NEW DELHI: England’s campaign to defend their 2019 ODI World Cup crown has nosedived to the point that they are now just one defeat away from being eliminated in the race to the semifinals. But their sorry run is already the worst start ever for a defending champion in the history of the tournament. England began with a mauling at the hand of last edition’s runners up New Zealand, who won by nine wickets, chasing a challenging 283 to win.But the English bowlers had no answer to the dominance of Devon Conway (152 not out) and Rachin Ravindra (123*).
The batters, led by Dawid Malan’s 140, once again did the job in the next match against Bangladesh to put up 364/9 on the board and the bowlers also came to the party this time to deliver a 137-run win.
But since that match, England have failed to cross the 215-run mark in three matches, resulting in three crushing defeats. Against South Africa and Sri Lanka, the title holders couldn’t even reach 200.The four defeats in first five matches is now a record for a team defending its title in an ODI World Cup. Here’s the list:England – 2019 champions (Lost 4 out of the first 5 matches in 2023-24)DATEOPPONENTVENUE RESULTOct 5, 2023New ZealandAhmedabadLost by 9 wicketsOct 12, 2023AfghanistanDelhiLost by 69 runsOct 21, 2023South AfricaMumbaiLost by 229 runsOct 26, 2023Sri LankaBengaluruLost By 8 wicketsBefore this, the unwanted record was in the name of Australia and Sri Lanka, who had lost three matches each in the first five games of their respective attempts to defend their World Cup title. Australia – 1987-88 champions (Lost 3 out of the first 5 matches in 1991-92)DATEOPPONENTVENUERESULTFeb 22, 1992New ZealandAucklandLost by 22 runsFeb 26, 1992South AfricaSydneyLost by 9 wicketsMarch 5, 1992EnglandSydneyLost by 8 wicketsSri Lanka – 1995-96 champions (Lost 3 out of the first 5 matches in 1999)DATEOPPONENTVENUERESULTMay 14, 1996EnglandLord’sLost by 8 wicketsMay 19, 1996South AfricaNorthamptonLost by 89 runsMay 26, 1996IndiaTauntonLost by 157 runs(Stats Courtesy: Rajesh Kumar)