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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Mission Impossible! Can struggling England stop India?

Mission Impossible! Can struggling England stop India?

Source: PTI
October 28, 2023 13:53 IST
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Jos Buttler

IMAGE: England will be counting on skipper Jos Buttler to fire in Sunday's World Cup match against India in Lucknow. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

India and England have played with contrasting approaches in the World Cup so far, producing contrasting results. That is unlikely to change when the teams meet in Lucknow on Sunday.

India are on course to top the league stage while England are looking to survive in the tournament they won four years ago.

 

The Rohit Sharma-led side has hardly put a foot wrong, having chased successfully for five games in a row.

England set the benchmark in white-ball cricket with their aggressive style of play, resulting in global triumphs in both the shorter formats.

However, the boom or bust approach has clearly not worked in Indian conditions and the defending champions find themselves on the brink of an embarrassing exit. 

Will Ashwin get a game?

Compared to England, India have very little to worry about though they will be missing the all-round services of Hardik Pandya for at least the next couple of games.

In the usual scenario, Ravichandran Ashwin would have replaced Shardul Thakur on a pitch that is likely to assist the spinners. However, Hardik's absence forces the team management to play only five bowlers.

Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja walk into the combination for Sunday's game.

To accommodate Ashwin as the third spinner, India will have to choose between Mohammad Siraj and Mohammed Shami, who asserted his world-class credentials with five wickets in Dharamsala. Picking between the two proven performers will be a tough call.

Game opportunity for SKY and Shreyas

Helped by Rohit's bold stroke-play in the powerplay, the Indian batters have set the ideal template for rival teams to follow. They have mastered the art of chasing, whether they are in cruise control or in a pressure situation, like they found themselves against Australia.

In Hardik's absence, Suryakumar Yadav is the team's choice at number six. Following an unfortunate run-out in his first game of the competition, the X factor player will be itching to make an impact.

The chatter on Shreyas Iyer's perpetual struggles against the short-ball has resumed following his dismissal in Dharamsala. He will be fired up to prove his doubters wrong.

Shubman Gill, who missed the first couple of games due to dengue, is due for a special knock. The Lucknow crowd could also witness a record-equalling 49th hundred from Virat Kohli.

Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who is from Uttar Pradesh, will be looking to fox the England batters at the state-of-the-art stadium. It was a good test for him against the rampaging Daryl Mitchell and he will be ready for the England challenge.

Will England change their batting approach?

England possess plenty of firepower in the batting department and they would be hoping to string together a worthy performance after a string of abject failures.

Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Liam Livingstone, Harry Brook. They are all formidable names in world cricket but have found the going tough in very familiar conditions.

Going hammer and tongs from ball one is the need of the hour in the shortest format but the demands of the ODI format are different. England’s batters must gauge the conditions better and accordingly alter their way of playing.

They all love to whack the ball through the line but the Lucknow pitch might not allow them to do that. Root is one batter who have different gears, others need to follow him and show some patience when required.

England also have a fair amount of concerns on the bowling front with their stand out pacer Reece Topley being ruled out of the tournament due to injury. Brydon Carse has replaced him in the squad. Mark Wood has been far from his best and will be looking for course correction.

However, the spin of combination of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid could pose a threat to the in-form Indian batters.

With the home team involved, the 50,000 capacity stadium will be packed to the rafters.

Squads:

England: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Brydon Carse, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.

India: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya.

Match starts: 2 PM IST.

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