World Cup Match 38 – England vs India

It’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. Still in the group stage, England are near enough already playing the knock out stages, following Pakistan’s last gasp win over Afghanistan. It wasn’t meant to be this way, with the ECB expressing their determination four years ago to prioritise the one day side over the Test team, and with an undoubtedly powerful England batting order smashing teams to all parts in the years running up to the tournament. Whatever the cause, it’s gone rather wrong here, and instead of a serene march to the knockout stage, England instead will probably have to win against both India and New Zealand to get through.

There have been some items of misfortune – Jason Roy tearing a hamstring was less than ideal, but England have also brought much of it on themselves, both on and off the pitch. The removal of Alex Hales from the squad looks like so much hubris, and did so at the time. Certainly, a case could be made for it being principled, but since principles are a movable feast within the ECB hierarchy, it was hard to accept that at face value, particularly given the mess made of it. It smacked of expediency at the time and looks unwise now. It’s certainly not to say that England wouldn’t still be in this position with him in the side, but it is to say that assuming that England were so powerful it wasn’t much of a risk to kick him out has deservedly come back to bite them. Not for the first time either, and as ever, one is left wondering whether the same action would have been taken with a player deemed more critical to the team at the time.

Instead, James Vince played, showing all the shots, and getting out. His lack of permanence, the situation in which England find themselves in and the lack of a decent understudy all mean that England are quite likely to take a risk on playing Jason Roy today. He’s certainly needed.

Jonny Bairstow’s comments in the media did have a kernel of truth in them, for it is certainly the case that the media are always quick to leap on failure, but it isn’t the media that have lost three games already, and it isn’t the media who have put England under such pressure at such an early stage, they’ve managed that all by themselves. Failure is inevitably going to attract criticism, whether from former players, the media or fans, and particularly so when England’s tag as favourites at the start of the competition did have at least some grounds for it.

Now, England are perfectly capable of winning against India, and indeed against New Zealand too. Indeed, they’re quite capable of winning the next four and lifting the World Cup, but as things stand, and given the uncertainty in the side, it’s not something anyone would feel too confident about. Perhaps in some ways it benefits them to focus minds on the next game rather than any further than that. And should they win both group matches remaining, they’ll be battle hardened in a way that none of the other teams are. This is what’s known as taking the positives.

Should England lose though, there is the added awkwardness in the ECB’s decision to effectively abolish 50 over cricket as a top level domestic competition from next year, and if for no other reason the ECB will be praying that England pull the fat out of the fire this time around to avoid even more awkward questions about future World Cups. That’s one for the future, for today it’s simply about finding a way to win, on an Edgbaston pitch that may well be conducive to spin again.

Comments below


47 thoughts on “World Cup Match 38 – England vs India

  1. Giles Falconer Jun 30, 2019 / 8:09 am

    In 2023 England won’t enter the next World Cup (50 overs), but instead be the only country hosting the initial world ‘100’ competition which will, the ECB will assure us, be bigger and better and SO much easier for mums & kids to watch…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grenville Jun 30, 2019 / 8:16 am

      And they will still lose.


  2. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 8:22 am

    It’s not just dropping Hales, it’s picking Vince.
    Root, Ali, Stokes (or even Woakes) are all people who you can make a solid case would do better opening than Vince has done, but that juggling still leaves us a batsman light. I’m sort of mind-boggled that after all the prep of the last 4 years, Vince was the reserve batsman and there seems to be no-one else to call up, even for a middle order slot.


    • dArthez Jun 30, 2019 / 8:43 am

      Bit of the opposite problem of South Africa. Try everyone lower in the order, discard them all, and eventually rock up with people who hardly played ODIs in the past few years (van der Dussen, Morris, Pretorius, Ngidi, Shamsi, who is rather average even by South African standards). Sadly, they still held on to people who should not have been near the side (Duminy, Miller, Amla as he is past it). Which was a recipe for spectacular failure.

      England picked the same 15 for 4 years, more or less, and when injuries / stupidity hit, they have no idea who to pick as their replacements. It is extremely doubtful that Vince ought to have been next in line, especially since he was already hopelessly worked out at Test level. And it is not like the bowlers in the latter stages would be bowling filth at England. That is selling the likes of Boult, Starc, Cummins, Bumrah, Shami short.

