England captain Eoin Morgan believes that lack of stable partnership cost his team the game against Sri Lanka at Headingley on Friday (June 21).
Chasing 233, no one apart from Joe Root and Ben Stokes managed to impress with the bat as England fell short by 20 runs against a team which had registered a solitary victory in their previous five fixtures.
"You look at the basics of a run chase. Partnerships are very important, we struggled to get enough partnerships going,” Morgan said at the post-match presentation.
"We had a couple of individual innings but that's not good enough to win a game.
"We are going to lose games in the group stages. We didn't deserve to win the game, we still need to go back to the process that's taken us to being a strong side in the world."
Sri Lanka, after just 14 deliveries, were down to two for mere three runs, and while their total didn’t deem like a defendable one, pacer Lasith Malinga somehow managed to roll back the years and ended his tenure with four wickets for just 43 runs.
While no one, apart from the aforementioned names, managed to impress with the bat for England, a certain James Vince has gathered the spotlight with his extreme inconsistency. Since replacing injured Jason Roy, Vince has scored 26 and 14 in two games, but Morgan said Roy’s absence wasn’t a factor in the defeat.
"Obviously we would love him in the side, he's a huge strength at the top of the order. But that's not why we lost the game or why we might have struggled on this wicket.
"I would say there were quite a few wickets that were turning points, simply on the fact that you've got guys coming in at six who average 40.
"We bat all the way down. Every single one is quite significant because every single one could establish a partnership that could win you the game."
This victory against the Islanders has now made the race for the top four more interesting. For England, their upcoming fixtures come against Australia, India and New Zealand, and even a single defeat would snatch away their place in the semi-final. Worryingly for them, they have not defeated any of that trio at a World Cup since 1992, although they did manage tie with India in Bangalore eight years ago.
"The message is quite simple: we need to do the basics along with the way that we play as well.
"When we get beaten, we tend to come back quite strong. We tend to resort to aggressive, smart, positive cricket. Let's hope that's the case on Tuesday."
Speaking of Malinga and Angelo Mathew’s effect, Morgan had nothing but high praise for the duo. "Lasith is a legend. He keeps doing what he knows, that's the main thing, the basic things. Those things set an example for the youngsters. He did a really good job.
"It looked like a 300 wicket, we thought it was a good, flat wicket. But when we played it seamed in the first few overs then it got slower and slower.
"Angelo, in-form, he knows how to play his role. He's a good finisher and did a good job."
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / Cricket World Cup