“We thought 275 was chaseable. We shall have to look at the data.”
With those words, uttered following a defeat by Bangladesh in Adelaide on Monday that knocked England out of the World Cup, Peter Moores appeared to write his own epitaph for his second spell as coach of the national side.
It did not require great statistical analysis to understand why England had gone down by 15 runs to Bangladesh -- long regarded as the whipping boys of international cricket but now victorious over England at two successive World Cups.
The simple truth is England were yet again out-batted and out-bowled.
But Moores’s words appeared emblematic of an inflexible England set-up, where too many players were unable to think on their feet.
How the tournament was set-up, with four teams from each of the two pools of seven going through to the quarter-finals, ought to have made it all but impossible for a leading team to fail to reach the last eight.
“We would have to have an absolute stinker not to make the quarter-finals,” said England paceman Stuart Broad back in January.
And that is what England had. Monday’s loss followed crushing defeats by Australia (111 runs), New Zealand (eight wickets) and Sri Lanka (nine wickets) and meant there was no way England could go through to the knockout phase.
Their only win of the tournament so far has been against Scotland, a non-Test side.
Now England, one of the world’s wealthiest cricket nations, will head into Friday’s final ‘dead’ pool game against Afghanistan—who’ve also beaten the Scots—with exactly the same number of points as a team who mainly learnt how to play cricket in refugee camps.