Section: Cricket World Cup

Cricket World Cup: Moeen Ali-inspired England beat Scotland

Moeen Ali’s century led England to a 119-run victory over Scotland and a first win of the World Cup.

World Cup, Pool A, Christchurch:
England 303-8 (50 overs): Moeen 128, Bell 54, Davey 4-68
Scotland 184 (42.2 overs): Coetzer 71, Finn 3-26
England won by 119 runs

Moeen scored 128 and shared 172 for the first wicket with the stuttering Ian Bell, who contributed 54.

But, when they were parted, England could only manage 131 runs in the final 20 overs as they posted 303-8.

Still, it was too many for Scotland, who never threatened an upset, despite Kyle Coetzer’s 71, and were bowled out for 184, with Steven Finn taking 3-26.

Following heavy defeats against co-hostsAustralia and New Zealand, the success in Christchurch provides England with a much-needed morale boost.

However, little can be learned as to whether England are in better shape for the sterner tests to come – starting with Sri Lanka in Wellington on Sunday – given the nature of the opposition.

Scotland are the lowest-ranked one-day international side in Pool A and slip to the bottom of the table following the three-wicket defeat by New Zealand in their opening game.

Preston Mommsen’s side face Afghanistan on Thursday, likely to be their best chance for success in the tournament.

Still, there were times when they troubled England. An attack which began poorly improved to take eight wickets in the final 20 overs and ensure that Eoin Morgan’s men did not fully capitalise on a platform of 172-0 after the first 30.

At one point around the beginning of the batting powerplay, England lost three wickets for two runs in three overs, Moeen being caught on the leg-side boundary from the off-spin of Majid Haq, Gary Ballance continuing his poor run by chopping on to his own stumps and Joe Root edging behind.

Before that, Moeen, who gave a half-chance to cover on only seven, scored freely, particularly through fierce pull shots and lofts down the ground.

His 107-ball knock included five sixes and 12 fours and his second ODI century is also his highest score.

In contrast, Bell never looked fluent, scratching his way to a half-century in an 85-ball innings that contained only two fours.

It was Bell’s wicket, caught at extra cover off the medium pace of Richie Berrington, that began England’s slide, a decline halted by the late impetus of Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler.

Patient at first, Morgan accelerated to a 42-ball 46, including two sixes, while Buttler contributed an inventive 24 from 14 deliveries.

If the win was most welcome for England, then next will be the runs scored by Morgan, who had managed only 19 in his previous five innings.

The target of 304 always seemed beyond Scotland and they never came close to pulling off a first win against a Test-playing side as they slumped to a 10th defeat in as many World Cup matches – joining the Netherlands with the worst record in the tournament’s history.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India crush South Africa in Melbourne

Shikhar Dhawan hit a superb century as defending champions India maintained their unbeaten start to the World Cup with a 130-run win over South Africa.

World Cup Pool B, Melbourne Cricket Ground
India 307-7 (50 overs): Dhawan 137, Rahane 79
South Africa 177 all out(40.2 overs): Du Plessis 55, Ashwin 3-41
India won by 130 runs

India’s 307-7 was built around Dhawan’s 137, while Ajinkya Rahane made 79 off 60 balls and Virat Kohli 46.

South Africa were bowled out for 177 with 9.4 overs unused as Faf du Plessis’s departure for 55 sparked a collapse of seven wickets for 44 runs.

The defeat was South Africa’s heaviest in World Cup history.

India, who remain top of Pool B with two wins from two games, face the United Arab Emirates in Perth on Sunday, when victory will all but secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Fifth-placed South Africa play West Indies in Sydney on Friday, but the manner in which they subsided on a blameless surface cast doubts on their tag as one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Dhawan’s composed innings was typical of a measured rather than explosive batting display, and two key run-outs were reward for the pressure India created with an accomplished performance in the field.

Dropped on 53 by Hashim Amla and fortunate not to be run out for 55, left-hander Dhawan combined fluent drives with meaty pulls in a 146-ball innings which featured 16 fours and two sixes.

