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T20 World Cup: England left with no room for error to defend title after Barbados defeat to Australia

England are in a precarious position at the T20 World Cup after their loss to Australia, a match in which they were beaten badly in the powerplay after failing to adjust with the ball; Jos Buttler’s winless side can still reach the Super 8s but know two wins might not be enough – Watch T20 World Cup live on Sky Sports

England are in a precarious position at the T20 World Cup after their rain-washed away match against Scotland in Barbados and defeat to Australia at the same venue. Here are the talking points about Saturday’s defeat in Bridgetown, including team selection, mistakes in the powerplay and how much of a fight the defending champions really are…

Wins over Oman and Namibia in their last two Group B fixtures in Antigua could be enough if they can win heavily, with every chance they go level on five points with Scotland and qualification dependent on net run-rate.

However, if Scotland win their remaining two matches, against Oman on Sunday and Australia a week later, and Australia beat Namibia in the meantime, England will be left stranded, unable to overtake either their Ashes rivals or their nearest neighbours.

Jos Buttler’s side crashed out of the group-stage in defending the 50-over World Cup in India last autumn and now they are struggling to avoid a similar fate in the 20-over jamboree. There is no room for error.

England’s T20 World Cup fixtures

  • vs Scotland (Barbados) – Tuesday 4 June – Match cancelled
    vs Australia (Barbados) – Saturday 8 June – Lost by 36 runs

 

England lost to Ireland at the last T20 World Cup in 2022 and then went on to win the event, so all hope is not lost. “Sometimes we’re better when our backs are against the wall, so it could be to our advantage,” allrounder Moeen Ali said. Fans will be hoping he’s right. Defending champions punished in powerplay Pinpoint exactly where England fell short in their match against Australia and you immediately focus on their opponents’ first five overs.

I saw them obsessed with outwit the opposition with pace and I think it was a pace-less pitch and they didn’t adapt quickly enough.” Hussain’s fellow pundit Michael Atherton is quite inexperienced and the sort of off-spinner who is quite volatile. It could have been beneficial against left-handers, but it was a high-risk strategy and it cost us 22 runs.” Moeen added: “We eventually adapted, but we fell a bit behind, it was about an over late, or a couple of balls late, and we were always giving away a boundary at the start and end of the over and that put us behind. I think there was a bit of a lack of discipline.” Should England have picked Topley? Both Atherton and Hussain said before the match against Australia that they would have picked left-arm pacer Reece Topley because he is capable of bowling cutters and swinging the new ball from a very high pitch. His record against left-handed batsmen is also excellent. You can’t help but think that England have made a mistake by leaving him out, as first his teammates were dismissed in the powerplay and then Australia’s fast bowlers Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood restricted England with fast bowling. Hussain added: “Topley is a better option for Barbados and these conditions than faster, skiddier bowlers like Wood. If I’m batting here I want pace on the ball, not off.

Australia show their class by clinching a triple

Australia, who come into the competition having lost six of their last seven completed T20Is against England, are two-thirds of the way to holding three ICC trophies simultaneously, after winning the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup titles in 2023.

The captain may be different at the T20 World Cup – Mitchell Marsh will take over the reins from Pat Cummins – but the ruthless efficiency remains in the tournament, with the aforementioned seamers doing their job after leg-spinner Adam Zampa broke the 73-run opening partnership between Buttler and Phil Salt.

Warner and Head, too, are attacking England with the bat Australia also quickly figured out where to go next, starting with putting Jacques in the collar. “Australia showed why they are feared as a tournament team,” Atherton said