June 30, Sunday; 15:00 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
England probably didn’t expect the league phase of the World Cup to be smooth sailing, but they will have had little in the way of self-doubt to finish in the top four and qualify for the semi-finals. It was pretty much a no-brainer to put your money on England as one of the four semi-finalists. And to reaffirm their status as a favourite to win the tournament, Eoin Morgan and co. won four of their first five fixtures, by pretty comfortable margins too.
But as South Africa found out very early in the tournament, losing back-to-back fixtures is not just bad for the confidence but also can hamper your qualification chances. The Proteas began their World Cup campaign with back-to-back defeats against England and Bangladesh and were, by the third match (which was against India), pretty much in a do-or-die territory for the rest of this long-drawn league phase. England knew their last three fixtures were against Australia, India and New Zealand, but the defeat to Sri Lanka threw a spanner in the works and left them needing two wins from the three massive contests.
As Morgan said after the 64-run loss to Australia, England remain in control of qualification, but the must-win matches against India and New Zealand in the next four days will be significant tests of their character.
Jason Roy’s expected return to the playing 11 for Sunday, after recovering from a torn muscle in his left hamstring, is a significant boost for England, who didn’t get good starts to their run-chases against Sri Lanka and Australia. Whether the Surrey opener, who’s averaging 71.66 with the bat in this World Cup, continues his early-tournament form remains to be seen, but England missed Roy’s dynamism at the top of the order. Roy will also lift England’s fielding standards after an overall poor display against Australia.
The conditions in Edgbaston will be different from Lord’s, where, on a bowler-friendly pitch against Australia, England’s bowlers were guilty of being on the shorter side with the new ball. Against an Indian batting line-up not too dissimilar from Australia’s and with a touch of over-reliance on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli (and Shikhar Dhawan ruled out with a left thumb fracture), Jofra Archer and co. cannot err with their lengths again and allow either Rohit or Kohli to ease their way into the innings.
India, unlike their opponent, aren’t in a must-win situation, but it’s another test of own their own credentials. The Indian players and the team management will have long been looking forward to this fixture, purely because of the challenge that England, of all teams, present with their comprehensive batting line-up and a bowling attack with plenty of ammunition. Kohli and co. come have overcome stiff challenges against Afghanistan and the West Indies, and have the incentive of sealing a spot in the semi-finals.
Weather forecast and pitch report
The forecast says Sunday will have intervals of clouds and sunshine with a maximum of 21-degree Celsius.
The Edgbaston pitch for the two matches so far—New Zealand against South Africa and New Zealand against Pakistan—has been on the drier side and inconducive for strokeplay. It offered appreciable turn for the spinners when Pakistan played New Zealand on Tuesday, resembling somewhat of a fourth or fifth-day surface in a Test match. A new pitch will be used for Sunday’s match between India and England and with plenty of sunshine in the days before, you can expect the pitch to be more batsman-friendly.
India vs England Dream11 team prediction
Rohit Sharma, Jason Roy, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Hardik Pandya, Jofra Archer, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
India’s probable playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 MS Dhoni (wk), 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Vijay Shankar/Rishabh Pant/Dinesh Karthik, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
England’s probable playing 11: 1 Eoin Morgan (c), 2 Jason Roy, 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Joe Root, 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Jofra Archer, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood
England will feel the pressure of a must-win match and it’s a situation not too dissimilar from the 2015 World Cup for a majority of those (Morgan, Buttler, Root, Moeen, and Woakes) who played in that Bangladesh match at Adelaide Oval. Despite the adversity, this England team has the talent, experience, and the X-factor to beat an equally strong Indian side. With emotions as much at play, as cricketing skills and the talent in the ranks, this could be a close contest.