2023 ODI World Cup digest: England in tatters after Sri Lanka defeat South Africa wary of Pakistan

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The Men’s 2023 ODI World Cup is now past the halfway stage as it builds towards the final on November 19. Each morning we will round up the latest action and news from the event and bring you the insights from our reporters on the ground.

Top Story: England’s title defence suffers another crushing blow as Sri Lanka coast to victory

Sri Lanka 160 for 2 (Nissanka 77*, Samarawickrama 65*) beat England 156 (Stokes 43, Kumara 3-35) by eight wickets

England’s World Cup defence is not dead yet. And more’s the pity, to judge by this latest hollow-eyed display from Jos Buttler’s ex-worldbeaters. The humiliations are coming so thick and fast that they are losing their shock factor but, suffice to say, this latest crushing loss – by eight wickets and in just 59 overs of the match’s 100 – was neither the largest nor the most shocking of an abject campaign.
It was, however, the one that confirmed beyond any lingering doubt that this team of genuine England greats no longer has any miracles left within its dressing-room. The match-up was nominally eighth versus ninth in the tournament standings, but by the time Pathum Nissanka had slammed Sri Lanka’s winning six over long-on with a massive 148 balls remaining, you were left to wonder whether this England team, in this miserable mood, could even have matched their conquerors’ achievement of making out of the qualifying tournament in July that did for the likes of West Indies, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

Match analysis: England’s lurching between attack and defence leaves them in no man’s land

There was more gloom heading Jos Buttler’s way who once again fell for a low score•Associated Press

The light at the end of the tunnel was a train. England have spent the last four weeks travelling around India talking about responding to setbacks and awaiting the statement performance that has never arrived. If their defeats to New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa were bad, this might have been the worst of the lot.

The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru was a venue that should have suited England perfectly. In the first of five effective must-win games, they chose to bat first on a flat pitch with short boundaries, rattled along to 44 for 0 after six overs and could finally afford to dream big: would 350 be enough to flatten Sri Lanka, or should they eye 400?

Must Watch: Shane Bond on England’s unwillingness to adapt

News headlines

Jos Buttler said that England’s performance at the World Cup has been “a huge disappointment” and “a shock to everyone” within their set-up, after an eight-wicket defeat to Sri Lanka in Bengaluru left them on the brink of elimination with four group games remaining.
Shakib Al Hasan returned to Bangladesh’s World Cup camp in Kolkata on Thursday evening, cutting short his three-day Dhaka trip to two days. Shakib had gone to Dhaka on October 25 to have a nets session with his childhood mentor Nazmul Abedeen Fahim.

Match preview

Pakistan vs South Africa, Chennai (2pm IST; 8.30am GMT; 7.30pm AEDT

As one campaign unravels, another gathers full steam. It’s a familiar theme for Pakistan and South Africa across much of ICC tournament history. While South Africa have often looked among the most formidable sides in the early stages of these tournaments, Pakistan stutter and stall until they’ve left themselves with no margin for error, and then they roar into life. This fixture, timed to coincide with that point of crossroads in the World Cup group stages, gives that narrative the extra thrust for South Africa to be that little bit warier, and Pakistan slightly more optimistic.

But South Africa are looking to make history at this World Cup, while Pakistan are in danger of being consigned to it. The ferocious brilliance of South Africa has combined with clinical effectiveness, lending that side a steel and ruthlessness they have often been accused of lacking. The team might always look a batter light with Marco Jansen in at seven, but with nearly all of the top six in such glistening form, no side bar Netherlands have been able to burrow their way deeper into that line-up until explosive damage has already been done.

Team news

Pakistan: (likely) 1 Abdullah Shafique, 2 Imam-ul-Haq/Fakhar Zaman, 3 Babar Azam (capt), 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Iftikhar Ahmed, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Usama Mir, 9 Mohammad Wasim Jnr, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Haris Rauf

South Africa: (likely) 1 Temba Bavuma (capt), 2 Quinton de Kock (wk), 3 Rassie van der Dussen, 4 Aiden Markram, 5 Heinrich Klaasen, 6 David Miller, 7 Marco Jansen, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Tabraiz Shamsi, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Lungi Ngidi/Lizaad Williams

Analysis: How Heinrich Klaasen bosses spin with a destructive quasi-pull

A rendition of the pull that has brought Heinrich Klaasen so much success against spin•ICC/Getty Images

When is a pull no longer a pull? If you’re the kind of person who spends an unhealthy amount of time dwelling on the precise meanings of cricketing terms, you might find yourself pondering this when you watch Heinrich Klaasen play the pull.

Defined most simply, the pull is a horizontal-bat shot hit across the line of a short-pitched ball. Klaasen’s pull, particularly against spin bowling, routinely fails to check all three of those boxes.

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