England’s ODI tournament drought continues after they were easily defeated by Pakistan in the Champions Trophy semi-final in Cardiff.
Sent in to bat on a used wicket, England were dismissed for 211 by an electric Pakistani bowling outfit that have lit up the tournament.
Pakistan chased down the meagre total in just 37.1 overs with eight wickets in hand as the potential for a grudge-match final with India significantly increased.
For Yorkshire, Joe Root (46) and the returning Jonny Bairstow (43) top-scored while Adil Rashid (1-54 off 10) and Liam Plunkett (0-33 off 6) featured with the ball.
And while it was a welcome return for Bairstow – a player who has not so much been banging on the selector’s door as plundering it with a battering ram – personal exploits were put aside for a dejected England XI post-game.
This was a side with deserved favourite status, and one who has impressed in each game of a tournament void of outstanding sides.
But, as fans and foes will remind them, it doesn’t truly count until the knockout stage, and once again this hurdle has proved their undoing.
On the contrary, Pakistan were written off after being hammered by India in their opening group game.
Since then, they have bounced back with a tournament-leading fast bowling cartel. The fact that star quick Mohammad Amir was ruled out of the Cardiff clash has made that transition all the more impressive.
Earlier in the day Bairstow opened the batting and rode his luck (two drops and one unsuccessful review) before beginning to look dangerous.
After partner Alex Hales spooned one to cover for 13, Bairstow and Root then put on 46 before the former departed, caught in the deep. At this stage, England were 80-2.
Halfway through England’s innings at 128-2, the home side were slightly behind their usually high run-rate, but with eight wickets in hand still tracking for a competitive 270+.
Vital wickets, however, fell at a quick rate from this point as England could not manage a single partnership more than 20 runs.
Root was caught cutting too close to his body to be caught behind before the middle order of Morgan, Buttler and Ali fell to the brilliance of Hasan Ali and Junaid Khan.
The tail failed to wag and England knew they needed to strike early with the ball for a chance of victory.
As Pakistan sailed to 118-0 the game, however, was over.
Wickets to Adil Rashid and Jake Ball couldn’t paper over the considerable cracks in England’s performance.
This encounter was the first time England have played Pakistan in a knockout ODI match since they lost the 1992 World Cup Final at the MCG. Both sides walked off with similar feelings to that day.
Joe Root’s wicket is always a vital one, and so it proved again today. His wicket triggered a collapse of 8-83, as the home side seemed to struggle after he was back in the sheds.
Mood summed up.
England failed to hit a single six in their innings, after hitting 8 against Australia, 10 against New Zealand and 5 against Bangladesh.
Dear England , Today wasn't the right time to go back to playing like the Old England of my time !!!!! #ENGvPAK— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) June 14, 2017