England came up with a complete performance, their best in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023, defeating Pakistan by 93 runs and ending the 1992 World Cup champions’ slimmest hopes of making it to the semifinals, at the Eden Gardens here on Saturday.
With this match, Both teams exited the tournament at the group stage — the 2019 winner England on a winning note while Pakistan will now return home after failing to make it to the last-four stage.
After Jonny Bairstow (59), Joe Root (60) and Ben Stokes (84) struck half-centuries to help England post 337/9 after electing to bat first, pacer David Willey (3-56), Adil Rashid (2-55), Gus Atkinson (2-45) and Moeen Ali (2-60) bowled well to bundle out Pakistan for 244 in 43.3 overs to seal victory.
Pakistan began the proceedings knowing that they had the slimmest of chances of still reaching the semifinals, requiring a win by an enormous margin to force a gargantuan swing on net run rate. And the prospect of such a result soon vanished as England built towards a sizeable first-innings score.
Stokes, whose future in the One Day International format is uncertain, smashed 84 from 76 balls to help spark England in their final game of the tournament and guarantee them a place in the top eight.
And, with the ball, England were right on the money right from the start, with David Willey starring on his final day in an England shirt.
Willey finished with figures of 3/56, becoming the 14th England men’s player to reach 100 wickets in the ODI format, helping his team secure a guaranteed top-eight finish that cements the team’s qualification for the next Champions Trophy.
A brilliant spell of swing-bowling early in the second innings saw Pakistan lose both of their openers, with Willey taking both wickets with the new ball.
Abdullah Shafique was trapped in front, off just the second ball of the innings for a duck. And Fakhar Zaman departed two overs later, caught by Stokes for 1, leaving Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan requiring a rebuild.
The pair did see out the powerplay, but captain Babar’s tidy innings came to an unsatisfying end when he was caught at midwicket off Gus Atkinson for 38.
Any lingering hopes for Pakistan were effectively snuffed out when Moeen Ali saw Mohammad Rizwan coming down, pulled back his length, and turned the ball back through the gate to clean up Pakistan’s number four for 36.
On a turning wicket, it was Adil Rashid and Moeen who took advantage of the scoreboard pressure, with Rashid removing Saud Shaeel for 29, bowling him around his legs, and then cleaning up Shadab Khan (4) with a peach of a googly.
Some late hitting limited the margin of Pakistan’s loss, as Shaheen Shah Afridi (25) Mohammad Wasim (16*) and Haris Rauf (35 from 23) connected some big late shots. But it was too little too late for a Pakistan side who joined England in departing the tournament at the group stage.
Earlier, after overcoming an early hostile spell from Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, the England openers flourished in Kolkata. They were also assisted by some wayward bowling from Rauf, who conceded three wides in his first three overs, two of which went over the keeper’s head for a four.
Once in, both the batters racked up several boundaries and ensured that England were going close to seven at the end of the first Powerplay.
Things slowed down once Mohammad Wasim came into operation in tandem with the tweakers, with the batters failing to find boundaries. Dawid Malan eventually fell to Iftikhar Ahmed while trying to reverse sweep the bowler.
Not much later, England lost their second wicket when Jonny Bairstow tried to charge Haris Rauf through the covers, but found the fielder. The scoring rate was stifled over the next few overs as Pakistan regained control. They could’ve had a third in the 25th over as well, but Shaheen spilled a straight-forward chance offered by Ben Stokes off his own bowling.
This proved costly, as Stokes smashed four boundaries off the next 10 balls he faced against Shaheen.
And after this, Stokes looked like he was continuing his form from Pune, unleashing boundaries at will to lift the England scoring rate to 5.82 at the 35-over mark. Along with Root, he picked the scoring rate even further, adding 36 runs in overs 36-40.
After both Stokes and Root got out in quick succession, England’s innings was at risk of petering out, but Jos Buttler 27 (18), Harry Brook 30 (17), Moeen Ali 8 (6) and David Willey 15 (5), all smashed sixes in an excellent display of late hitting to fire England well beyond 300.
That final total could have been far more were it not for a superb mini-spell of death bowling from Haris Rauf, who removed Brook and Moeen and expertly ran out Buttler.
But 337/9 proved more than enough as England ended their stuttering campaign on a relative high.
England 337/9 in 50 overs (Jonny Bairstow 59, Joe Root 60, Ben Stokes 84; Haris Rauf 3-64, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-72, Mohammad Wasim 2-74) beat Pakistan 244 all out in 43.3 overs (Agha Salman 51, Babar Azam 38, Haris Rauf 35; David Willey 3-56, Adil Rashid 2-55, Gus Atkinson 2-45, Moeen Ali 2-60) by 93 runs.