Cricket World Cup 2023 IND vs ENG | On-a-roll India raring to extend its dream run against sinking England

Amusement on the go: Kohli and Gill are in a happy frame of mind on the eve of the England clash.

Amusement on the go: Kohli and Gill are in a happy frame of mind on the eve of the England clash.
| Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

The labyrinth of roads criss-crossing Lucknow’s heart are dotted with heritage buildings, harking back to a bygone era. The other end of the spectrum has contemporary streets and suburbs with their skyscrapers. Modern pizzas and ancient tunday kebabs jostle together in a multi-layered culinary landscape.

In this city imbued with history’s footprints, India takes on England in a World Cup game at the Ekana Stadium here on Sunday. The host gets another chance to extend its winning run. Be it Shubman Gill’s absence in the initial two games or Hardik Pandya’s current hibernation, Rohit Sharma’s men have found a way to stay afloat and land their punches.

Squaring against India is a rival, weighed down by the defending champion tag and bruised by four losses. A lone win over Bangladesh remains a mild palliative balm. England’s Bazball swagger in Tests has gone missing in ODIs under a different coaching structure.

Nosedived

Jos Buttler’s men won the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia last year. However, while transitioning into this year’s conventional World Cup, the performance has nosedived and their mighty words have become bluster. No England player features in the current top-10 run-getters or wicket-takers’ list in this World Cup.

Ben Stokes nursed an injury and still turned up but his usual propensity to script miracles is yet to surface. The sands of time are running out fast for the visitors and a turnaround against India could be a booster dose even if a last-four berth remains a vague proposition.

If England seeks a reversal of fortunes, India needs to stay in its triumphant cocoon. Five wins on the trot is a tribute to the squad’s consistency and those brief testing phases against Australia and New Zealand were effectively countered. A lot rides on Rohit, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja. The quartet has been vital while the others had their moments.

Talking tactics: Dravid and Rohit having a discussion ahead of the match.

Talking tactics: Dravid and Rohit having a discussion ahead of the match.
| Photo Credit:
DEEPAK KR

Gill and Shreyas Iyer, all fluid runs and inexplicable dismissals, need to stay tight. In the bowling flank, Mohammed Siraj had the odd dull phase, but overall has been an apt foil to Bumrah. With Mohammed Shami too being a part of the playing eleven, India has a fine pace trio.

The middle-over strangle may not have been fully implemented against New Zealand at Dharamshala as Kuldeep Yadav went for runs and it remains to be seen if the brown texture of the playing surface here forces the management to further augment its spin resources with R. Ashwin. Like this city’s Burma biscuits with their eternal flavour notes, India too would prefer a sense of longevity in its winning path while England wants a dalliance with hope.

The teams (from):

India: Rohit Sharma (Capt.), K.L. Rahul (wk), Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav.

England: Jos Buttler (Capt. & wk), Joe Root, Harry Brook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Gus Atkinson, Adil Rashid and Brydon Carse.

Umpires: Rodney Tucker and Adrian Holdstock; Third umpire: Ahsan Raza; Match referee: Richie Richardson.

Match starts at 2 p.m.

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