Shikhar Dhawan’s departure and poor show by Vijay Shankar in the middle-order has once again resurfaced the number four riddle for the Men in Blue.
Shared News| Updated: June 29, 2019 6:01:51 pm
MS Dhoni scored 56 runs in 61 deliveries in the previous encounter against West Indies. (Reuters)
After displaying a dominant show at the ongoing World Cup, a ruthless Indian unit sporting the new orange jersey will aim for pole position when they take on hosts England in Sunday’s high-profile World Cup encounter. Despite a shoddy show with the bat, the Indian bowlers bullied the West Indies batting line up, helping the side maintain their 100 percent win record in the tournament.
For quite some time, the team’s template for success in limited-overs cricket has been the dominant display by the top three, comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli. However, the batting department endured a major blow as Dhawan was ruled out of the tournament after sustaining a thumb injury.
In the absence of regular opener, KL Rahul has provided the Men in Blue with decent starts but has been unable to convert them into big scores. Both skipper Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are enjoying a good outing and are amongst the top ten leading run-scorers in the World Cup.
However, Dhawan’s departure and poor show by Vijay Shankar in the middle-order has once again resurfaced number four riddle for the team. The Tamil Nadu-based all-rounder, who came to bat at the number four slot could only manage 29 and 14 in the previous two fixtures against Afghanistan and West Indies respectively.
Former India skipper MS Dhoni, who was heavily criticized for his lack of intent against Afghanistan, showed some resilience in the match against West Indies and played an important knock of 56 runs in 61 deliveries. Kedar Jadhav, on the other hand, scored a half-century against Afghanistan but failed to make an impact in the previous fixture.
While the middle order has been an area of concern for the team management, bowlers made a positive impact and have stepped up their game. The pace battery comprising Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah have been exceptional both in the powerplays and death overs providing the team with vital breakthroughs.
MS Dhoni interacts with Kuldeep Yadav and coach Ravi Shastri. (REUTERS)
They are well supported by the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who have successfully checked the free flow of runs in the middle overs.
England, who were considered to be favorites before going into the World Cup, now suddenly find themselves on the verge of exit after going down in their previous two encounters. A defeat for the Eoin Morgan-side will mean that the hosts will no longer hold all the chips in their own hands, they will then have to rely on the results of other matches in order to progress into the knockout stages.
Jason Roy’s absence due to hamstring injury came as a huge blow to the English unit as the opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and James Vince have failed to make strong starts at the top. Both Joe Root and Ben Stokes have been fetching runs for their side but are unable to find support from the other batsmen.
Stokes was splendid with the bat as he almost put his side over the line in the previous two fixtures against Sri Lanka and Australia. The all-rounder remained unbeaten on 82 against Afghanistan and scored 89 against Australia.
Morgan’s 148 against Afghanistan seems like a one-off inning as the English captain has failed to prove his mettle in crucial encounters. In the bowling department apart from Jofra Archer, other English bowlers are yet to make an impact.
However, as per media reports, it is indicated that Roy is likely to return in the playing XI for the crucial encounter against India, adding a huge boost to the struggling English batting unit.
The Edgbaston pitch has so far been beneficial to the bowlers, with the previous encounter between New Zealand and Pakistan at this venue turning out to be a low-scoring contest. However, on the same deck, Kiwi all-rounder James Neesham scored an unbeaten 97, while Pakistani batsman Babar Azam completed his maiden ODI ton.
The two matches played at this venue so far have been won by the side batting second, so it won’t be a surprise if India and England opt to field first after winning the toss.
The weather is likely to remain bright and sunny in Birmingham on Sunday and the temperature is expected to hover around 17 to 23 degrees Celsius. The sun will be there throughout match time.