      Moeen has been pretty horrible with the willow down the order for some time, and is having issues with the short ball. Not exactly a great idea to open with him, if you want to breeze to 50/0 inside 10 overs. And while Root could do the job opening, on anything but a featherbed his dismissal may well mean that half the brains in the side are dismissed first ball on a wicket with something for the bowlers (Stokes being the other batsman who can adapt his game to the wicket). Stokes for the same reason is a no-go. So of the options you listed, Woakes is probably the best bet. Not ideal, but better than the alternatives.

      So given the situation, I would indeed probably pick Woakes to open, and then pick an extra bowler to contain the runs / pick up wickets. If you have to get over the line due to the runs #10 and #11 score, you would have gotten over the line if the bowling had been a bit better in all likelihood.


  3. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 8:28 am

    I feel pretty gloomy about this game from an England pov.

    You can hope to get some key batsmen out early, as India look a bit light: Sharma, Kohli, Pandya – just 3 super danger men. Dhoni is now operating at a slower clockspeed, so before the last 5 overs, it seems not so dangerous.

    But… come to the other side of the coin:

    Bumrah, Shami, Chahal, Kuldeep.

    Looking really tough for an England team not full of batting confidence.


    • LordCanisLupus Jun 30, 2019 / 9:05 am

      England bat. Morgan thinks it won’t take spin. Pant is playing. Plunkett in. Roy in.


  4. Mark Jun 30, 2019 / 9:46 am

    The problem has been that England have looked shoddy in all parts of their game. Their fielding was dismal against Pakistan, and they allowed them to get at least thirty runs more than they should have done with numerous dropped catches.

    Against SL what was required was common sense. A modest total on a difficult pitch required them to adjust to conditions, and get their heads down and just let the top six break the back of the score playing sensible cricket. The fact they went out as if they had to get them in 30 overs was ridiculous. Strangely it was Stokes who showed restraint, and what could be done.

    As for today…..anything could happen. The pitch is apparently flat, and good, & England have decided to bat first so they could blast away to 350 odd. Or struggle to make 250.

    Amused that India will play in Orange so as not to “clash” with England’s completely different light blue. Cricket now descends into the marketing hell of the football away kits saga.

    I hope Australia will always play in yellow, NZ in black, and WI in maroon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jomesy Jun 30, 2019 / 10:05 am

    “one is left wondering whether the same action would have been taken with.”

    I’m beyond wondering!


    • jomesy Jun 30, 2019 / 11:19 am

      “one is left wondering whether the same action would have been taken with a player deemed more critical to the team at the time.”


  6. Glenn Jun 30, 2019 / 10:12 am

    I like the India kit – although they probably should have gone for all navy.

    I don’t think Afghanistan understood the concept of an away kit!


  7. Sean Jun 30, 2019 / 10:25 am

    England and Jason Roy got lucky there, big time…


  8. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 10:29 am

    Good start by England.

    If I were grasping at straws I’d say that maybe India might be a little too relaxed for this game, knowing that they can qualify just by beating Bangla or SL.


  9. dArthez Jun 30, 2019 / 11:49 am

    Wow, England can bat on a road. We have known that for four years.

    How exciting. Looks like the pitch is slowing down quite a bit, so may well prove to be a ‘win toss = win game’ game.


  10. jomesy Jun 30, 2019 / 11:55 am

    That was an atrocious shot from YJB … he might as well have declared his innings.


  11. jomesy Jun 30, 2019 / 12:00 pm

    Utter shite from Morgan too. It’s like watching children play.


    • jomesy Jun 30, 2019 / 12:01 pm

      Actually I apologise to the children – that wasn’t fair.


  12. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 12:03 pm

    India might have been better to not get Morgan out, he looked very treacly.


  13. Deep Purple Fred Jun 30, 2019 / 5:03 pm

    India 4/253 need 11 an over, they’re screwed. But Dhoni just came in, and he’s just clearing his throat, so I guess it’s victory India at a well judged trot now.


  14. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 5:24 pm

    Something sad about watching Dhoni overcome with age.
    He looks massively weary. He can’t seem to stir himself to go after every ball.


  15. man in a barrel Jun 30, 2019 / 5:26 pm

    So Roy didn’t do any fielding having batted his innings and coming in injured. I thought the ICC had cleaned up on such nonsense.


    • thelegglance Jun 30, 2019 / 5:28 pm

      I imagine England said something along the lines of “oh no, he’s twisted his ankle. Totally unrelated…”


    • dArthez Jun 30, 2019 / 5:33 pm

      It is all left to the discretion of the umpire. Which is wrong, and leads to preferential treatment of select players / countries.

      Honestly, they should institute the rule (especially for Tests) that for the first 30 minutes you’ll be fielding a man down, unless you agree that whoever is substituted will not take any further part in the Test (so when someone is concussed or has broken a leg, the fielding side does not take an additional penalty, but for frivolous I want to talk to the coach after my opening spell you do). For ODIs that means forcefully sitting out the next game. Then we’ll see how serious these injuries really are.

      Currently the side batting first gets a massive advantage, since injuries sustained while fielding in the first innings do not mean one can replace whatever batsman is injured.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 5:41 pm

        Agree. It’s yet another subtle advantage to the side batting first (unless the pitch is really a bowler’s paradise.) I’d throw in that you get to see what bowling lengths the pitch suits. And chasing in England is often really hard as in the last couple of hours the sun gets weak and the moisture comes in and batting gets harder.

        (That didn’t happen today, but you can definitely see it in some games.)


      • Quebecer Jun 30, 2019 / 5:42 pm

        Yes, but we probably wouldn’t have won otherwise, would we?

        Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca Jun 30, 2019 / 5:47 pm

      He got hit on the arm and went off for a scan apparently.


      • man in a barrel Jun 30, 2019 / 5:55 pm

        I guess we can rely on the England medical team to get him fit for Wednesday


  16. Quebecer Jun 30, 2019 / 5:30 pm

    Interesting seeing India getting them in singles…


    • Deep Purple Fred Jun 30, 2019 / 5:41 pm

      OK, I could have sworn I saw a comment from lupis the other day that said India was match fixing a result. Now you seem to be suggesting that India was facilitating England’s path?
      Utterly ridiculous, except I don’t know what’s impossoble these days anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Jun 30, 2019 / 5:47 pm

        I just found those last overs as weird as f*** to listen to. I was 75% of the way there with LCL when he said the Ind v Afg match felt like a charade.

        I’m struggling with Occam’s Razor. I can’t find a logical explanation for that kind of batting with five wickets left.


        • dArthez Jun 30, 2019 / 5:57 pm

          That is until you entertain the thought that ACSU are not interested in stopping corruption in cricket if it benefits the ICC …

          Once you do that, well, the thoughts won’t be pretty.


      • Deep Purple Fred Jun 30, 2019 / 6:09 pm

        5 down with Dhoni at the crease, and something like 9 or 10 an over doesn’t seem beyond India, on a flat pitch. Winning is a habit, I’d find it strange if they chose to not go for it. These guys are alpha males, champions, would they really back off like that? Impossible.
        But who can say, I’d like to know if the stewards checked Dhoni’s underpants for sandpaper.
        I wonder what was the total betting payout on that match?


        • nonoxcol Jun 30, 2019 / 6:10 pm

          The best (only) argument appears to be India choosing to preserve NRR with more winnable games to come.


        • Deep Purple Fred Jun 30, 2019 / 6:21 pm

          I guess so.
          I’ve just seen Australia win so many matches from ridiculous situations. I think the last time I saw that was yesterday againt NZ. Dhoni of course is the master at this.
          Tournements are different, you want all your squad to get a run, I guess Kholi was playing the odds. Dangerous game to play but he captains India and I don’t so what would I know?


    • man in a barrel Jun 30, 2019 / 5:49 pm

      I was getting that fishy feeling yesterday, when NZ were clearly going through the motions, at least from the viewpoint of Jeremy Coney and the Aussie commentator. I didn’t see any of the match. For this India match, the tone of the innings was set by Kohli himself, wasn’t it? Maybe they just wanted some batting practice. Their middle order looks in need of some time in the middle.


