Sports

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Are England Out Of Semi-finals Race After Heavy Defeat Against Sri Lanka? Qualification Scenarios Explained

After slumping to an eight-wicket loss against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru, defending champions England are languishing in the ninth spot on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 points table. Even if they win all four remaining games, they might not qualify for the semi-finals

England captain Jos Buttler reacts after losing his wicket against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru.
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The nightmare refuses to end for defending champions England. On Thursday evening, the Jos Buttler-led team lost their fourth game (out of five played) in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, slumping to a crushing eight-wicket loss against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru. The setback has virtually dashed England's hopes of retaining the title. The English side are currently languishing in the ninth spot on the points table, with just two points to show from their solitary win against Bangladesh. (ENG Vs SL Highlights | Match Report | Full Coverage)

Three teams - Bangladesh, Netherlands and England - hold two points each currently, and England's net run rate of -1.634 is the second worst in the competition, and only marginally better than Netherlands's NRR of -1.902. England have four more games to go, and even if they win all four of them, they will only get to 10 points, which do not guarantee a semi-final berth.

In the current round-robin format of the ODI World Cup, each team plays nine games, and winning six games more or less assures a side of a place in the top four. England can only win a maximum of five games now, which means they are very likely to face an early exit. They still might make it through in case only three teams garner six or more wins, and there is a fight for the fourth spot. But for that they must win every remaining game. 

That, however, appears to be a tall order, especially considering that two of England's four remaining matches are against the unbeaten hosts India and the rejuvenated five-time champions Australia. Given England's dismal current form, it seems improbable for them to even make that happen. 

After the humbling loss to Sri Lanka, Buttler admitted that his side failed to deliver on the biggest stage and it came as a shock for everyone in the team. 
"We're a really good team. So, to be sitting here now with the three weeks that I've been is a shock. It's a shock to everyone," he said. 

Buttler did not shy away from the fact that England were vastly under par during the whole tournament, not just in terms of defeats but also because of their margins. "Incredibly disappointing and frustrating. We're not just losing, we're losing by a long way and playing a long way short of our best," the wicketkeeper-batter said.

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