Misfiring captain Jos Buttler questioned his own form as he admitted England had “let people down” with their dire World Cup defence.
The 2019 champions slumped to a sixth defeat in seven matches to finally end their dim and distant hopes of reaching the knockout stages, allowing rivals Australia to apply the killer blow in Ahmedabad.
Having already lost to New Zealand, Afghanistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India it was hardly a surprise to see England beaten by 33 runs. However, the continued downward spiral of a once-feared batting line-up continues to bemuse.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) November 4, 2023
Here they were rounded up for 253 and have now lost 67 of a possible 69 wickets in the competition. While their bowling attack has raised its game in the past two games, the runs have dried up in alarming fashion, rendering England unable to compete.
And a forlorn Buttler, who appears to be finding his post-match appearances increasingly wearing, put his own poor returns front and centre on the list of problems.
He is widely considered one of the country’s best ever white-ball players but his tame dismissal for just one against Australia means he has now scored just 106 runs at an average of 15.14 at the World Cup.
“It’s a low point, it hurts a lot,” he said.
“We feel like we’ve let people down and you wear that on your own shoulders. You want to lead from the front as a captain.
“My own form has really hurt us. Obviously, I’ve had a pivotal position in the batting line-up, so to play as poorly as I have done has had a big effect on the team.
“Coming into the tournament I felt in fantastic form, as good as I’ve been in. So, to be sat here having had the tournament I’ve had is incredibly frustrating – but it doesn’t shake your belief.
“I’ve got to make sure I’m the last one that stops believing in myself. You guys (the media) will give up on me a lot earlier than I’ll give up on myself.”
England have two games left before they can finally put the campaign behind them, against the Netherlands and Pakistan, and know even back-to-back wins may not be enough to see them qualify for the next major 50-over tournament.
They need to finish in the top eight to seal a place at the Champions Trophy in 2025 and are currently an outside bet to do so.
So, while they would be forgiven for pining for the exit lounge, the stakes are too high.
“Exactly that,” Buttler added. “You know, the Champions Trophy is a tournament we want to be involved in and if we’re going to be involved in it, we need to win some games of cricket.
“We threatened today but it’s still not good enough.”
Australia’s Mitchell Starc took a jab at England in an interview with host broadcaster Star Sports, resurrecting a familiar theme from this summer’s Ashes series.
Nodding to the notion that England had edged the 2-2 drawn series thanks to their domination of the rain-ruined Old Trafford Test, he said: “We expected England to come out a bit more aggressive, but they can take the ‘moral victory’ from this.”