Having lost Rohit Sharma cheaply, he added 127 with captain Kohli for the second wicket and 125 in 16 thrilling overs with Rahane for the third.

Dhawan eventually fell to a top-edged pull off Wayne Parnell, whose treatment late in the innings left him nursing figures of 1-85 off nine overs.

No South Africa batsman came close to playing with the composure shown by Dhawan as India’s fielders maintained the pressure created by Mohammed Shami’s early removal of Quinton de Kock.

Mohit Sharma had Hashim Amla taken at long leg and Du Plessis drilled the first ball of his second spell to mid-off, either side of Mohit’s most important contribution, running out South Africa captain AB de Villiers for 30 with a magnificent flat throw from deep point.

Smart work from Umesh Yadav and MS Dhoni accounted for the dangerous David Miller, and Ravichandran Ashwin hastened South Africa’s collapse to finish with 3-41.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan to avoid shock

Mahela Jayawardene hit his 19th one-day international century to help Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by four wickets and avoid a major World Cup upset.

World Cup Pool A, University Oval, Dunedin:
Afghanistan 232 (49.4 overs): Stanikzai 54, Malinga 3-41, Mathews 3-41
Sri Lanka 236-6 (48.2overs): Jayawardene 100, Hassan 3-45
Sri Lanka won by four wickets

Tournament debutants Afghanistan sensed a shock after reducing Sri Lanka to 2-2 and then 18-3 in Pool A in Dunedin.

But Jayawardene (100) put on 126 with captain Angelo Mathews (44) and although both departed, Sri Lanka held on to win with 10 balls left.

Asghar Stanikzai with 54 was the top scorer in Afghanistan’s 232 all out.

The win was Sri Lanka’s first of the tournament following their heavy defeat by New Zealand in the opening match, while Afghanistan remain without a point but above England and Scotland – who meet on Monday – on run rate.

“We really need to raise our standards to compete against the top teams,” said Mathews, whose side face Bangladesh on Thursday, with further group fixtures to come against Australia, England and Scotland.

“I am feeling relieved at the moment but I thought we came back well. It was a see-saw kind of game. They started off well and then we pulled it back in the end. I knew I had to stay out there with Mahela to get some kind of stand going.”

The 1996 champions made a terrible start to their run chase at the University Oval, losing both openers to first-ball ducks.

Dawlat Zadran trapped Lahiru Thirimanne leg before wicket off the first ball of the Sri Lanka reply and fellow pace bowler Shapoor Zadran had Tillakaratne Dilshan caught behind to leave the Test-playing side in a state of shock.

Hamid Hassan then bowled veteran Kumar Sangakkara for seven, leaving Sri Lanka 18-3, and celebrated with a cartwheel and an exuberant wave to the crowd.

Hassan saw off Dimuth Karunaratne for 23, and that brought the experienced pair of Jayawardene and Mathews together with the score 51-4 after 12 overs.

Jayawardene played with the calmness and authority you would expect from a man playing his 443rd one-day international.

The pair looked like they would complete victory on their own but Mathews was run out in the 41st over attempting a quick single.

Jayawardene brought up his fourth World Cup century two balls later but Hassan revived Afghanistan’s hopes by dismissing the 37-year-old just three balls later.

However, Thisara Perera, with an aggressive 47 not out from 26 balls, and Jeevan Mendis (nine not out) came together in a stand of 58 to finish off the job.

The Afghanistan innings, which ended with two balls remaining in the final over, was built around an 88-run third-wicket partnership between Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari (38).

It was not until Stanikzai was dismissed by Rangana Herath with Afghanistan 128-3 in the 28th over, that Sri Lanka started to get a grip on the game.

That marked the start of a collapse that saw Afghanistan lose four wickets for 47 runs in 11 overs, with Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Mathews both finishing with 3-41.

