The clash against hosts and pre-tournament favourites, England was earmarked as one of India’s trickiest tests in the league stage of the 2019 ICC World Cup. However, as the two teams gear up for the match at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Sunday, things are looking quite different than they were when the tournament began.
India are going into the game flying high on confidence as the only undefeated team in the tournament. England meanwhile, are staring at a possible shock exit from the World Cup in the league stage itself. Not many would have predicted this to be the scenario ahead of this big clash.
The Indians are backing themselves for a win against the hosts and who can blame them - they have had comprehensive wins over every team, except, and surprisingly so, Afghanistan (with one washout against New Zealand).
"If we play the best cricket, and if we play the kind of cricket that we've been playing in the last four or five games, we'll end up most probably on the winning side," said KL Rahul about the clash against England.
For England, it has been a rocky journey from favourites to win their first ever World Cup to now looking at the possibility of not even making it to the final four. They have had a torrid time recently with losses to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
The Indian cricket team knows that while they cannot take the hosts lightly, England are certainly on the back foot going into this game.
"Individually and as a team, we're focused on getting our plans right, executing our skills right and again it's a big game against England. So hopefully the confidence and the momentum that we have we can carry that to Birmingham and it will be great to get more wins," said KL Rahul.
India have served up all-round performances in all their games so far with both the batting and bowling departments firing on all cylinders. The likes of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have all found form. Their fielding has been amongst the best in the tournament. All India needs is one point to join Australia in the semifinals.
For England it’s a much tougher ask. They need to beat India and then New Zealand to have any hopes of making it to the final four - teams they have not defeated at the World Cup since 1992. A single loss on the other hand, will leave them at the mercy of other results.
"Mood in the camp is still very good. Naturally there are some external pressures. It would be naive to say we got blinkers on and not aware of things going on outside or the pressure of the tournament,” said Jos Buttler ahead of the game.
"We know we didn't perform well enough in the previous two games to be beaten but we still got the opportunity to put that right and the guys turned up with smiles on their faces and ready for a big week," he added.
There is no question that India go into the match as favourites, but Buttler is quick to dismiss any such labels.
"I don't think 'favourite' or 'underdog' means too much for us. We know we need to play better, we know we are capable of playing better, and we look forward to the challenge of facing a very strong Indian team," he said.
It’s a clash of the top two teams in the world, with India only just having surpassed England in the ICC ODI rankings earlier this week… so get set for what promises to be a mouthwatering treat on this Super Sunday.