World Cup 2019: England hand India first defeat

World Cup 2019: England hand India first defeat

While there was no point going for a win after Pandya’s dismissal, India seemed to have thrown in the towel much before.  

England once again proved their mastery over the art of winning high-scoring matches, but India’s approach to the chase in the last 10 overs left a lot to be desired. It was inexplicably negative, giving up without a fight.

With 128 required off 12 overs, Hardik Pandya struck Chris Woakes, who had stifled Indian batsmen in his first spell with three consecutive maiden overs, for 16 runs to bring the chase back on track. With equation down to 95 from the last nine, Pandya and M S Dhoni appeared to have shut the door. The next four overs saw scores of 5, 7, 5 and 7 with Pandya getting out in the 45th over.

While there was no point going for a win after Pandya’s dismissal, India seemed to have thrown in the towel much before.  

Opting to bat, England batsmen had the better of exchanges against an Indian attack that had a rare off day in conditions heavily favouring the batsmen at Edgbaston on Sunday. A solid first-wicket stand of 160 runs between Jonny Bairstow (111, 109b, 10x4, 6x6) and Jason Roy (66, 57b, 7x4, 2x6) gave England the perfect launchpad for a big total while Ben Stokes’ blistering 79 (54b, 6x4, 3x6) towards the back end of the innings propelled England to 337 for seven in 50 overs.

K L Rahul was out for a nine-ball duck. While Rohit Sharma (102, 109b, 15x4) and Virat Kohli (66, 76b, 7x4) did stitch 146-run association, they left too much for the oncoming batsmen to do.

Where England were 180 for one after 25 overs, India were 120/1. Though they did outscore England in the second half, the 60-run difference was too big a gap to bridge in the end.

India appeared to be happy to play out 50 overs for their 306/5, thus suffering a 31-run defeat – their first of the tournament.

Just as Indian batsmen failed to measure up to the task, credit should also go to England’s bowlers who bowled better angles, lines and lengths on a pitch that had begun to grip in the second innings. Playing strokes wasn’t as simple as it appeared in the first innings.

Where England struck 13 sixes, exploiting the shorter boundary, India had just one which came in the final over.

India remained on 11 points and at second place after seven matches while England moved back to fourth place with 10 points. India needs just one point from their remaining two matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to make it to the semis. 

The stars seemed to have aligned for England on the day. After complaining publicly about the nature of pitches at Leeds and Lord’s, the hosts’ eyes would have lit up at the sight of a surface devoid of any life.

You had to be as accurate as Jasprit Bumrah, whose figures of 1/44 hardly did any justice to the quality of his bowling, to keep the batsmen quiet on that pitch. The wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav also came unravelled as they leaked 160 runs between them.    

England’s top order was bolstered by the return of regular opener Roy, and after adding just 47 runs in 10 overs with Bairstow, they pressed on the accelerator with Chahal and Kuldeep copping the punishment. It wasn’t until the 23rd over that India tasted their first success when Roy’s miscued hit was brilliantly caught by Jadeja.

Joe Root (44 off 55) built a small partnership (45) with Bairstow whose bruising stay ended when Mohammad Shami (5/69) returned for his second spell. The paceman sent back a hooking Eoin Morgan early as England slipped to 207/3 from 205/1. Shami, however, leaked 44 runs in his last three overs that hugely undermined his first 5-wicket haul in ODIs.

Stokes, though, continued his rich run, notching his third successive 70-plus score. Despite Bumrah giving away just 26 runs in his last five overs, England managed to push their total close to 340.

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