It was Afghanistan’s fifth-highest score against a Test-playing nation but their total could have been higher but for poor shot selection.

Captain Mohammad Nabi admitted his team’s total was always going to be hard to defend.

“I felt we were short by 30-40 runs. We bowled really well in the first 10-15 overs, and we put pressure on them in the end. We kept them to a tight game, so we are pleased by that,” said Nabi, whose team next play Scotland in Dunedin on Thursday.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: West Indies beat Pakistan by 150 runs

West Indies reduced Pakistan to 1-4 as they secured a crushing 150-run victory and their first win of the World Cup.

World Cup Pool B, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
West Indies 310-6 (50 overs): Ramdin 51, Simmons 50, Bravo 49*
Pakistan 160 (39 overs): Akmal 59, Taylor 3-15, Russell 3-33
West Indies won by 150 runs

Jerome Taylor dismissed three batsmen for ducks and captain Jason Holder also struck in Pakistan’s first 19 balls.

It was the worst start to an innings in World Cup history and Pakistan were all out for 160 in 39 overs in Christchurch, with Taylor taking 3-15.

Andre Russell smashed 42 not out off 13 balls as West Indies hit 115 from the final 10 overs to finish on 310-6.

After such an entertaining display of big hitting at Hagley Oval, few would have expected the drama that followed.

Fast bowler Taylor dismissed Nasir Jamshed with the second ball of the innings, Younus Khan with the sixth and Haris Sohail with the 18th in a devastating spell of three wickets for one run that left Pakistan’s hopes in disarray.

Holder added to Pakistan’s misery by removing Ahmed Shehzad – the only Pakistan player to have scored a run – next ball.

Russell soon sent Misbah-ul-Haq on his way for seven before Sohaib Maqsood (50) and Umar Akmal (59) stopped the collapse.

Sammy ended their stand of 80 and wickets continued to fall before Pakistan were all out with 11 overs remaining.

“It was a wonderful performance,” said West Indies skipper Holder. “We batted really well.

“Russell, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy added impetus at the end of the innings, then Taylor was excellent with the new ball.”

The defeat leaves 1992 champions Pakistan, who face Zimbabwe on 1 March in their next match, bottom of Pool B after two emphatic defeats.

“It was a tough day, especially after we won the toss,” said Pakistan skipper Misbah. “The guys batting up front have been struggling a bit, and that made it very difficult for us, especially on a pitch like that, with the ball seaming a bit. We just have to pick ourselves up.”

West Indies will go into their next game on Tuesday, also against Zimbabwe, on a high having eradicated the memories of their humiliating defeat by Ireland.

The only downside to their victory was an injury to Darren Bravo, who had to retire hurt on 49 after tearing a hamstring. Windies management later revealed Bravo will stay with the team, but is likely to miss their next game against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

Denesh Ramdin (51) and Lendl Simmons (50) picked up the pace after Bravo was helped off, with Simmons striking his team’s first six in the 37th over.

Ramdin departed at the end of the 40th over with the score 195-4 but Simmons and Sammy (30) pressed the accelerator, helped by Mohammed Irfan dropping a fifth catch of the innings.

Russell only started his incredible innings in the 48th over but hit his first ball for four and fired three massive sixes in the next over.

Another mighty six came in the final over to bring up the 300 and, although Simmons was run out off the final ball, West Indies had seized the initiative.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: England crushed by New Zealand in Pool A

England suffered a humiliating eight-wicket thrashing by New Zealand as Tim Southee became only the fourth man to take seven wickets in a World Cup match.

World Cup Pool A, Wellington (Regional Stadium):
England 123 (33.2 overs): Root 46, Southee 7-33
New Zealand 125-2 (12.2 overs): McCullum 77
New Zealand won by eight wickets

Southee’s 7-33 saw England blown away for 123, the last seven wickets falling for 19 runs.

Brendon McCullum then smashed an 18-ball half-century, the fastest in World Cup history, to propel New Zealand to their target in just 12.2 overs.

That equalled the shortest ODI chase against England, in a match that lasted just 45.4 overs in total.

Only when McCullum was bowled by Chris Woakes for a 25-ball 77 did England avoid the ignominy of being beaten before the scheduled tea interval.

A third win in as many games has all but secured New Zealand’s place in the quarter-finals, while two defeats from two means England can perhaps afford only one more from their remaining four matches if they are to qualify.

They face Scotland in Christchurch next from 22:00 GMT on Sunday before matches against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Eoin Morgan’s team attracted criticism from the likes of Geoffrey Boycott and Graham Gooch following their opening loss to Australia, but this most one-sided of hammerings was far more abject.

Defeats against both co-hosts were probably expected before start of the tournament, but it is the manner in which England surrendered in Wellington that suggests their World Cup is already in disarray.

On a blameless surface, they were taken apart by Southee, who was as brilliant as England were woeful, pitching the ball up at good pace and finding late swing.

Some resistance came from Joe Root, the last man out for 46, his stand of 47 with captain Morgan the only period of calm in the match.

Morgan, who had managed only two runs in his previous four ODI innings, at least made a rather nervy 17, but his needless loft down the ground to be brilliantly caught at long-on by Adam Milne off Daniel Vettori began the carnage.

Southee, who had earlier bowled the flat-footed opening pair of Ian Bell and Moeen Ali, ran through the England middle and lower order.

James Taylor and Chris Woakes were bowled either side of Jos Buttler edging behind, while Stuart Broad looped a catch to mid-off before Steven Finn was held at first slip.

Southee was denied the chance of the first World Cup eight-wicket haul when Root top edged Milne to long leg, ending England’s innings in 33.2 overs.

They had to field right away, with McCullum then piling on the misery in a violent assault on a bowling attack that had no answers.

He cut the second ball he faced, from Broad, for six, the first of seven maximums carved over the off side.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: New Zealand sink Scotland in Dunedin

New Zealand made it two wins out of two in Pool A with a bizarre three-wicket victory against Scotland in Dunedin.

World Cup Pool A, Dunedin:
New Zealand: 146-7 (24.5 overs): Williamson 38, Davey 3-40
Scotland: 142 (36.2 overs): Machan 56, Anderson 3-18
New Zealand won by three wickets

The Scots were reduced to 12-4 in the fifth over before Matt Machan (56) and Richie Berrington (50) put on 97.

Four batsmen fell first ball, a World Cup first, and only the third such instance in a one-day international, as they were 142 all out in the 37th over.

But New Zealand had more alarms than expected in a curious run chase, before winning with 25.1 overs to spare.

The Scots are in their third World Cup campaign and are yet to win a match in nine attempts, but came closer at the University Oval than anyone could have believed after such a destructive start.

They thrashed their higher ranked fellow qualifiers Ireland by 179 runs in a recent warm-up game yet it quickly became apparent they would not be emulating the Irish team’s victory over West Indies on Monday.

Facing an in-form New Zealand on their own patch was a rather different proposition to a fragmented Windies, and the co-hosts, semi-finalists six times, justified their position as one of the leading contenders for the trophy with a fine display in the field after winning the toss.

Left-arm seamer Trent Boult expertly exploited the conditions, swinging the ball back into the right-handers at pace to claim wickets with his opening two deliveries in the second over.

Tim Southee also struck with consecutive deliveries and there was concern the lowest World Cup total of 36 by Canada was in jeopardy.

But Sussex left-hander Machan played with calm assurance in a 79-ball innings to restore some respectability with the purposeful Berrington.

However, wily spinner Daniel Vettori wrapped up the innings with successive wickets and the Kiwis had almost 40 minutes of batting before the official lunch interval.

Skipper Brendon McCullum and opening partner Martin Guptill appeared to want to reach the target in the nine overs bowled before the break, with number of wickets lost not affecting a team’s overall run-rate in the group table, and both were caught behind in the mini-session.

