Jos Buttler admits England batting first would have been ‘better decision’ after his side were thrashed by South Africa… but the captain insists they will ‘sit down and go again’ as their World Cup defence hangs in the balance
- England fell to a dismal defeat at the World Cup against South Africa in Mumbai
- Captain Jos Buttler reflected after the game he shouldn’t have opted to bowl first
- England next play Sri Lanka with retaining the World Cup increasingly unlikely
Jos Buttler admitted he got it wrong at the toss after South Africa’s powerful batting unit pummelled 399 for seven on a chastening afternoon in Mumbai.
It was the second World Cup game in row where England have misread conditions, after choosing to chase against Afghanistan in Delhi, where they lost a week ago.
This time, Buttler’s decision to bowl meant his team fielding in 36-degree heat and energy-draining humidity, and left the captain to reflect on a defeat that looks to have done irreparable damage to their title defence.
‘You always reflect after games and question your decisions,’ he said. ‘Certainly, with hindsight, and with the physicality of that innings, batting first would have been a better decision. But it was decision I took at the time, and I still believe if we’d been chasing 340 or 350, we’d have done well in those conditions.
‘It’s a tough defeat to take. We were disappointed in Delhi, but we had a good few days and worked really hard to put it right. It leaves us in a tough position. There’s no room for error from here on in. We’ll sit down and go again – and that’s all you can do in this situation.’
Jos Buttler admitted he made the wrong decision at the toss as England were pummeled by South Africa
England were faced with the unenviable task of chasing the Proteas 399 in sweltering conditions in Mumbai
But Buttler insisted his side would dust themselves off and go again ahead of Thursday’s crunch clash with Sri Lanka
Asked how he would go about trying to transform England’s fortunes in a tournament that is in danger of running away from them, Buttler said: ‘With complete honesty. It’s obvious we’re not performing to our best.’
‘My job as captain, along with the rest of the team, is to work out how we can get back to playing that brand of cricket, and play to our potential. It won’t be everyone giving up. We’ll dust ourselves down, puff our chests out and go again. You can’t fault anyone’s efforts and there’s still belief in the dressing-room.’
Buttler praised Heinrich Klaasen for his brutal 61-ball hundred, an innings Klaasen described as ‘up there with my best ever’. England were briefly unhappy that Klaasen had celebrated by roaring in close proximity to Mark Wood, with Buttler saying he didn’t ‘need to celebrate in Mark Wood’s face’. But he added: ‘He apologised straightaway, so there are no ill feelings there.’
England’s next game is against Sri Lanka in Bangalore on Thursday, when defeat would almost certainly mean elimination with four group matches still to go.
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