Home Sports England collapse to thumping defeat against Australia in Barbados to leave their T20 World Cup defence in the balance

England collapse to thumping defeat against Australia in Barbados to leave their T20 World Cup defence in the balance

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England faces the scenario of not qualifying for the Super Eight after losing to Australia

Two matches into their World Cup defence, England face the nightmare scenario of failing to qualify for the Super Eight after a dismal 36-run defeat to Australia at Kensington Oval.

If Tuesday’s rain against Scotland could not be avoided, their performance here oscillated between the beheaded, the hapless and the desperate. That leaves them needing to beat Oman and Namibia in Antigua, and pray that the Scots’ net run rate doesn’t surpass theirs. Honestly, you couldn’t make up for it.

Rob Key, the ECB’s director general of men’s cricket, returns home on Sunday but could find himself rushing back to the Caribbean if England pull out before what was supposed to be the start of the serious stuff.

If that were to happen, it is inconceivable that head coach Matthew Mott would remain in his position. Jos Buttler will also struggle to stay in office after a display that mocked the small fortune England has spent on his vast secret entourage.

Much has been made of the temporary signing of Kieron Pollard, the former Barbados West Indies captain whose local knowledge has become the latest support Mott and Buttler rely on.

England faces the scenario of not qualifying for the Super Eight after losing to Australia

Captain Jos Buttler will struggle to stay in charge after such a poor performance in Barbadon.

Captain Jos Buttler will struggle to stay in charge after such a poor performance in Barbadon.

You didn’t have to be born in Bridgetown to know which way the wind blew; However, England repeatedly invited Australia’s big hitters to take advantage of the smaller boundary. The result was 13 sixes, 10 of them assisted by wind, in a total of 201 for seven, the highest number in the World Cup.

Despite an opening stand of 73 in seven overs between Buttler and Phil Salt, who fell to Adam Zampa’s off-spin, Australia bowled with much more guile and skill to limit England’s six-count to eight, of which three were beaten in an over by Moeen Ali off Glenn Maxwell.

Will Jacks never got going, and the second half of England’s innings was painful. Jonny Bairstow, slow on the field, managed seven off 13 balls, and Ben Duckett should come into contention for Thursday’s match against Oman, especially as England have few left-handers.

The competitive tension had disappeared from the occasion long before Moeen cut Pat Cummins to cover. Australia could hardly have celebrated victory over the old enemy with so little enthusiasm.

“We were outmatched,” Buttler said. ‘They fully deserved their victory today. There are some things we need to put in order. We have to be confident, keep our heads up and stick our chests out.” And the rest.

Jos Buttler and Phil Salt fell due to Adam Zampa's leg-spin and Australia bowled much more astutely.

Jos Buttler and Phil Salt fell due to Adam Zampa’s leg-spin and Australia bowled much more astutely.

Jonny Bairstow (right), slow on the field, managed seven off 13 balls.

Jonny Bairstow (right), slow on the field, managed seven off 13 balls.

England had made a deceptively tidy start with the ball after Buttler won the toss, while Moeen, rotating his breaks on left-handers Travis Head and David Warner, conceded just three in the first over.

But, not for the first time, the team’s think tank outdid itself. Instead of hitting Australia with spin at one end and blistering pace at the other, Buttler bowled the ball to Jacks, who had bowled just two overs in 14 previous T20 internationals.

Worse still, their crazy breaks begged to be buffeted by the wind towards the shortest of the square’s boundaries. Head duly clipped his first two balls for six, Warner added another and the over cost 22. It may be the last Jacks in the entire tournament and it changed the momentum of the game in an instant.

And if any of the players were going to bowl at the tougher end, it surely had to be the much more experienced Moeen. Buttler described the decision to play the Jacks as a “gut feeling”.

Jofra Archer restored some calm with an over-costed eight, before Warner, in possibly his last appearance for England before international retirement, helped Mark Wood score the first two balls to and over the Greenidge & Haynes stand.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh celebrate after taking the wicket of England's Moeen Ali

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh celebrate after taking the wicket of England’s Moeen Ali

Will Jacks never got going, and the second half of England's innings was painful.

Will Jacks never got going, and the second half of England’s innings was painful.

The Bajan dialect may go unnoticed to foreign ears, but England’s body language needed no interpretation: hands on hips, heads bowed, they looked like anything but defending champions.

When Moeen bowled Warner for a 16-ball 39, Australia were on a dazzling 70 in five overs. Everything was more like Death in Paradise.

The surface already looked like it might reward cutters and slower balls, calling into question the continued omission of Reece Topley. And as an excited Archer read the room, he picked up pace to bowl Head for 34 for 18 and took his first wicket on home soil, England briefly stemming the flow.

But Buttler’s team was never free from the feeling that they were playing catch-up to their own expectations. Apart from Archer and the underused Liam Livingstone, who stumped Mitchell Marsh in Buttler’s second attempt for 35, the attack looked clearly achievable.

Two wickets for Chris Jordan made him the second bowler, behind Adil Rashid, to accumulate 100 in T20 internationals, and applauded a decent crowd as the home side defended England, influenced, no doubt, by Jordan’s presence , born in Barbados. and Archer.

Two wickets for Chris Jordan made him the second player to collect 100 in T20 internationals

Two wickets for Chris Jordan made him the second player to collect 100 in T20 internationals

However, England had never chased over 158 to beat Australia, and remain a team low on confidence and high on nerves after the fiasco of their defense of the 50-over title in India.

They may still make it out of the group stage and embark on an improbable path to glory. But they will have to turn things around quickly and hope that Scotland, who play Oman on Sunday, are within their reach. If there has been a more desperate plan to win a World Cup, it was hard to think of one last night in Bridgetown.

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