The prolific Kane Williamson top-scored with 38 but edged seamer Josh Davey in the 18th over, one of four wickets to fall for 31 in a surprisingly ragged batting display from the Kiwis, who next face England in a day-night fixture in Wellington on Friday.

Scotland captain Preston Mommsen said he was “very proud” of his side after they ran the co-hosts so close.

Scotland’s next match is against England, in Christchurch on Monday.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Ireland stun West Indies in Nelson

Ireland caused the first shock of the World Cup with a four-wicket triumph against West Indies in their opening Pool B match in New Zealand.

World Cup Pool B, Nelson:
Ireland: 307-6 (45.5 overs): Stirling 92, Joyce 84, Taylor 3-65
West Indies: 304-7 (50 overs): Simmons 102, Dockrell 3-50
Ireland won by four wickets

Lendl Simmons (102) shared 154 with Darren Sammy (89) as the Windies recovered from 87-5 to post 304-7.

But Ireland’s Will Porterfield and Paul Stirling put on 71 and Stirling (92) then shared 106 with Ed Joyce (84).

Niall O’Brien added 79 not out as Ireland won with 25 balls left, their fourth World Cup win over a Test team.

Having beaten Pakistan in their first World Cup in 2007 and England in the 2011 tournament, Ireland were almost considered favourites from the outset at the picturesque venue in Nelson on the south island.

The Windies, winners of the first two World Cups in the 1970s, now languish eighth in the ODI rankings, were skittled for 122 by England in a warm-up match and are rumoured to be in disharmony following the omission of Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo from their squad.

Ireland, ranked 11th, reached the second group stage in 2007 and now have matches against the UAE, South Africa, Zimbabwe, India and Pakistan to try and secure a top-four spot in Pool B and a place in the quarter-finals.

Their intrepid fielding and accurate seam bowling after choosing to field quickly led to two wickets falling in the eighth over.

Big hitting Gayle and Marlon Samuels both launched towering straight sixes before both were dismissed by 22-year-old George Dockrell in the 22nd over, the left-arm spinner securing figures of 3-23 at one point.

Sammy unleashed some innovative strokes, often with ferocious power, in a thrilling partnership with Simmons, who accelerated stylishly as West Indies became the fifth successive team in the tournament to post in excess of 300 when batting first.

But far from overawed, the Irish openers punished some loose bowling in a fluent 13-over stand.

Man-of-the match Stirling hit three sixes in his pugnacious innings and was within eight of his sixth ODI hundred when, suffering from severe cramp, he edged behind in the 28th over with 128 still needed.

With the Windies looking ragged and forlorn, Joyce effortlessly guided the Irish within 32 of the target and despite three wickets in 17 balls, John Mooney, just as he did against England four years ago, struck the winning runs.

Ireland, coached by former West Indies batsman Phil Simmons, uncle of Lendl, next face fellow qualifiers UAE on 25 February.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India crush rivals Pakistan

Virat Kohli compiled a composed hundred to help defending champions India begin the World Cup with a 76-run victory over fierce rivals Pakistan.

Cricket World Cup Pool B, Adelaide:
India 300-7 (50 overs): Kohli 107, S Khan 5-55
Pakistan 224 (47 overs): Misbah 76, Shami 4-38
India won by 76 runs

Kohli made 107 and shared century stands with both Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (74) at the Adelaide Oval.

When Kohli fell as part of Sohail Khan’s 5-55, Pakistan looked to have dragged themselves back into the game by restricting India to a reachable 300-7.

But a chase that never gained momentum was wrecked by a collapse of three wickets for one run and they eventually stumbled to 224 all out, Mohammed Shami claiming 4-35.

In isolation, India’s win earns national pride in what was billed as the most watched cricket match of all time, with an estimated television audience of one billion, and extends their World Cup record against Pakistan to six wins from as many matches.

It was also an emphatic way to begin the defence of a trophy they won on home soil in 2011 and represents their first competitive win since arriving for a tour of Australia in November.

