World Cup 2019: India looks to continue their unbeaten run against England

Updated: Jun 30, 2019, 07:55 IST | Santosh Suri |

Unbeaten India look to continue winning momentum and grab semi-finals spot when they take on England

MS Dhoni at the Edgbaston nets in Birmingham on Saturday. Pics/PTI
MS Dhoni at the Edgbaston nets in Birmingham on Saturday. Pics/PTI

Birmingham: India will take on England wearing their predominantly saffron "away" jersey at Edgbaston today in a game that has become most crucial in this World Cup as the fate of four teams depends on its outcome. Three sub-continental sides — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — will be praying in unison for India's victory as it will keep their own thin hopes of making the semi-finals alive. As for the home side, they desperately need to pocket two points to remain in the hunt for a Top-4 finish.

India under less pressure

India for once are under relatively less pressure in this game as they are comfortably placed second in the points table with five wins and a washout in six matches so far and have two more games, against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in hand. Thus, they are well on the road to the knockouts. India, who will ease into the Top-4 after today's victory, would like to go into the semi-finals as the top team in the league stage as that will earn them the right to play the No. 4 team at Manchester.

India, though, have had issues in the last two games with their middle-order which has struggled after the openers have departed early. Time is running out for them to resolve the middle-order muddle before they hit the knockouts. However, skipper Virat Kohli was far from worried about the lack of runs from the bats for No. 4 and 5. On the match eve he said that just because the batsmen had not come good in couple of matches there was no need to tinker with the batting order. Going by his view, it seems that India will retain the same XI for the England game and hope that Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav hit a purple patch as the tournament enters the business end.

As for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, though he has recovered sufficiently, he will continue to sit on the bench after Mohammed Shami has had two brilliant games against Afghanistan and West Indies. As the weather is quite warm and the pitch quite dry, India will continue to play the two wrist spinners, despite Kuldeep Yadav's varied success against England during last summer's tour of the UK.

England were the pre-tournament favourites, but their fortunes have taken a hit after they have unexpectedly lost three games and are now in a desperate position to win their remaining two games, the last one against New Zealand. Their batting has come unstuck in those defeats and are looking forward to the now-fit Jason Roy's inclusion in the XI. Roy is an explosive opener and he is looked upon to give the team a blistering start for the others to build upon.

Run feast on cards?

The flat pitch is expected to be full of runs, thus the team winning the toss will surely like to bat first and put the rivals under pressure of a huge total, especially as the wicket will likely aid the spinners later in the game. With England desperate for a win and India looking to continue their unbeaten run, it will be a cracker of a game in front of a full house today.

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