ICC World Cup: England end campaign on a high, send Pakistan home

England players celebrate the dismissal of Pakistan captain Babar Azam. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

Kolkata: Current champions England ended their dismal World Cup campaign with a 93-run victory over Pakistan on Saturday, denying the 1992 champions the miracle they needed to make it to the last four of the showpiece 50-overs tournament.

England had already been eliminated after six defeats in seven matches in a debacle that has prompted demands for an overhaul of their one-day squad.

Electing to bat at the Eden Gardens, England racked up a solid 337/9, with three of their top four batters smashing fifties in their third 300-plus total of the tournament.

Jonny Bairstow (59), Joe Root (60) and Ben Stokes (84) made half-centuries in a display that left their fans wishing the batters could have produced similar efforts more often in the tournament.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes drives one through the off side. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

Pakistan were all out for 244 in the 44th over and bowed out of the tournament after their fifth loss in nine matches.

New Zealand have joined India, South Africa and Australia in the semifinals, while England have secured a place in the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan. India will meet the Kiwis in Wednesday's first semifinal, while South Africa will clash with Australia in Thursday's second semifinal.

"Obviously the tournament hasn't gone to plan for us as a whole which is a real disappointment," said player-of-the-match David Willey.

"We have a phenomenal group of players with massive talent. We have underperformed here which is disappointing."

Malan (31) and Bairstow gave England a decent start following captain Jos Buttler's decision to bat.

Iftikhar Ahmed
Pakistan's Iftikhar Ahmed celebrates the wicket of England's Dawid Malan. Photo: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra

After the openers departed, Root and Stokes motored along even if it did not exactly rain boundaries.

Pakistan's fielding was sloppy with Shaheen Afridi dropping Malan and Stokes off his own bowling, while Haris Rauf caught a skyer from Buttler only for his shoes to touch the boundary rope, thereby making it a six for England.

Set a daunting target, Pakistan found themselves in the absurd position of needing to complete the chase in just 6.4 overs in order to make the last four ahead of New Zealand.

Willey (3/56), playing his last match for England, dismissed the Pakistan openers in his first two overs.

Babar Azam (38) and Mohammad Rizwan (36) got decent starts but could not push on to bigger totals.

Agha Salman made 51 and down the order, Rauf smacked three sixes in his entertaining knock of 35 but it mattered little in the end.

"We will sit together and take stock," Babar said of Pakistan's campaign.

"We'll take positives from this and discuss mistakes. I'm keen to lead the rebuild."

Brief sores: England 337/9 in 50 overs (Ben Stokes 84, Joe Root 60, Jonny Bairstow 59; Haris Rauf 3/64) bt Pakistan 244 in 43.3 overs (Agha Salman 51; David Willey 3/56). 

Player of the match: David Willey

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