India’s undefeated run at the 2019 ICC World Cup came to an end at the hands of England on Sunday. A revitalised English team put in a performance that finally gave fans a glimpse of the promise that they had shown in the months leading up to the tournament. For India, it was an outing to forget with their bowlers and their middle order failing to overcome the challenge presented by the opposition.
Electing to bat first, England made a solid 337/7 in 50 overs, powered by Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy, with some late innings heroics by Ben Stokes. In reply, slow early batting by India’s top order and then a highly average performance by the middle order saw India manage only 306/5, giving England a 31 run win - their first win over India in a World Cup since 1992.
Here are some highlights.
The Jonny and Jason show
Jason Roy may not have been a 100 percent fit, but a desperate England included the in-form batsman nonetheless. Having come off two consecutive defeats and staring at a shock exit, the hosts needed to fire on all cylinders - Roy and fellow opener Jonny Bairstow did exactly that.
Bairstow had a tough week leading up to the match against India, having got into a very public spat with former England captain, Michael Vaughan. But after a slightly nervy start, he went from strength to strength as the match progressed.
The England openers took a particular liking to India’s spinners, putting on a 160-run opening partnership - the second-highest for England in a World Cup.
Roy, who had torn a hamstring two weeks ago in the match against the West Indies, looked untroubled throughout his innings of 66 off 57 balls. Bairstow brought up his first World Cup ton off 90 balls, finishing with 111 off 109 balls.
"I was pleased to get over the line in a World Cup. There's only so many times you get the chance to make a century in a World Cup and I was very disappointed when I got 90 a couple of weeks ago. It was definitely up there, with the speculation and everything and the position we found ourselves in. It was great to go out there and contribute to what was a very big win today,” said Bairstow.
Stokes’ late flourish
Following Roy and Bairstow’s dismissals, England slowed down considerably, with Eoin Morgan (1 off 9 balls) falling cheaply and Joe Root (44 off 54 balls) not looking his best. England, who seemed set to cross 400 at one stage, were suddenly on the backfoot as India’s bowlers started to pull things back.
Enter Ben Stokes. The in-form batsman took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners, targeting Yuzvendra Chahal in particular. He played some incredible shots en route to his 79 off 54 balls - his third straight fifty-plus score.
"It came together today. The closest to a complete performance we have had. To win the toss and bat first it was important to set the platform,” said Bairstow after the match.
Bumrah the only bright spot in India’s bowling
India has boasted a strong bowling line-up for quite some time now. But the Men in Blue had little answer for the resurgent England batsmen at Edgbaston on Sunday. Jasprit Bumrah was the only bright spot on the day, returning figures of 1/44 at a respectable economy of 4.40.
England’s batsmen took a particular liking to spinners Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The latter managing just 1 wicket for 72 runs in 10 overs and Chahal finishing with 0 for 88 in his ten overs - the most expensive for India in World Cups.
Mohammed Shami took his first ever five-for in an ODI - but he was expensive, leaking 69 runs in his 10 overs.
Rohit and Kohli score big once again
India had their task cut out for them on a flat and slow pitch, and when Chris Woakes dismissed KL Rahul for a duck, the target looked even more ominous.
However, once again Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli stepped up to the plate. The duo struggled at the start. In fact, India only managed a paltry 28 runs in the first Powerplay - the lowest in this World Cup.
“We took our time, yes, but the condition was such that it didn't allow us to just come and bat and put pressure on the bowlers that bowled in the right channel,” said Rohit Sharma in the post match press conference.
Rohit edged Jofra Archer when he was on 4 but Root dropped an easy catch in the slips. The Indian opener went on to score his third hundred of the tournament, making 102 off 109 balls.
Skipper Virat Kohli continued his great form, smashing his fifth successive fifty-plus score, ending with 66 off 76 balls.
Also read: 2019 ICC World Cup: Points Table
Indian middle order failure
With Kohli and Rohit back in the hut, in came Rishabh Pant, brought in to replace Vijay Shankar who missed the match due to a toe injury. However, the young Pant never really looked completely comfortable and was a far cry from his big-hitting self against the English attack, ultimately falling for 32 off 29 balls.
Hardik Pandya showed some intent, as India began struggling in their chase of 337, smashing 45 off 33 balls.
MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav once again added fuel to the raging fire over India’s middle order failure. India needed 104 off the last ten overs and then 71 off the last five - equations that have been easy pickings for India’s best finisher in the past. But neither Dhoni (42* off 31 balls) nor Jadhav (12* off 13 balls) could get India over the line. The duo took 20 singles in the 31 balls they were out in the middle together. The fact that the only six of the innings was hit in the last over of the match told the entire story of India’s chase. The Men in Blue managed 306 in their 50 overs, with 5 wickets in hand.
“When MS and Kedar were batting, I think they were trying to hit, but they were not able to because of the slowness of the pitch. Towards the end, it got pretty slow,” explained Rohit Sharma.
"Every team has lost a game or two here or there. We are still playing good cricket, and the morale is still the same in the dressing room. We just have to brush this aside as professional cricketers, learn from it and move forward," said Virat Kohli.
India’s next game is against Bangladesh on July 2.