England take on India a thrilling World Cup clash at Edgbaston in Birmingham
India will look to extend their unbeaten run and attain the top spot when they take on an already disintegrated England on June 30th's high-profile World Cup encounter at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
With an unbeaten record in the World Cup so far, Virat Kohli's men are all but through to the semi-finals with 11 points. A win against England will not only solidify its position at the top of the table but will also eliminate the host nation from the competition.
Initially, England were considered the favourites to win the tournament; however, Eoin Morgan's men failed to show up in crucial games, which has now brought them to the verge of exit with only eight points from seven games.
It is hard, but it seems as if the 'Sky Blue' of England has been covered by thick grey cloud with no silver lining on the horizon.
It is indeed tragic to see England's best ODI team in recent history, with the likes of Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer in their ranks, facing an imminent exit.
Sunday's encounter at Birmingham's Edgbaston with a capacity Indian crowd could be rather unsettling for a team which is already under severe pressure from all quarters.
In fact, it increased exponentially after Jonny Bairstow's dig at former England captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen. "People were waiting for us to fail," Bairstow told reporters.
"They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss, so they can jump on your throat. It's a typical English thing to do, in every sport," Bairstow's comments prior to the India game didn't go down well with Vaughan, who countered, calling it a "negative, pathetic mindset" in an Instagram post.
For India, it couldn't have been a better time to square off with the Poms who could again be unsettled by conditions which are expected to be predominantly sub-continental. There's bright sunshine, the baked pitch on the drier side with the promise of more turn than usual.
Playing two wrist spinners in these conditions along with a lethal Jasprit Bumrah could well spell doom for an English side, which has fluffed its lines while chasing against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
In fact, Morgan's approach of moving towards leg stump against a fast and furious Mitchell Starc during Lord's game prompted Kevin Pietersen to question whether the skipper is "scared".
England, however, could take solace from the fact that they beat India 2-1 in their last bilateral series at home but an injured Bumrah didn't feature in that series.
The Indian team, however, will not be over strategizing about the English team as pacer Mohammed Shami pointed out.
"Rather than thinking about opposition, it is better that we focus on our own skills. If our skill level is good, we would not need to even think about the opposition," Shami, who has taken 8 wickets in 2 games, said after mauling the West Indies.
The best part about the Indian team is that they haven't yet played their best cricket and still have managed to win games with consummate ease. The middle-order batting still remains a concern and Vijay Shankar's performance at number four certainly makes him a weak link.
The team management has shown no inclination to field the exciting Rishabh Pant so far.
"They have invested in a youngster like Shankar. The team management feels he is important to their plans so no harm in persisting with him. Moreover, the team is winning handsomely so they have the right to continue with a winning combination," former skipper Sourav Ganguly said during a chat with PTI.
It was a young Ganguly, who wrote England's epitaph with an all-round show at this very ground at the 1999 World Cup.
It could well be a Rohit Sharma, a Kohli or a Hardik Pandya, who will put the final nail in English coffin this time around.
Where to watch live: The match starts at 3 pm IST. It will be broadcast live on the StarSports network in India. Online viewers can log in to Hotstar for all the live action.
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham
Pitch Report and conditions: The Edgbaston track is not easy to bat on. The average score in the last two ODIs (match 25 and match 33 of this World Cup) has been 241. Expecting a 300+ total will be too far fetched. The weather gods are expected to remain kind on the players. Sun should shine bright all through the course of the match.
Team News: Although Bhuvneshwar Kumar has started practising with the team in the nets he is unlikely to start. Jason Roy will sit out for England.
England possible XI: Eoin Morgan (c), Adil Rashid, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer
India possible XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (c), Vijay Shanka, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya
Players to watch out for
Eoin Morgan (ENG)
Earlier in the tournament, English skipper Eion Morgan hammered a hundred off just 57 balls. It was the fourth fastest century in the history of World Cup. In that innings Morgan blasted a record 17 sixes. With chips down, Morgan could come up with a special performance to help his side win a crunch fixture.
Virat Kohli (IND)
Virat Kohli's last four ODI innings reads 72, 67, 77 and 82. Kohli is the first Indian captain to score four consecutive World Cup fifties. Overall Kohli equalled South Africa's Graeme Smith and Australia's Aaron Finch to become the third captain in Cricket World Cup history to hit four back to back half centuries. Although, Kohli has scored fifties for fun in this World Cup a century eludes the master batsman. Perhaps this could be the match when Kohli comes up with a century and spoil England's plan.
Betting Odds (bet365)
Other possible bets on the match can be checked on Oddschecker
Although, England are going are struggling at the moment but their pre-World Cup form should not be discounted. India are the only unbeaten side in this World Cup. This is a high profile game where the outcome is difficult to predict. But entertainment is guaranteed.The Great Diwali Discount!
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