid.”
Most times dismissing Steve Smith in ODIs
7 — Adil Rashid (ENG)
5 — Hardik Pandya (IND)
4 — Mohammed Shami (IND)
3 — Moeen Ali (ENG), Trent Boult (NZ), Stuart Broad (ENG), Mark Wood (ENG), Umesh Yadav (IND)
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Smith has averaged 28.50 in ODIs this year, registering just one fifty in the World Cup so far — and that came against the Netherlands.
The 34-year-old is at risk of losing his spot in the side when all-rounders Mitchell Mitchell and Glenn Maxwell return next week. At full strength, it’s unlikely that there would be room for Smith and Marnus Labuschagne in the same starting XI, unless national selectors were willing to drop Marcus Stoinis, which would give captain Pat Cummins one less bowling option in the field.
Reputation can only keep Smith immune from being dropped for so long.
Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc has seemingly unearthed a bunny of his own — England opener Jonny Bairstow.
The Yorkshireman departed for a golden duck on Saturday after tickling a loosener from Starc down the leg side through to Australian wicketkeeper Josh Inglis.
It was the fifth time Starc had dismissed Bairstow in ODIs, becoming the first bowler to achieve the feat.