Pakistan, winners when the tournament was last held in Australia and New Zealand 23 years ago, can take heart from the way they stuck to the task with the ball, but their limp chase was poor.

After all the hype, the action was intriguing, rather than exciting.

Making first use of an excellent pitch on a baking hot day, India’s innings was underpinned by Kohli’s calm accumulation all around the wicket, his 126-ball stay containing only eight fours.

The right-hander made Pakistan pay for dropping him twice, the first a tough chance in the deep to Yasir Shah when on only three, the second a more straightforward edge behind to Umar Akmal from the spin of Haris Sohail on 76.

When the 26-year-old punched Shahid Afridi to long-on for a 22nd ODI hundred – only Sachin Tendulkar has more for India – he became the first man to score a century in his opening match of a World Cup tournament on two occasions.

Support came from Dhawan, who curbed his attacking instincts, and Raina, who repeatedly heaved through the leg side in his 56-ball knock.

However, after Kohli edged Sohail to Umar, Pakistan fought back through fast bowler Sohail, who demonstrated consistency of length and canny changes of pace.

India scored just 27 runs in their final five overs as five wickets fell, four of them to Sohail.

A chase of 301 looked within Pakistan’s grasp at the interval, but they never threatened to keep up with the six-an-over run-rate.

Younus Khan, promoted to open, gloved a Shami bouncer behind early on and, though Ahmed Shahzad and Haris shared 68, Ravichandran Ashwin found turn with a beautiful off-break to have the latter caught at slip.

And, when Umesh Yadav removed Shahzad and Saqaib Mahsood in the space of three balls followed by Umar controversially being given out, caught behind off Ravi Jadeja on review, the contest was effectively over.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq did his best to delay the inevitable with some clean striking in his 76, but he was the ninth wicket to fall, to the lively Shami, before Mohit Sharma had Sohail caught at long-on to seal India’s victory.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: South Africa beat Zimbabwe after record stand

David Miller and JP Duminy made a record one-day international fifth-wicket stand of 256 as South Africa recovered to beat Zimbabwe in their World Cup opener in Hamilton.

World Cup Pool B, Hamilton:
South Africa 339-4 (50 overs): Miller 138*, Duminy 115*
Zimbabwe 277 (48.2 overs): H Masakadza 80, Chibhabha 64
South Africa won by 62 runs

After a shaky start, Miller (138 not out off 92 balls) and Duminy (115 not out from 100) came together at 83-4.

They blasted the Proteas to 339-4, including 111 off the last six overs, while Miller smashed 30 off the 48th.

Hamilton Masakadza (80) helped Zimbabwe to 277 in reply, losing by 62 runs.

South Africa – three-time beaten semi-finalists – were among the pre-tournament favourites, but were less than convincing here, despite winning their 27th consecutive ODI meeting with Zimbabwe.

Hammered 5-0 by Bangladesh in their last ODI series, Zimbabwe were facing the highest successful run chase in World Cup history.

Chamu Chibhabha (64) and Masakadza shared a century stand, with Masakadza reaching his fifty by hitting Dale Steyn for an audacious six over cover, until both holed out off leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

When Masakadza fell, Zimbabwe needed 149 from the final 17 overs, which proved beyond them, though tailender Solomon Mire entertained the crowd with a couple of huge sixes before falling to a superb full-length catch by Proteas skipper AB de Villiers.

“We really went for too much in the end,” said captain Elton Chigumbura. “We didn’t get the wickets we needed in the middle period and paid for it.”

Fresh from overwhelming West Indies at home, the tentative Proteas were four wickets down by the 21st over.

Zimbabwe may even have sensed an upset when De Villiers was acrobatically caught by Craig Ervine on the long-off boundary for 25.

Miller and Duminy rebuilt against Zimbabwe’s spinners, the former hitting nine sixes and taking seamer Mire for 30 off the 48th over with three fours and three sixes, one of which went out of the ground.

