How England can reach the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup

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England's dreams of defending their hard-won Cricket World Cup crown are hanging by the thinnest of threads. Their title defense has turned into a nightmare, with the 2019 champions enduring a calamitous campaign that has left their semifinal hopes on life support. You can conveniently bet on cricket and more by downloading a unique app at

At the bottom

Five losses in their first six matches, including a thrashing at the hands of hosts India in their most recent outing, have seen England plummet to the bottom of the 10-team standings. With only the top four advancing to the knockouts, England's hopes are slipping away fast.

It's a remarkable reversal of fortune for Eoin Morgan's men. Four years ago, England were celebrating their dramatic final triumph over New Zealand at Lord's. Now, they are licking their wounds after chastening defeats to the same two finalists in their opening matches.

The losses have kept piling up – a shock upset by Afghanistan, a 69-run thrashing from Sri Lanka, and their worst ever ODI loss as South Africa demolished them. The nadir came against India, where England were outclassed across departments in a 100-run hammering.

Little hope

Yet despite the avalanche of defeats, a mathematical chance remains for England. The round-robin format gives them three more games to salvage their campaign. Three bonus-point wins could potentially lift them to eight points, still within touching distance of the semifinals. But they need everything to go their way for that to happen.

Firstly, England must resuscitate their own sorry campaign starting with a must-win clash against old foes Australia. Their bitter rivals have hit their stride, notching four straight wins on the back of huge scores. England's bowling attack must find a way to contain them while their out-of-form batsmen must rediscover their mojo.

Even three straight wins may not be enough, as England's net run rate of -1.652 requires significant repair. The two teams immediately above them, Australia and New Zealand, are already on eight points. One win by either side will end England's hopes.

For England to pip them on net run rate, they will need both Australia and New Zealand to somehow lose their remaining three games each. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have the capacity to cause an upset, but banking on them to win three in a row is fanciful.

If by some miracle it comes down to net run rate, England's margin for error is almost non-existent. 300-plus scores and bowling out opponents cheaply is the only way to overhaul their poor net run rate. But for now, their primary task is finding form and building momentum.

England aren't mathematically eliminated, but their World Cup destiny is no longer in their own hands. The crown lies uneasily on their heads, and will likely slip off without some dramatic luck and a remarkable resurgence of their own. But as long as it is still mathematically possible, England's fading hopes cling to life support.

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