ICC World Cup 2019: India give up fight to hand England a lifeline | Cricket News

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BIRMINGHAM: India finally met their match in the World Cup as England, playing like a team possessed, ended their unbeaten run in the tournament at Edgbaston on Sunday.

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England, in a do-or-die situation, batted, bowled and fielded as if their lives depended on it. After the batsmen had run away to a formidable total of 337/7, England’s bowlers showed discipline and were backed by livewire fielding to restrict India to 306/5.

Chris Woakes’s opening spell of 5-2-8-1 meant India could not get off to a flyer. Rohit Sharma, who took time to settle, and Virat Kohli worked hard to keep the team in the game with a 138-run stand for the second wicket. But Kohli got out at the wrong time, after making his fifth consecutive fifty of the World Cup. Sharma was dismissed soon after completing his century and the challenge was more or less over.

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Rishabh Pant, making his Cup debut, and Hardik Pandya kept the full house, where Indians easily outnumbered host fans, entertained with some lusty blows but the task became too big in the end. The big shots eluded MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav too as the game limped to the end.

That the first and only six of the Indian innings came in the last over tells a story. England, thus, keep their hopes alive for a semifinal berth with the 31-run victory. India will now try to qualify for the knockouts in their next game against Bangladesh, here on Tuesday.

What a big difference just one player can make to a team. England took the risk of playing Jason Roy, said not out of the woods on the fitness front, having missed three World Cup games. The risk paid handsome dividends as Roy’s early onslaught on the Indian bowling helped England shake off the jitters. The hosts needed some early inspiration against the No. 1 ranked team in the world after Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to bat. The impetus came through the Roy-Jonny Bairstow opening stand of 160 in just 22.1 overs.

Highest World Cup totals for India while chasing:

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With momentum achieved and bowlers put on the back foot, the hosts capitalised further, courtesy a late assault by Ben Stokes on what was a very good batting track.

Roy started with a bang, cracking two fours off Mohammed Shami in the first over of the match itself, showing no rustiness despite being out of action for more than a fortnight.

Bairstow, who was edgy to begin with, grew in confidence in the company of his regular partner. Bairstow soon overtook Roy with a flurry of strokes as India looked clueless. They had a chance to dismiss Roy when he was at 21 but failed to call for the DRS. Replays showed that he had gloved an attempted pull off Hardik Pandya. It proved costly.

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Both Roy and Bairstow gave Jasprit Bumrah respect but were harsh on other bowlers, especially the spinners. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav were clobbered and ended up giving away 160 in their 20 overs. In fact, Chahal’s 88 off 10 is the most runs leaked by an Indian spinner in an ODI.

England batsman employed the reverse sweep to great effect against the spinners. It was reminiscent of Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting sweeping Indian spinners out of the game in the 1987 World Cup semifinal.

Roy and Bairstow were cautious in the beginning as 47 came off the first 10. The next 10 went for a whopping 98 as the spinners and Pandya proved completely ineffective.

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After Roy got out for 66, Bairstow continued to torment India, soon reaching his eighth ODI century.

At the halfway mark, England were 180 for one and a score in excess of 350 looked possible. But after Bairstow’s dismissal for 111, England lost some momentum as Shami took a bagful of wickets. Stokes (79 off 54 balls), however, ensured that England reach what was more than a substantial total.



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