“I just needed to construct a partnership with someone, and JP was the man today,” said Miller. “It was tough up front and a bit slow initially, but it definitely eased up towards the end.”

Duminy took until the final over to reach three figures, the highest one-day international fifth-wicket stand – and the third highest World Cup partnership for any wicket – reasserted South Africa’s supremacy.

While Zimbabwe extended their record number of World Cup defeats to 38, this performance will show they are no pushovers under coach Dav Whatmore, and they must have aspirations of beating an out-of-sorts West Indies side to a quarter-final berth.

“We were in the game for a long time so it was a good sign for the games to come,” said Chigumbura.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: England thrashed by Australia in first World Cup match

England were outclassed by an impressive Australia in a 111-run defeat on the opening day of the World Cup in Melbourne.

Cricket World Cup 2015, Melbourne:
Australia 342-9 (50 overs): Finch 135, Finn 5-71
England 231 (41.5 overs): Taylor 98*, Marsh 5-33
Australia won by 111 runs

Aaron Finch, dropped on nought by Chris Woakes in the first over, hammered 135 and Glenn Maxwell a 40-ball 66 to propel the co-hosts to 342-9.

Chasing the biggest score they had ever conceded in a one-day international against Australia never seemed likely for England and a top-order collapse further demonstrated the gulf in class.

Mitchell Marsh took 5-33 as England were bowled out for 231 despite an inventive unbeaten 98 from James Taylor.

Although an expected defeat by the tournament favourites does little damage to England’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, the manner of the reverse should provide cause for concern.

They were substandard in the field, lacked control at the end of the Australia innings and were saved from their heaviest World Cup defeat by Taylor.

The most costly mistake was made by Woakes, dropping a simple chance above his head at square leg off James Anderson to reprieve Finch from only the fifth delivery.

The right-hander made the most of his let-off to dominate the innings through flicks off his pads, brutal pulls and powerful hits down the ground.

But the biggest disappointment was England’s death overs, which featured too few yorkers, too many slow bouncers and Maxwell’s clean striking.

Steven Finn at least claimed the first World Cup hat-trick by an England bowler from the final three balls of the innings, all skied catches.

Bowling first on a flat pitch in the hope the overnight rain would result in some assistance, England reduced Australia to 70-3 by Stuart Broad and Woakes finding movement on a good length.

The lesson was not learnt, though, and George Bailey was allowed to settle on a diet of short bowling, making 55 and rebuilding in a stand of 146 with Finch.

When Finch and Bailey fell, England looked like they might check Australia’s progress, but Maxwell provided the late carnage. The final 10 overs yielded 105 runs, including 76 off the last six.

A successful chase looked fanciful, but England’s tepid reply never had them in the game.

As Australia hit their lengths and held their catches to provide the visitors with a lesson, one by one, England’s batsmen holed out.

Moeen Ali started the rot by pulling Mitchell Starc to mid-on, before Marsh’s medium-pacers took over.

Gary Ballance – in the side for Ravi Bopara – flicked to short mid-wicket, Ian Bell cut to deep point, Joe Root top-edged and captain Eoin Morgan toe-ended a pull to diving wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for a third successive duck against Australia.

Steve Smith’s wonderful flying catch at short cover accounted for Jos Buttler and left England at a hopeless 92-6.

However, Taylor, dropped down the order to accommodate Ballance, did find a way to score by running hard and capitalising on what loose bowling was on offer.

He nudged towards a maiden century in the company of last man Anderson, but was given out lbw to Josh Hazlewood, only for the decision to be overturned on review.

But, from the same delivery, Anderson was run out and, amid confusing scenes as the TV replays were consulted, England’s fate was sealed.

The International Cricket Council’s later admitted that an error had been made and that the ball should have been declared dead, but the decision was incidental to a one-sided result.

On Friday they face co-hosts New Zealand, who beat Sri Lanka by 98 runs in the tournament opener in Christchurch earlier on Saturday.

Read more at BBC Sport