England facing Bangladesh sudden-death to advance at Cricket World Cup
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP):
After their third loss to a top-tier team at the Cricket World Cup, England now face the uncomfortable prospect of a sudden-death match against Bangladesh in which the winner will likely progress to the quarter-finals.
England's poor run continued in Wellington yesterday when they were easily beaten by Sri Lanka, which cruised past their total of 309 with nine wickets to spare, thanks to unbeaten centuries by Kumar Sangakkara (117) and Lahiru Thirimanne (139).
That followed England's opening 111-run loss to Australia and a trouncing by New Zealand, when they managed to score just 123 runs and the Black Caps blasted their way to victory in 12.2 overs.
England put up a better performance against Sri Lanka, built on Joe Root's 121. But they were barely a par score on a flat wicket and their bowling never threatened.
England have managed to secure just two points from four matches in the World Cup, their sole victory against lowly Scotland. Bangladesh are currently ahead on the points table, after a win against Afghanistan and what was probably a lucky break when their match against Australia at Brisbane was rained out.
The way that Pool A is shaping up, it appears New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka will progress to the quarter-finals, with the remaining spot being decided when England meet Bangladesh in their next game on March 9 in Adelaide.
England, which would also need to beat Afghanistan in their final game to progress, lost against Bangladesh in the previous World Cup in India. In all, the teams have met 15 times, with England winning 13 games and Bangladesh two.
England captain Eoin Morgan said he's not contemplating the possibility of getting eliminated before the knockout stages.
"It's not even a thought at the moment," he said. "Two games to win to get us into a quarter-final."
But he did say the losses were troubling.
"Losing any game is always a concern," he said. "Over the next few days we'll ... have a sit down with the backroom staff and debrief the game and see where we've gone wrong and how we can get better."
Morgan said he thought its batting performance against Sri Lanka was competitive, making the loss tougher to take. But he said their fielding and bowling needs to improve after they dropped several catches and allowed Sri Lanka easy runs with bad balls almost every over.