England lose to India by 100 runs, with Ben Stokes making a critical error in the heavy defeat which adds to a horrendous World Cup, as the holders face an imminent exit

Ben Stokes arrived in India hoping to boost England’s title defense but ended up playing the shot that defined their fall from grace.

With England 30 for two chasing the 230 they needed to stun India and maintain a mathematical interest in the World Cup, Stokes swung at nine balls and then missed an ugly hack off Mohammed Shami.

As a partisan crowd of nearly 50,000 went berserk, the English talisman trudged away sheepishly. He had just played perhaps the worst shot of the tournament: a weary act of surrender that spoke for a demoralized team.

This was less a sporting achievement than a definition of madness, as England repeated familiar mistakes while somehow expecting a different outcome. Well, guess what? They lost. Again, this time by 100 runs, after being dismissed for 129 – their lowest total yet.

Amazingly, they are not yet out of the World Cup, although their exit is only a matter of time, and Australia would be keen to deliver the final blow on Saturday in Ahmedabad. It’s hard to see any other outcome.

Ben Stokes made a crucial mistake as he was sent off in England’s heavy defeat to India

India had chased in each of their five matches and won despite an eventual total of 229 for nine

India had chased in each of their five matches and won despite an eventual total of 229 for nine

England's fifth defeat marked their worst ever World Cup, with three games remaining

England’s fifth defeat marked their worst ever World Cup, with three games remaining

England’s latest horror show with the bat condemned them to their fifth defeat, making this their worst World Cup. And there are three more matches to follow.

Adding to the schadenfreude others felt at their demise, it emerged on Saturday that these matches will be about more than playing for pride, with the ICC belatedly pointing out that the eight places for the 2025 Champions Trophy will be determined by group placings. here.

Host nation Pakistan is assured of qualification, leaving seven other places up for grabs. England, who currently hold the 10-team table, will need to beat at least two of Australia, the Netherlands and Pakistan to avoid the humiliation of missing out.

The ICC messed up badly by not clarifying the rules at the start of the tournament, which would have given context to some of the seemingly dead matches towards the end of the marathon group stage.

A claim on their website that qualification would be determined by rankings closer to that time was said to be ‘outdated’.

It was also disbelief to hear that England had no idea that a place in the bottom two would cost them anything other than their title. Then again, perhaps nothing was stretched at all: their unhappiness continues to explore new depths.

Even their former captain Eoin Morgan has admitted defeat, telling Sky Sports before this match: “I have never come across a sporting team that has underperformed quite like this England team, given the high expectations on their shoulders.”

And Morgan ridiculed claims from within the camp that England had simply suffered a collective loss of form.

“Given how strong the team is, it doesn’t make any sense,” he said. ‘I think there’s something else going on, there has to be. England have abandoned what has worked for them for a long time – and in the space of three weeks.

Predictably, England took the opportunity to give their three 20-somethings a chance, leaving Harry Brook, Gus Atkinson and Brydon Carse on the sidelines and stuck with the side that was embarrassed by Sri Lanka in Bangalore.

In fairness, the bowlers played their best game yet, with Chris Woakes finally finding rhythm and David Willey working over Virat Kohli so skillfully that he eventually floundered until mid-off for a nine-ball duck.

Adil Rashid claimed Rohit Sharma’s big scalp, beautifully caught for 87 at deep midwicket by Liam Livingstone, and Moeen Ali also bowled neatly.

India had chased in each of their five matches, and their final total of 229 for nine could not allay fears among their supporters that they would be a less brutal proposition first.

At 30 without loss in the fifth over, England had actually made a decent start, as they had against Sri Lanka.

But in the time it took to pronounce the full name of the ground – the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium – Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah bowled Dawid Malan off the edge, before taking the first ball from Joe Root trapped with a full toss that beat his leg attempt.

Root called for a review and then made an angry gesture with his bat after third umpire Ahsan Raza decided a small tremor on Snicko was something other than a ball on a bat – possibly a boot on the turf.

Joe Root scored two half-centuries early in the World Cup but only 16 runs in the last four innings

Joe Root scored two half-centuries early in the World Cup but only 16 runs in the last four innings

Liam Livingstone's 27 was England's highest score, creeping past 100 but not much further

Liam Livingstone’s 27 was England’s highest score, creeping past 100 but not much further

Since starting with a pair of lively half-centuries against New Zealand and Bangladesh, Root has now scored 16 runs in four innings from 34 balls, a reflection of England’s decline.

With run-rate not an issue, and the dew likely to favor the batting side, Stokes might have allowed himself an extended look at the bowling. Instead, he was everywhere. Three innings here have given him 48 runs from 91 balls, and none of the expected threat.

Jonny Bairstow was bowled by Shami for 14 off the inside edge and pad, before Jos Buttler’s nightmare tournament continued when he was stunned by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav for 10. When Moeen Ali drove limply to Shami and fell behind for 15, England were 81 for six.

Livingstone’s 27 was the highest score, and it felt like a small mercy as they crept past 100, but not much further. England, soon to be ex-world champions, now survive on leftovers.