ANI Photo | CWC 2023: Wounded defending champions England fight to stay alive against unbeaten India

Unbeaten hosts India are set to lock horns against wounded defending champions England at Lucknow’s Ekana stadium, with the latter in a do-or-die battle to keep alive their fast-fading hopes of staying alive in the tournament.
Tipped as one of the firm title contenders going into the quadrennial showpiece, England find themselves at the bottom of the points table four weeks into the tournament.
However, while England are staring at a shock elimination at the round-robin stage of the ongoing World Cup, they still have a mathematical chance of making it to the semifinals.
The return of all-rounder Ben Stokes to England’s 50-over setup was meant to inspire the Three Lions, add balance to the team and give a different dimension to their 15-member squad that came into the tournament brimming with confidence and belief.
However, his absence from the first few games posed a major challenge for the Three Lions to find the right balance. Their misfiring top-order, lack of an extra spinner and errant pacers saw the pre-tournament favourites crash to four losses in five. Their only victory came against Bangladesh in Dharamsala.
On the other hand, Rohit Sharma-led India have been flawless in the World Cup campaign so far, thriving on familiar surfaces.
Even with the absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they managed to get the better of high-flying title contender New Zealand.
While tweaking their playing eleven to ensure balance and considering the surfaces they were playing on, India came out as rampant winners in all their previous matches, coasting home with plenty of overs to spare. While the top order, led by Rohit, has been in fine fettle, the middle order, too, has come good to stabilise the innings in the middle overs.
With the bowlers firing on all cylinders as well, India has reaffirmed its title credentials in the five matches it has featured in so far.
While India’s victories in all its previous matches after restricting their opponents in the field and chasing targets with lots of balls to spare, England might put the hosts under pressure if the coin flips in their favour on Sunday.
The defending champions hold a 4-3 lead over the hosts in head-to-head encounters in ODI World Cups, India appear the favourites on paper and on current form.
But wary of the English challenge, KL Rahul said at a pre-match press conference on Saturday, “Firstly, we do not think of any opposition that way. Any team on a given day can be dangerous and I am sure you have covered enough cricket matches to know that there is no team that starts off as a favourite in a game of cricket or in any sport. So, it’s important that we keep doing what we have been doing and focus on our strengths.”
England’s assistant coach Marcus Trescothick said his team was looking to turn the tide in their favour with a victory.
“I don’t know. I don’t know if you can free hits can really make a difference. I think I thought we were going into the last game everything in order to what we needed to do. And then we didn’t show the standards of performance that what we need. So, it’s really challenging because you want to come into World Cups, you want to be playing for every game, you want something to really be meaningful when you go out and perform. And you look at the World Cup rugby, it must be challenging playing a third and fourth place playoff. But we’ve got an opportunity against a big team in their own country where the atmosphere is going to be electric. So, if you’re not excited and up for the game like that, then great. You know, this is an opportunity to do so,” Trescothick said.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), 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.
England: Jos Buttler (c), 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. (ANI)

Subscribe to our Newsletter

ANI News Logo
About ANI


ANI is a leading multimedia news agency.


Delhi-NCR grapple with ‘Very Poor to Poor’ air quality despite 15-point plan; AQI in national capital at 309

CWC 2023: Skipper Rohit Sharma set to raise a ton of a different kind against England today