ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: From being on the verge of the exit to morale boosting wins, England's road to the final

England were staring at an unceremonious exit from the Cricket World Cup before turning things around and doing so in smashing fashion to beat India, New Zealand and Australia.

Sandipan Banerjee, Jul 14, 2019 12:33:46 IST

After a wait of 27 years, England are finally in touching distance of a maiden Cricket World Cup crown. Following a roller-coaster campaign, history will be rewritten at the Lord's on Sunday (July 14), if the hosts can go past New Zealand in the grand finale.

Courtesy the renaissance in English white-ball cricket in recent years, the Eoin Morgan-led side came into this tournament as strong contenders. With their power-packed batting and a versatile bowling attack, England were supposed to dominate in this 'home' World Cup. However, following the comfortable victory in the tournament opener against South Africa, their ship went through some rough water. But they recovered just in time and averted a shocking "Brexit" from the World Cup.

And now, here they are, just one good performance away from the ultimate glory.

We rewind England's journey to the final of the 12th edition of ICC's pinnacle event.

Outclassing South Africa by 104 runs

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: From being on the verge of the exit to morale boosting wins, Englands road to the final

Eoin Morgan scored 57 runs from 60 balls against South Africa. Reuters

On a bright and sunny summer's day at The Oval, South Africa skipper Faf Du Plessis won the toss and surprisingly decided to put England in. They started proceedings with the leg-spin of Imran Tahir and England lost the wicket of Jonny Bairstow in the very first over. Nevertheless, the hosts recovered from the early setback and put up a competitive 311/8, courtesy of half centuries by Jason Roy, Joe Root, Morgan and Ben Stokes.

In the second half, it was the turn of Jofra Archer and company to showcase their skills. The English bowlers, especially seamers, took wickets at regular intervals and never allowed South Africa to build any sort of momentum in their run-chase. Barring Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen, no other South Africa batsman put up any sort of significant resistance as England registered a comfortable 104-run victory to start of their campaign.

Meanwhile, the highlight of the match was the incredible catch Stokes took at the boundary line to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo off Moeen Ali's bowling.

A shocking defeat to Pakistan by 14 runs

This game was considered as the first upset of the tournament. England came into the World Cup having whitewashed Pakistan in a bilateral ODI series. But come the World Cup, England choked. First, a scratchy bowling effort and sloppy fielding allowed Pakistan to post a mammoth 348/8 while batting first in this fixture in Nottingham. Later in their run-chase, the centuries of Root and Jos Buttler helped the hosts to hang in there till the very last moment of the game, but in the end it was the death bowling of Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz, which saw Pakistan through in this contest.

Bouncing back against Bangladesh with a 106-run victory

In this game in Cardiff, Roy just unleashed himself against an ordinary Bangladesh attack. His 153 along with the half centuries of Bairstow and Buttler helped England to bat the opponent out of the contest by scoring a massive 386. And in their run-chase, despite the heroics of Shakib Al Hasan (121 off 119 balls), Bangladesh fell short by 106 runs as England bounced back comprehensively following the Pakistan setback.

Thrashing West Indies by 8 wickets

Yet another one-sided contest this was for England. In Southampton, batting first West Indies crumbled against the English seamers as they could only managed to get 212 on the board. Meanwhile, in this match Roy suffered a hamstring injury while fielding and was eventually ruled out for couple of weeks. Root took over the opening spot and scored yet another hundred whereas Chris Woakes was sent at No 3. He got a handy 40 as the hosts crossed the winning line in just 33.1 overs and with eight wickets to spare.

A massive 150-run triumph against Afghanistan

This fixture at the Old Trafford in Manchester saw England skipper Morgan hit record 17 sixes during his sensational 148 off 71 deliveries. Batting first, the hosts scored 397 for 6 and then restricted Afghanistan for 251 for 8 in their allotted 50 overs.

Defeat against Sri Lanka by 20 runs

Lasith Malinga ran through the England batting lineup. AP

Lasith Malinga ran through the England batting lineup. AP

Against a struggling Sri Lankan team, this defeat was completely unexpected. On a tricky pitch at Leeds, England couldn't chase down 233. Only Stokes played a lone hand of 82. It was the masterclass of death bowling by veteran Lasith Malinga, against which the English batting surrendered as the hosts were bowled out of 212.

Getting outperformed against Australia by 64 runs

England were once again outperformed, this time by the arch-rivals Australia at the Lord's. On a cloudy day, batting first, the Aussies made a competitive 285 for 7. And while chasing, the home team were pegged back early by the opening spells of Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff. They were 53 for 4 within the first 14 overs and from there the hosts couldn't recover. The Starc-Behrendorff pair took nine wickets in that innings as England fell short by 64 runs despite a fighting knock of Stokes, who scored 89.

Victory over India by 31 runs

Following back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia, this was almost a do-or-die contest for England. Coming into this fixture at Edgbaston, India were unbeaten in the competition and the hosts were required to go past them to stay in a realistic contention for a slot in the semi-final. Having been severely criticised by the former cricketers and media, England finally managed to break the shackles. Roy came back in the playing XI after his injury and he, alongside Bairstow, took Indian bowling apart.

Thanks to an all-round batting effort, which included a century from Bairstow and handy contributions from Roy and Stokes, England scored 337 for 7 on a slowish wicket and then defended it by 31 runs, despite a Rohit Sharma ton.

Win against New Zealand by 119 runs

After beating India, the confidence was back in the English side and it was evident in this contest when Morgan's boys registered a relatively one-sided victory over New Zealand at Durham. Bairstow recorded consecutive tons as England scored 305 for 8. In reply, the Kiwis hardly put up any fight and were bowled out for 186. With this victory, England secured their spot in the last-four stage.

Beating Australia by 8 wickets in the semi-final

The Eoin Morgan-led side one match away from achieving what no England team could in the past. AP

The Eoin Morgan-led side are one match away from achieving what no England team could in the past. AP

England's fate in the semi-final at Edgbaston was sealed by their opening bowlers, who got rid of top three Australian batsmen for almost nothing. From there, though, Steve Smith and wicket-keeper Alex Carey put some resistance, which helped them to get 223. But while chasing, led by the onslaught of the Roy-Bairstow pair, the home team made a mockery of the total. They won the contest by eight wickets and 17.5 overs to spare as Australia's unbeaten record in World Cup semi-finals was finally broken.

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Updated Date: Jul 14, 2019 12:33:46 IST

World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254