Posted 8 months ago

Cricket ICC Men's World Cup 2023

England needs to pull up their shocks to win against South Africa on Saturday night - Jos Buttler.

England needs to pull up their shocks to win against South Africa on Saturday night - Jos Buttler.
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England’s defence of the Cricket World Cup is in serious jeopardy after they were thrashed by Afghanistan on Sunday.

Jos Buttler’s men were defeated by 69 runs in Delhi in one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history. 

It was Afghanistan’s second-ever win at a World Cup – the other coming against Scotland in 2015 in their first appearance.

Afghanistan were dismissed for 284 with one ball remaining in their innings, before bowling England out for 215. Only Harry Brook offered serious resistance with a 61-ball 66.

It means England have now lost two of their opening games, and face an uphill battle to finish among the top four teams in the group stage and reach the semi-finals.

They flew south-west on Monday afternoon and will have two days off in Mumbai before tuning up for Saturday's fixture at the Wankhede Stadium. 

South Africa, their opponents, will have a shorter lead-in and will not arrive in the city until Wednesday, following their fixture against the Netherlands in Dharamsala.

Defeats to New Zealand and Afghanistan mean that England probably needs to win five of their remaining six league fixtures to qualify for the semi-finals. 

They are currently fifth in the standings behind India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan, and while they can still qualify, they cannot afford many more slip-ups, and a defeat to South Africa on Saturday would put them in a dire spot.

Buttler called the Afghanistan result was a “big setback”.

“Before the tournament started we had a different idea of how the first three games would pan out,” the England captain said. 

“We’ve got to show a lot of character, a lot of resilience within the team, and most of all a lot of belief.

“There are a lot of excellent players in there and we haven’t played well enough, but we must keep that belief.”

South Africa will be a tough test – they racked up a whopping 428-5 in their first outing against Sri Lanka, with Quinton de Kock, Rassie van der Dussen, and Aiden Markram all hitting centuries.

They then dismantled Australia, hitting 311-7 before bowling them out for just 177 in 40.1 overs.

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