England face uphill slog after mauling by Australia

England cricket star Ben Stokes was defiant after a thumping defeat by Australia cast doubt on the pre-tournament favorites' hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Thursday, June 27, 2019

England cricket star Ben Stokes was defiant after a thumping defeat by Australia cast doubt on the pre-tournament favorites' hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals.

Set a target of 286 to beat the reigning champions, England were dismissed for 221 by their arch-rivals at Lord's.

The 64-run reverse means England have lost two straight pool matches - their first back-to-back defeats in one-day internationals since January 2017 - after also falling short in a run-chase in a 20-run defeat by Sri Lanka.

Stokes made 89 against Australia, but as with the all-rounder's unbeaten 82 against Sri Lanka it could not secure a win. So England have now lost three pool matches in total following an earlier defeat by Pakistan.

"Everybody's obviously disappointed in the last two games," Stokes said. "But this is our World Cup, and we are going to go about it the way we know how we play best."

That way has been to bat aggressively, but in England's past two matches some ill-judged strokes have been the downfall of key batsmen.

England may now have to beat both India and New Zealand in their final pool matches if they are to keep alive their hopes of winning the cup for a first time. Like Australia, they are teams England have not defeated at a World Cup since 1992.

Nevertheless, as Stokes said: "We just need to adjust to situations and then conditions, but we are not for one minute going to take a backward step."

India have yet to lose at this World Cup, but England did win a home one-day series against Virat Kohli's side last year.