Four years ago, England revealed in the glory of their 2019 World Cup win, a victory that, while not universally embraced, secured their status as champions. The unforgettable clash at Lord's in London on July 14, 2019, saw England triumph over New Zealand in a nail-biting match that ended in a tie at 241 runs, even in the Super Over. The decisive factor? England's superior boundary count, with 26 to New Zealand's 17, crowning them Cricket World Cup winners for the first time.
The defending champions, once hailed for their prowess, unity, and tenacity, approached the next edition with high hopes and confidence. The anticipation was palpable among fans eager to witness their champions in action once again. The tournament opener saw England defeating New Zealand, setting the stage for a promising campaign. However, as the matches unfolded, the champions' invincibility began to crack.
Horrific run in CWC 2023
Despite their initial success, England stumbled in subsequent matches, leading to their unexpected exit from the championship. The once-flawless team found themselves grappling with pressure, their legendary execution replaced by fumbles and faltering performances.
Jos Buttler, England's skipper, acknowledged the frustration that gripped the team after a defeat to Australia. The champions, perhaps blinded by their past glories, underestimated their opponents, who played with unmatched passion and hunger for success.
“I wouldn't say the belief shaken, more just the frustration grows and adds. Like I said, these are top quality players," England skipper Jos Buttler said after the defeat to Australia on Saturday.
Blinded by past glory
England, blinded by their past glory, underestimated their opponents. The other teams, fueled by passion and a hunger for success, played with an intensity that caught the champions off guard.
Despite the abundance of talent and experience, the England players have cut a sorry figure. One of the most destructive players in the game, Buttler's form has deserted him at the World Cup.
“The belief in my game is as high as it's ever been really, which means why there's so much frustration. Coming into the tournament I felt in fantastic form, as good a form as I've been in. So, to be sat here having had the tournament I've had is incredibly frustrating, but it doesn't shake your belief,” stated the disheartened Butler.
Jos Buttler's batting failures
The crowd, initially filled with supporters of the defending team, slowly shifted allegiance as they witnessed the underdog's tenacity.
The wicketkeeper-batter was insistent that the burden of captaincy has nothing to do with his batting failure.
"No I wouldn't say the captaincy. It's something I've enjoyed that responsibility in T20 cricket and ODI cricket before this tournament. I felt like it brought out a lot of really good things in my batting. So, it's been frustrating."
Worst show by title holders in WC history
In a shocking turn of events, the defending champions failed miserably in just their quest to retain the title, but to make it to the semifinals.
Buttler and his boys journey, filled with the weight of expectations, ended abruptly, far from the anticipated semifinal clash.
The inability to score runs has been perplexing for Buttler himself given that he is familiar with the conditions in India.
“So, of all the things that have happened on this trip, I'd say my own form has been my biggest frustration, because you want to lead from the front as a captain”.
And so, the defending champions have learned a harsh lesson in this edition of the championship – in the unpredictable world of sports, past glories offer no guarantees for future success. The other teams triumphed, and the once-mighty champions were left to reflect on what went wrong, their dreams of another championship shattered.