Cricket

2019 Cricket World Cup – England crush India; set up photo finish for final four

England reignited their 2019 Cricket World Cup with a comprehensive victory over the hitherto unbeaten Indian side – a result which keeps England’s chances of making the Semi Finals in their own hands – and means India have to wait a little longer for their own final four status to be confirmed.

Having lost three of their seven games, and seeing Pakistan take fourth spot from the host nation thanks to their wins over New Zealand and then Afghanistan, England knew they had to beat India – a team unbeaten so far in the 2019 tournament and one they hadn’t beaten in any World Cup match since 1992.

Win they needed to do…and win they did with a performance that ranks as good as any seen so far and one that re-establishes confidence that England are still one of, if not the, top ODI sides in the world. Jason Roy (above) came back into the side for the ineffective James Vince and straight away England looked better for it. England won an important toss and batted first – and immediately put the superb Indian bowling attack on the back foot with some aggressive batting, showing no signs of insecurity or pressure.

Roy and opening batting partner Jonny Bairstow (above) – himself with something to prove after some ill advised comments in the direction of Michael Vaughan – put on an opening stand of 160 in just 22 thrilling overs before Roy was finally dismissed. But Bairstow didn’t miss a beat, racing to his hundred and eventual innings of 111 that included ten boundaries and six sixes at a strike rate of 101.83. England would eventually finish on 337/7, with Ben Stokes again showing his superb form with 79 from just 54 deliveries.

It would mean the highest successful run chase in World Cup history if India, in front of a partisan crowd, were to remain unbeaten. But England were as good with the ball as they were with the bat, and despite a great second wicket stand between Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, India were soon way behind the run rate and the game overall.

Kohli was dismissed for 66 – his fifth consecutive 50 in this World Cup – but he has yet to convert any of those into hundreds – 82 against Australia being his high score so far. Sharma went on to complete his hundred, but was dismissed just two runs later and that seemed to deflate the Indian balloon, who, despite some tenacious blows from Hardik Pandya (above), never really threatened the English target and rather went through the motions, batting out the 50 overs rather than throwing caution to the wind, much to the chagrin of their huge support in the stands and, no doubt, back at home.

For England, they will care not a jot – gaining a huge, crucial, two points and a massive boost of confidence having knocked out the last unbeaten team.

The win means England will now certainly qualify for the Semi Finals should they beat New Zealand in their last group stage game on Wednesday (July 3). However, no laurels can be rested on as New Zealand also will need to win that game to ensure they qualify. Its a win and in scenario for both.

Waiting to pounce are Pakistan – who will need a victory over Bangladesh in their own final game. The dream for Pakistan, assuming they do prevail, would be a New Zealand win, as this will eliminate England on points gained alone. If England win and Pakistan do, it will go to net run rate as to who will finish fourth and make the Semi Finals between NZ and Pakistan.

All that….and there is still a scenario where Bangladesh can qualify – they need to win their last two games (vs India and Pakistan) and then, similar to Pakistan, either better England’s total with a loss to New Zealand – or have a better NRR than New Zealand should they lose to England. But a loss to either India or Pakistan signals the end of the road for the brave Bangladesh side.

It makes for a fascinating and highly intense, exciting, conclusion to the group stages which so far have delivered on virtually every front. Great pitches, exciting finishes, superb atmospheres and fine displays with both the bat and ball – and theres still the knockout phase to come.

What theatre.

ENGLAND v INDIA – MATCH SUMMARY 

  • ENGLAND BATTING : 337/7 (Bairstow 111, Stokes 79, Roy 66, Root 44)
  • INDIA BOWLING : Shami 5/69, Bumrah 1/44, Yadav 1/72
  • INDIA BATTING : 306/5 (Sharma 102, Kohli 66, Pandya 45, Dhoni 42 n.o)
  • ENGLAND BOWLING : Plunkett 3/55, Woakes 2/58)
  • TOSS : England won – chose to bat
  • VENUE : Edgbaston, Birmingham
  • RESULT : England won by 31 runs
  • DATE : Sunday June 30th.