India on Sunday suffered their first defeat in the World Cup at the hands of England as the hosts won the crucial match by 31 runs. The victory against India has kept England’s hopes to reach the semi-final alive.
Batting first England had put up a total of 337 runs. India’s chase did not start on a right note as they lost KL Rahul cheaply. However, captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma gave the much-needed stability to the Indian innings as they added 138 runs for the second wicket. At one point, it appeared that India were well within the reach to surpass the English target.
That’s where English skipper Eoin Morgan changed his game plan drastically. With hard-hitting batsmen MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya at the crease and England unable to stop the soaring run rate of the Indian innings, Morgan employed clever tactics as he brought his star bowlers Jofra Archer from one end and Plunkett from the other. Both bowlers slowed down their pace remarkably, making it difficult for the Indian batsmen from hitting big shots. Not only did it slow down the Indian run rate, but it also led to the downfall of Hardik Pandya, who was beginning to cause panic in the English camp. He got out after scoring a quickfire 45 in 33 balls. India’s first six came in the last over of the match when Dhoni smashed the local boy Woakes on the leg side for the maximum.
Rohit was the star of the Indian innings even though he was dropped by Root when he was batting at four. That life gave the much-needed boost to his confidence as he began to hit boundaries at ease. Today’s century by Rohit against England was his third in this edition of the World Cup.
Virat Kohli too scored yet another half-century and became the first captain to score five consecutive 50s in any World Cup competition.
For England, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes were the most effective bowlers as they ended their spell with three and two wickets respectively.
Earlier, after winning the toss, England had decided to bat first as their batsmen displayed extraordinary batting skills by scoring 337 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in 50 overs. Jonny Bairstow hit 111 to set England up for a big finish. It had taken a brilliant catch by the substitute Ravindra Jadeja at the long-on to end the 160-run opening stand between Jason Roy and Bairstow. Roy scored 66 after gloving behind on 21. Unfortunately, India did not go for a review.
Bairstow was later adjudged Man Of The Match.
India have never chased a more than 300-run target in any World Cup match. Mohammed Shami once again shone with the ball as he took five wickets against England. He has taken 13 wickets in just three matches. Captain Virat Kohli had come under criticism for keeping him out of the match in the first four matches of the World Cup stating that Shami could only be effective in overcast conditions.
England will secure a place in the semi-final if they manage to beat New Zealand in their next match.