Preview – In form India’s bowling strength gives them an edge against mighty England
About two weeks back no one would have thought that tournament favorites England might have their semi-final hopes in danger. But that is precisely how it is as England, who has 8 points from 7 games and are 4th in the points table, now need to win their last two remaining matches to enter the knockout stage of the ICC World Cup 2019.
After back-to-back losses against Sri Lanka and Australia, England’s World Cup plans have been jolted, and they would need to be at their best when they face off against India on June 30 at Edgbaston. India, meanwhile, despite not being at their best batting-wise, have been winning games and are still the only unbeaten team in the tournament. They now have 11 points in 6 games at a Net Run Rate of +1.160 (the best in the tourney at the moment) and need one win out of their last three matches to make it to the semis.
It will be a clash between the No.1 and No.2 side in ODI cricket and has the makings of being the match of the tournament.
England’s batting has been found wanting in the last couple of games. And they would like for Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and Ben Stokes to come good against India. Ben Stokes is in excellent batting form and will be holding the innings together again. However, the lack of form of Moeen Ali and James Vince would worry them.
England’s bowling has been decent with Mark Wood and Jofra Archer leading the way. Ben Stokes has been doing a great job too, but Chris Woakes and leg-spinner Adil Rashid have been useful only in patches. To exploit India’s fragile middle-order, they would need to be better than they have been.
India, meanwhile, would be focusing on their batting unit. While skipper Virat Kohli has been in terrific form, scoring four back-to-back fifties but hasn’t got much support from the others. Opener KL Rahul has been getting starts but not converting them into significant scores. Rohit Sharma has a good record against England and is in good form currently.
India’s only concern is their fragile middle-order. Vijay Shankar looks entirely out of place at No.4. Kedar Jadhav has been inconsistent, and MS Dhoni takes a lot of time to get going. This weakness has to be addressed and can cost them dearly against a side like England.
India’s bowling, though, has been majestic. Jasprit Bumrah has been outstanding, and Mohammad Shami has been sensational in the two matches he has played. India’s spin twins – Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – have been choking oppositions smartly and would be eager to do the same against England.
Pitch conditions and match prediction:
The pitch at Edgbaston has produced some high-scoring games but is also known to assist spinners and seamers. The World Cup 2019 game between New Zealand and Pakistan on this venue was a low-scoring match where run-making was difficult.
While this will be a new pitch, we can expect a real surface with something for the batsmen and bowlers both. The average total batting first at Edgbaston is 227 and if the spinners get a grip in this game, then expect the score to be the range of 260-270.
England is the home side, is still a reliable team, and would be coming hard. However, India’s bowling gives them the edge in this high-octane clash.