  17. Deep Purple Fred Jun 30, 2019 / 5:36 pm

    Damn, I guess not even Dhoni can do 44 an over


  18. Quebecer Jun 30, 2019 / 5:37 pm

    A couple of overs to go, and India don’t really seem interested in actually chasing the total. They’ve seemed about half bothered, at most.


  19. Mark Jun 30, 2019 / 5:41 pm

    Because of the problems England have got themselves into this last week they will take this with open arms. If you had offered them 337 at the start they would have ripped your hand off, and yet at 204/1 with 18 overs left they probably were disappointed to only finish with 337.

    Job done, and they are still in the competition. However, we haven’t really learned anything. When England get on these type of pitches they can score big. They have been doing that for the last three years. It’s what happens if the pitch is not so flat is when the faults creep in.

    I’m happy for Bairstow, it’s been a rough week. Best to do your talking on the pitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 5:52 pm

    The flip side of India’s bowling strength is that at 5 down, that’s it – the two batsmen in (Dhoni & Jadhav in this case) seem painfully aware that once they are out the tail is there and I think it’s paralysing them.

    Add in that Dhoni is clearly feeling his age. And Jadhav just isn’t in form it seems.

    England were also very smart in how they bowled to Pandya. Other sides have leaked either more runs or a similar amount to Pandya’s batting, but typically more quickly.

    That last is a reminder that while England’s figures don’t look that great, they have a bowling attack that is rather good at holding things together on a good batting pitch.

    India’s failure to give Jadhav a few overs with the ball might have been decisive. Of course, he might have gotten tonked, but at the same time just breaking up the rhythm of the assault on Chahal might have kept the score more chaseable.

    It’s probably worth considering that while this pitch was much better for batting than recent ones in this WC, 337 might have been quite a good score…


  21. Riverman21 Jun 30, 2019 / 5:52 pm

    India throw the run chase and Kohli claims conspiracy over the short boundary.
    Seen it all now.


  22. Quebecer Jun 30, 2019 / 6:04 pm

    England did bowl well, mind you, and Morgan had a very good day in the field. Rotating the fielders in the ring often happened during overs, sometimes for just one ball. Four men in the ring all behind square, then fine leg dropping back and long on or long off coming up… Hardick in particular had no reply.

    It should also be pointed out just how much India miss Dharwan.


    • Metatone Jun 30, 2019 / 6:09 pm

      On pitches like this Plunkett is really good. His numbers are never that good to look at, but he regularly seems to take vital wickets.

      I did say before the match that India have 3 key batsmen. Sharma, Kohli and Pandya.
      England didn’t get the first two out cheaply, but cheaply enough when you add in that they didn’t get to really amp the SR. Pandya was out cheap-ish in the end and England bowled really well to him.

      So, agree, they really miss Dharwan, without him they are a batsman light – much as England looked without Roy.


      • Quebecer Jun 30, 2019 / 6:17 pm

        Exactly. I was chatting with BlueEarthCitizen about exactly that last week.


  23. Mark Jun 30, 2019 / 6:15 pm

    I really hope they didn’t throw it. Cricket has enough problems without this. I get the Pakistan rivalry thing, but it’s a dangerous game to play… IF TRUE?

    If England make it to the semis, and final on a good pitch they might just smack 380 and say thanks for coming. Might bite India later on, but I prefer to believe the match was clean, and the better side won on the day.


  24. dlpthomas Jul 1, 2019 / 12:30 am

    I had to work so I “taped” the game. Naturally I fucked it up and missed the entire England innings. Then I got so nervous I had to watch the India innings at 6x normal speed (which I gather is the speed some experts believe Rashid should bowl at all the time).

    England were excellent in the field but India did bat a little strangely (which I am sure had nothing to do with keeping Pakistan out of the final). Their lower middle order seems to be their weakness though I suspect Dhoni has at least one more match winning innings in him.

    The game against the Kiwi’s should be a beauty.


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