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'Don't panic!': Joe Root calls for calm after England's stumble against Pakistan

Root scored the first century in the 2019 tournament but was unable to help his side complete the highest World Cup run-chase

George Dobell
George Dobell
Joe Root has urged England "not to panic" after their 14-run defeat at the hands of Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
Root became the first man to register a century in the 2019 tournament but was unable to help his side complete the highest successful run-chase in World Cup history. With Jos Buttler he added 130 for England's fifth wicket but, with only one other man in the top seven reaching 20, Root admitted they left themselves "a little bit too much to do".
But while he accepted England "definitely weren't as good" in the field as they should have been, Root called on his team-mates to "stick to the way we go about things" in the remainder of the tournament. England went into the World Cup as the No. 1-ranked ODI side having not lost a bilateral series at home since 2015.
"The most important thing now for us as a group is not to panic," Root said. "We know what works for us as a formula and as a team, but other sides are allowed to play well. We've got to make sure we learn quickly and bounce back at Cardiff
"In the field we definitely weren't as good as we were in the first game, that's for sure."
Root's call for calm looks pertinent. England did look anxious in the field on Monday. Just as they appeared to suffer a bout of stage-fright in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy in Cardiff in 2017, it seemed the expectation of going into this tournament - and in particular the Pakistan game - as favourites was weighing on their mind. Their fielding was uncharacteristically untidy while there were moments when they appeared tetchy with each other, the opposition and even the crowd.
And given it seems likely that teams will qualify for the semi-finals despite two or even three defeats, the consequences of this result mean that England will have to win at least one of their games against strong-looking New Zealand, Australia and India.
But while Root accepted Monday's result might spread some tension within the squad, he insisted there were plenty of games left for England to bounce back from the performance and they should stick to the aggressive approach that had served them well in recent times.
"The temptation is to get a little bit tense," Root said. "But one of our great strengths as a side is sticking to the way we go about things and being as smart as possible.
"And the beauty of this format is that I do believe the best four teams over the tournament will qualify for the semi-finals and we've got to make sure we play some good cricket in our remaining games.
"One thing this side doesn't do very often is to make the same mistake twice and I'm sure the guys will make sure it's a very different performance against Bangladesh."
Some of England's problems at Trent Bridge can fairly easily be consigned to history. Jason Roy, for example endured an absolute stinker of a game on Monday. Not only did he drop a relatively simple - and costly - chance (Mohammad Hafeez on 14; he went on to top-score with 84), but he was out cheaply and squandered a review in the process. To rub salt in the wound, he was subsequently fined by the ICC for swearing following another mis-field.
But Roy has been in outstanding form of late. He had passed 50 in each of his previous four ODIs and had scored centuries in two of his most recent six. Only a few days ago, he was being lauded for his exceptionally good fielding in the victory over South Africa. The game remains a great leveller, but there is no particular reason to fret over Roy's form.
Of greater long-term concern is the batting form of Moeen Ali. Since the start of 2018, Moeen has averaged just 16.77 with the bat in 35 ODIs. In those 25 innings - three of them unbeaten - he has not passed 46 and has failed to reached 20 on 18 occasions.
He did, however, bowl very well on Monday. He utilised the cross-wind to gain pleasing drift, finishing with the highly creditable figures of 3 for 50 from his 10 overs; the most economical bowler (who delivered more than three overs) in the match.
It may well prove a performance good enough to keep him in the side. But with Liam Dawson in the squad and in form, England have started to contemplate a change. With their next match to be played at Cardiff, with its unusually short, straight boundaries, there is also a chance England will go into the match against Bangladesh with just one spinner. Dawson made his ODI debut on the ground in 2016, playing as the lone spinner.
But it is that issue of nerves and anxiety that may prove most relevant. England have been building to this tournament for four years. Their success in it is seen as crucial in reviving interest in the game in England and Wales. It is a hefty responsibility to carry and, on Monday, it showed.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo