England signed off a disappointing Cricket World Cup title defence on a high by securing a convincing 93-run victory over Pakistan in Kolkata.
Ben Stokes top-scored with 84 and Joe Root (60) and Jonny Bairstow (59) fired half-centuries as England, who elected to bat first after winning the toss, posted 337-9 from their 50 overs.
Pakistan made a nightmare start to their run chase when David Willey (3-56) – making his final ODI appearance – removed both openers inside the first three overs, while Gus Atkinson dismissed captain Babar Azam (38) before England’s spinners took control.
Adil Rashid (2-55) and Moeen Ali (2-60) helped reduce their opponents to 150-7, with a half-century from Salman Agha and late attacking cameos from the tail only delaying the outcome as Pakistan were dismissed for 244 in the 44th over.
Victory for England takes them to six points and guarantees them the top-eight finish required to qualify for the next edition of the Champions Trophy in 2025, while Pakistan’s defeat mathematically ended their slim hopes of reaching the World Cup semi-finals.
England sign off in style
England were fortunate to see Shaheen Afridi drop a tough caught and bowled opportunity from Dawid Malan when he was yet to score, with the openers initially struggling to adjust to a swinging new ball and a slow wicket.
Haris Rauf was erratic at the other end as England eventually surged to 72 without loss after 10 overs, their best powerplay of the tournament, with Malan reaching 31 before top-edging an attempted reverse sweep off Iftikhar Ahmed and producing a low catch from Mohammad Rizwan.
Bairstow made a half-century from 52 balls but fell for 59 when he smashed Rauf straight to Agha at cover, reducing England to 108-2, only for Stokes – fresh off his century against the Netherlands – and Root to put on a big third-wicket stand to put Jos Buttler’s side on top.
Stokes quickly accelerated after bringing up his latest 50 and produced an incredible switch-handed six either side of boundaries, although he appeared in discomfort late in his innings before being bowled by a brilliant Afridi yorker.
Afridi also removed Root (60) in the next over after he became the first English batter to reach 1,000 World Cup runs, while Buttler – up the order at number five – and Harry Brook continued the charge by adding a rapid 46 until Brook was caught at mid-off for 30.
Buttler survived two huge scares when a delivery rolled onto his stumps and Rauf stepped onto the boundary rope, with England’s captain on 27 when he was run out by a brilliant throw as he tried to reach the non-striker’s end.
Rauf bowled Moeen (eight) and Mohammad Wasim removed the retiring David Willey (15) in the final over, having been hit for boundaries the previous three deliveries, with Gus Atkinson out for a golden duck before Rashid survived the hat-trick ball to end the innings.
Abdullah Shafique was pinned lbw by Willey with the second ball of Pakistan’s reply and Fakhar Zaman picked out Stokes at mid-off to leave them 10-2, but Babar and Rizwan steadied the run chase with a 51-run third-wicket stand.
Babar (38) pulled a short delivery from Atkinson straight to Rashid and Rizwan was bowled by Moeen, while a stunning googly from Rashid saw Saud Shakeel bowled around his legs to leave Pakistan 129-5.
Iftikhar (three) was removed by Moeen after a fine catch from Malan and Rashid dismissed Shadab Khan (four), while Willey claimed his 100th ODI wicket when he removed Agha shortly after he had completed a 42-ball half-century.
Atkinson trapped Shaheen lbw to put England on the brink, with Rauf (35 from 23 balls) holing out to Stokes in the deep to end their innings after an impressive 53-run stand for the last wicket with Wasim (16 not out).
More to follow…
The group stage reaches its conclusion on Sunday, with tournament hosts and unbeaten India facing a Netherlands side who are currently bottom of the standings (8am on Sky Sports Cricket, 8.30am start).
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Sunday 12th November 8:00am
The semi-final line-up is now confirmed, with India playing fourth-placed New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday before Australia take on South Africa in Mumbai a day later. Build-up of those matches begins on Sky Sports Cricket from 8am on those days, with matches starting at 8.30am.
England, eliminated from the tournament, are next in action next month when they travel to the West Indies for a three-match ODI series (starting December 3) and a five-match T20 series (beginning December 12).
Watch every match from the Cricket World Cup live Sky Sports, including the final in Ahmedabad on Sunday November 19. Stream the tournament without a contract through NOW.