England ended their Champions Trophy 2017 journey with a defeat to Pakistan © Getty Images
England ended their Champions Trophy 2017 journey with a defeat to Pakistan © Getty Images

It takes one bad day to bring you back to where you had begun. It takes one big blow to see your fort being reduced to ruins. It takes one defeat to eclipse all the hard work that you had put in day in and day out. That one setback quashed England’s dreams to win their first ever ICC Champions Trophy.

England were painfully close in the 2004 final. It could have been their first ever Champions Trophy title, that too at their own den. England were agonisingly close in the 2013 final. It could have been their first ever Champions Trophy title — once again, at their own den. First, West Indies’ Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne had denied them glory with a historic 71-run stand and then, India kept them at bay in a rain-affected, 20-over contest. England had only themselves to blame. However, 2017 was different.

England won all their group stage matches. After chasing down 306 against Bangladesh, they walloped 2015 World Cup finalists Australia and New Zealand. The stage was set. The predictions were made. England were crowned as favourites.

They faced Pakistan, No. 8 in ICC ODI Rankings. Unlike them, Pakistan had suffered a drubbing before they reached the semi-final. Come on, Pakistan do not even have a chance against England. The followers watched the game for the sake of witnessing England through to their third final. And thud…

That one bad day, one big blow, one defeat hit England.

Ben Stokes, who had scored a magnificent hundred against Australia, faced 64 balls to score 34 without hitting a boundary. Adil Rashid and Mark Wood, who had taken four-fors against Australia, could not pose any sort of trouble. Eoin Morgan, who had a terrific time taking all the shots, was left clueless.

Neither did England squander opportunities nor did they implode, but still ended up at the doorstep of defeat. Let us dissect further their performance, one by one, on CricketCountry’s section ‘Marks out of 10’.

Jason Roy (3 matches | 18 runs | 1 brilliant catch): 2/10

Had Roy not taken a blinder to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, he would not have got any marks. He jumped at the edge of the boundary, pulled it inside while in the air, jumped back inside the rope, and pouched it cleanly. That was it: Roy’s only significant contribution. Otherwise, his scores of 1, 13, and 4 portray his struggle.

Alex Hales (4 matches | 164 runs): 6/10

Hales scored consecutive half-centuries, against Bangladesh and New Zealand — one of which was a stunning 95. He gets extra mark for making amends for Roy’s failure and laying foundation for big scores. However, Hales played an uncharacteristic shot against Pakistan, dancing down the track and holing out in the off when England needed a steady start.

Jonny Bairstow (1 match | 43 runs | one successful review): 5/10

Bairstow scored more runs than what Roy did in 3 matches put together. His 43 off 57 balls came against a potent Pakistan bowling attack and a spirited fielding effort. That said, he should not have pulled one in the air when there was deep square-leg already stationed. England needed him to spend more time in the middle given he had already found his feet.

He get extra marks for getting a review correct, a decision-making he is infamous for.

Joe Root (4 matches | 258 runs | 1 hundred): 8/10

Root scores runs in England’s victorious as well as struggling days, in any given conditions and at any juncture. His class-apart technique helps him achieve so.

Root scored a spectacular hundred in a 300-plus chase, followed by a resolute 64 against New Zealand. In the semi-final, he was England’s highest scorer. Again, like Bairstow, he fell when England desperately needed him.

Eoin Morgan (4 matches | 208 runs | clinical captaincy): 7/10

Morgan had no answer to Pakistan’s counterattack. His bowlers did not bowl to the field and his batsmen could not rise above a disciplined Pakistan bowling. Before that, everything fell in place for him.

He ended as England’s second-highest scorer. He added 159 with Stokes for the fourth wicket against Australia when his team was staring down the barrel.

Ben Stokes (4 matches | 184 runs | 3 wickets | all-round performance): 9/10

Stokes scored an unbeaten 102 in a run chase that Australia had firm control on. In fact, had Morgan and he succumbed to pressure, Steven Smith and co. would not have packed their bags early and Bangladesh would not have played their first-ever semi-final in an ICC tournament.

Against Pakistan, it was an atypical innings but he made sure that England do lose the plot and get bundled out for a paltry score. It was his fighting 34 that took England past 200.

Jos Buttler (4 matches | 94 runs): 4/10

Buttler ended with the highest average in the English side, thanks to his unbeaten 61 and 29 against New Zealand and Australia respectively. He would have added more against Pakistan, but Junaid Khan bowled an absolute jaffa to have him caught behind the wickets.

Moeen Ali (4 matches | 23 runs | wicketless): 2/10

It is not Moeen’s fault that his numbers were unlike-Moeen. He managed to bowl under 6 RPO, but he got only 15 overs. He did not bowl in long spells either, which gave him very little time to comprehend a situation.

The only time he actually got to contribute with the bat was against Pakistan, and he squandered it falling prey to his weakness of playing short balls.

Adil Rashid (3 matches | 7 wickets | a 4-wicket haul): 6/10

Rashid’s four-for dismantled Australia in the middle overs, restricting them below 300. Before that he had taken 2 wickets against New Zealand. All the same, it was in the semi-final that his leg-spinners mattered the most, Pakistan’s knack of playing well against spinners left Rashid flummoxed.

Liam Plunkett (4 matches | 8 wickets | two 4-wicket hauls): 8/10

Plunkett’s story was same as Rashid, though a bit better. He was ineffective against Pakistan, courtesy Fakhar Zaman’s counterattack. He went for 33 runs in 6 overs without a wicket.

His for-wicket hauls against Bangladesh and New Zealand helped England stay on course in the absence of Chris Woakes.

Mark Wood (4 matches | 5 wickets | Economy 4.32): 6/10

Wood was the pick of the bowlers against Australia, getting the better of David Warner, Smith, and Glenn Maxwell. Otherwise, he was ordinary in the remaining contests. He gets extra points for bowling in the right channel.

Jake Ball (4 matches | 4 wickets): 4/10

Ball was the least effect of the pacers. Although he dismissed Luke Ronchi and Ross Taylor, he could not find ways to pick up wickets.

Chris Woakes (1 match | suffered injury): 1/10

Woakes bowled 2 overs including a maiden before he had side strain, eventually being ruled of the tournament.