A 33-run defeat at the hands of Australia in Ahmedabad sealed the defending champions’ fate with no hope now of qualifying for the semi-finals after suffering their sixth defeat from seven matches at the tournament.
Buttler holed out cheaply to Cameron Green off the bowling of Adam Zampa, who claimed 3 for 21 to be named Player of the Match as Australia moved within one more victory of a knockouts berth. Buttler’s dismissal compounded a torrid tournament in which he has scored 43, 20, 9, 15, 8, 10 and now 1 – a total of 106 runs at 15.14 from 113 balls.
“I think it was the right shot to play, the execution obviously there was off,” Buttler said at the post-match presentation. “I want to be positive and take the game on. I felt that was a time to try and throw something back at the opposition.
“But yeah, I think my own form has been the biggest concern. Coming into the tournament I felt in a great space so to have not played as well as I can and in such a pivotal role that I play for the team, my poor performance with the bat has really hurt us.”
But Buttler said that hadn’t shaken his “belief”, adding at his post-match press conference: “If I stop believing in myself, I’ve got to make sure I’m the last one that does that. You guys will give up on me a lot earlier than I’ll give up on myself.”
England have two more matches, against Netherlands – with whom they are now vying for a place at the 2025 Champions Trophy – and Pakistan.
Their demise has been dramatic, with the thrilling 2019 home triumph in some ways still fresh in the mind because of that memorable final. However, it is now also a distant memory, given that the uncertainty with which England have played in India bears little resemblance to the sure-of-themselves attitude that has been a hallmark of England white-ball cricket for the best part of a decade.
“It’s certainly a low point,” Buttler said. “I’ve had a few but yeah, definitely as a captain, to be stood in this position when you arrive in India with very high hopes is incredibly tough, incredibly disappointing and yeah, it hurts a lot.
“We certainly haven’t done ourselves justice. Coming into the tournament, we fancied ourselves to have a real go at it and push whoever it was going to be all the way.
“It’s incredibly tough to reach those highs, absolutely. Everyone knows how much hard work goes into that. And even when you come up short, there’s so much hard work that goes into that. So we feel like we’ve let ourselves down. We’ve let people down at home, the people who support us through thick and thin, and you wear that on your own shoulders.”
“I’m disappointed as a player and we just haven’t been good enough in this tournament from the start really,” Moeen told Sky Sports. “Today showed the lack of confidence in the side. I thought we were a little bit better tonight and we had the best of conditions and we know we should have won this game, but these things do happen in cricket.
“I think we’ve just probably tried to do too much and, as players in particular, we try to be really aggressive and then we try to soak up a bit of pressure, but we just couldn’t do it. Even tonight, every time we tried, we were in a position where we were, ‘okay, we’re doing all right here’, we just lost two wickets quickly and then we have to try and rebuild again and then lost two wickets again.
“It’s a bit schoolboy-error but these things happen when you have no confidence as a side. And we can’t keep saying we’ve got no confidence. We’ve got to do something about it. We’ve tried. I think we’ve tried as a group of players to do that. And sometimes you get a bit internal as a person in the side and it’s never that good for the team.”
It is this lack of confidence that Moeen believes has led to poor execution.
“As a group of players and with the management we’ve tried to just, at times be like, ‘let’s go out and play our way,’ and sometimes when we’ve lost the game we’ve [said] ‘let’s go out and be harder, go harder’, which we’ve always tried to do, and we just haven’t had the confidence,” he said. “The lack of belief in the side… it’s something to say it but then to go out and do it. I don’t think we that we’ve done it.
“Lack of runs, lack of wickets, not fielding as good as we know that we can … when you haven’t got runs as an individual, you’re a little bit embarrassed of your own performances, and you can get a little bit internal, and I think we’ve done that. In the past we’ve just, I think stuck our chest out and said ‘guys, I’m going out’ and tried to take it on, and we just haven’t done it.”