England must learn from missing 'golden chance' - Root
Joe Root admitted England had let a huge opportunity to claim a first global one-day title slip away when they slumped to defeat against Pakistan, but coach Trevor Bayliss believes that finishing in the semi-finals reflected where the team currently stands.
Having completed the group stage as the only unbeaten side, England were brought crashing to earth by a superlative Pakistan bowling performance on a pitch which pushed their batting order out of their comfort zone. From the moment of Root's dismissal in the 28th over, they lost 8 for 83 in 22 overs, hitting just three boundaries after the 30-over mark.
For Root, this was the third near-miss of his career, following the 2013 Champions Trophy final against India and last year's World T20 final against West Indies, leaving England to focus on the 2019 World Cup - also on home soil - to break their duck in 50-over tournaments.
"It was a golden chance for us to win something and all we can do now is keep looking towards that World Cup and use this as a really good platform," Root said. "Throughout the whole time, Morgs [Eoin Morgan] and the rest of the guys know that we're not the finished article but we have made huge steps and huge strides.
"We've got to continue to do that and we've got to work out ways where we can get on the right side of these results and in scenarios when things aren't favourable to us. It is a good learning curve for us but we've got to keep the same drive that we've had over the last 18 months to keep getting better so that, when that World Cup does come round, we're in the best shape possible and give ourselves the best chance of really contending that final."
Bayliss, who took charge in the summer of 2015, following England's embarrassing group stage exit at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, was more sanguine about the exit despite his team's most laboured effort with the bat since they threw caution to the wind two years ago.
"I know you guys had us down as the favourites here, but that certainly wasn't out of the team or from my point of view. Where we finished, third or fourth, is probably about right at the moment, we've still got a lot of work to do and we know that, but it is what we're building towards.
"I'm still very disappointed we didn't win against Pakistan, I thought we'd been playing well enough to win, but we came up against a good side that played well."
The issue of whether England had lost their home advantage due to the abrasive nature of the used pitch at Cardiff did not come into the players' minds, according to Bayliss. Though he did cite conditions as one of the key factors in the match, he also credited the way Pakistan's bowlers hit the correct lengths for the pitch.
"It is just the way it is, you've got to play on different wickets wherever, sometimes at home and sometimes away," he said. "It is just one of those areas where we've got to improve at.
"I think the conditions did have a part to play and I thought the Pakistanis used them extremely well. I thought the lengths they bowled were what most teams try to achieve, there was very few half-volleys and very few long-hops, and that is something that we've spoken about."
Bayliss backed his team to brush off their disappointment over the next few days and focus on the second half of the season. There are three T20s against South Africa next week - the squad featuring a new of new names - leading into a four-Test series. Then, in August, West Indies arrive for a multi-format tour.
"One of the good things with this team is that we have played worse than this over the last couple of years, been knocked over easily in games and it doesn't seem to affect them," he said. "That is one of the reasons why we will keep competing at this level because they can put it to the back of their minds and go out and play their natural way the next time."
For Root, there is an immediate challenge to focus his mind as he prepares to begin his England Test captaincy. He was handed the job in February, but with the focus on one-day cricket, it has taken a back seat until now. Root is rested from the T20s against South Africa so the next time he pulls on an England shirt it will be the Lord's Test against South Africa.
"That is exciting, but I haven't really thought about it too much over the last week or so," Root said. "Certainly over the next couple of weeks I'll get my head around that and all the challenges it will bring. More importantly the opportunities it will bring as well. There is plenty to look forward to and plenty to play for."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo