England’s rise from plodders to ODI world championships

After England had a dismal show in the 2015 ODI World Cup, not many would have put their money behind them to turn champions in the next edition.

When England beat Afghanistan in their last fixture of the 2015 World Cup, it was a rather underwhelming farewell for the Eoin Morgan-led side. This was just their second win from six group games and the below-par performance left them at the fifth place in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Pool A points table as they failed to qualify for the knockouts.

Just to put things in perspective, Sri Lanka had 8 points from 6 matches while Bangladesh had 7. England, world beaters at one point, ended up with just 4 points.

There were several things which needed attention – their approach towards modern-day limited overs cricket, their planning around the game, and not least, their personnel.

To their credit, England did away with the likes of Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Gary Ballance and Steven Finn from their ODI set-up. They overhauled their set-up and gave skipper Eoin Morgan a freehand to build his team.

With players like Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood coming in, England began to play unprecedented firebrand cricket. From being the laggers in modern-day white-ball cricket, they became the flag bearers of the aggressive style of play within a couple of years.

Currently, the top two team scores in ODI cricket are both held by England. The team plundered 444/3 against Pakistan in an ODI at Nottingham in 2016. On the same ground, two years later, they bludgeoned 481/6 to break their own record for the highest team total in ODI cricket.

It was not a surprise, then, that they entered the 2019 ODI World Cup as favourites. After a slight wobble, the hosts earned their rightful place in the ODI World Cup final against New Zealand and treated the fans to a game for the ages.

The match was tied, the super over was tied, and England finally turned champions with some help from the boundary countback rule. They may not have been the worthiest of that honour on the given day, but the cup had to be theirs when you look back at the four years of hard work and effort that they put in.

It was England’s first-ever ODI World Cup title win, and they deserved every bit of it.

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