Although the result doesn’t have a huge bearing on India’s chances of making it to the semi-finals, since they have to win just one of their remaining two matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to guarantee qualification, it definitely takes away some of the momentum that had been gathering over the past month.
England came into the game with a lot more at stake and that was evident with their decision to include a not-fully-fit Jason Roy in the XI. That move paid off, though, as the right-hander got together with his opening partner Jonny Bairstow to set the tone for the match with an aggressive opening stand.
India would’ve fancied their chances of chasing down England’s total of 337, after an impressive five-for by Mohammed Shami and some good work by the ever-reliant Jasprit Bumrah, but the inefficiency of their middle-order came to the fore once again as they went on to suffer a convincing defeat.
As skipper Virat Kohli said in the post-match presentation ceremony, India will look to learn from the loss and move on quickly. Having said that, there are surely certain performances that must be looked at closely by the team management.
Here’s our rating of the Indian players in the match against England:
Batting: 0 off 9 balls
No catch, no run-out, no run. You wouldn’t be grudged if you forget Rahul’s participation in the match. With the target being big and middle-order lacking depth, it was crucial for India to get a good start. The right-hander ended up closing his bat too early and spooning a return catch to Chris Woakes. He has played four innings now since replacing the injured Shikhar Dhawan as opener, and not one of them has been a big score. While we debate over how to strengthen our middle-order, the top isn’t inspiring much confidence either. The three points given to him are for the runs he saved fielding at the boundary.
Batting: 102 off 109 balls
India’s vice-captain continued his fine form and notched up his third century of this World Cup. Sharma’s effort is all the more commendable because he was struggling for quite a while after coming to the crease. He wasn’t finding the middle of the bat as he has been for most of this tournament, but he didn’t throw his wicket away. His struggles are evident from the fact that this was his first One-Day International ton without hitting a six. However, India needed the right-hander to carry on. He perished just as one thought he would explode and get a big one.
Batting: 66 off 76 balls
He has scored five consecutive half-centuries in this World Cup, which is great. But not one of them was converted into a hundred, which is worrying. Especially since his conversion-rate is second to none. This is the first such streak of his career. Unlike his deputy, the skipper looked in control right through his innings and seemed certain to get his 42nd ODI ton. But an uncharacteristically loose shot at an important stage led to him missing out yet again. India were in the driver’s seat once Kohli and Sharma got to their fifties, but never really recovered from their dismissals.
Batting: 32 off 29 balls
The 21-year-old was included in the XI after Vijay Shankar was ruled out due to a toe injury. Getting 30-odd on your World Cup debut isn’t the worst return but it isn’t remarkable either. And that’s where the problem lies. Pant was given the all-important No 4 position and he didn’t make it his own. There were several play-and-misses during the left-hander’s stay and he looked nervous, far from his fluent best. It was a great opportunity for him to power India’s chase but he failed to grab it. Full marks for commitment on the field, though. He put in full-length dives and saved many runs.
Batting: 45 off 33 balls
Pandya’s importance as a batsman seems to be growing with each game. Once Kohli and Sharma were removed, it was the 25-year-old who inspired most confidence to complete the chase. He hit some lusty blows and was his usual, confident self. Had he batted till the end, India would’ve had a great chance of getting over the line. He’s gotten out in the 40s thrice now and the team will be hoping a big one is around the corner. Pandya was impressive with the ball, too. The right-arm pacer’s economy-rate was lower than England’s run-rate. He didn’t get any wicket but did well to not leak too many runs from his end.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Batting: 42 not out off 31 balls
It was a forgettable day for the former captain. He didn’t get a single catch or stumping and was disappointing with the bat. When Pandya got out, India needed 71 runs from 31 balls with five wickets in hand. A difficult equation but far from impossible. Dhoni, however, never really went for it. Yes, there’s no other way of putting it. Kohli may have said later that his predecessor was searching for boundaries and was restricted by England’s disciplined bowling but no, that wouldn’t be the accurate way to describe what happened. It was baffling to see the 37-year-old nudge the ball around for singles in the last five overs. His inexplicable approach at the crease left commentators scratching their heads and ensured his team lost without offering a fight. To make matters worse, the wicketkeeper dissuaded Kohli from taking DRS when Roy edged a delivery from Pandya while batting on 21.
Batting: 12 not out off 13 balls
You walk in to bat with five overs left and your team having a mountain to climb, and you hit your first boundary off the 11th ball you face [when the match was in the final over with the result done and dusted]. Sorry, that simply isn’t acceptable. Just like Dhoni, Jadhav was guilty of showing little intent. The right-hander has scored 80 runs from six innings [including two not-outs] in this World Cup. Of those runs, 52 came against Afghanistan. He has bowled in three matches and a total of six overs without picking up a single wicket. If these numbers don’t raise questions over his place in the side, one wonders what will.
He has played three matches since replacing the injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the XI and has taken two four-fors and one five-for. Against England, Shami was impressive once again as he got the important wickets of Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Woakes. He ran in full steam and moved the ball both ways with his immaculate seam position. The right-arm pacer would’ve gotten full marks for his first five-wicket-haul in ODI cricket had he not bowled such an expensive final spell. He went for 44 runs in his last three overs; overs that propelled England to a match-winning total.
His biggest contribution was getting the wicket of Roy. But that, too, belonged more to Ravindra Jadeja as he took a stunning catch at long-on. Yadav didn’t return with the worst figures of the day but he didn’t do enough to trouble the English batsmen. He was hit for five fours and three sixes in his ten overs, and struggled to find the right line against the right-handers. The left-arm wrist spinner has done a decent job in the tournament since having a horror Indian Premier League season. India will hope he can bounce back against Bangladesh on Tuesday.
By far the worst performance by a bowler from either team. The leg-spinner was hit for seven fours and six sixes in his 10 overs, finishing with the most expensive spell ever by an Indian bowler in a World Cup match. He seemed clueless once the English batsmen decided to target him. What’ll worry India the most is that this has been a trend in Chahal’s career. He gets too one-dimensional when he starts getting hit. The 28-year-old isn’t having a poor World Cup overall, having taken 10 wickets in six games, and India will expect him to put up more of a fight going forward.
With each passing game, his legend keeps growing. In a match where the opposition scored at a run-rate of 6.74, Bumrah finished with an economy-rate of 4.40. Whether it’s his opening spell, second spell, third spell, with the new ball or the old ball, the right-arm pacer is someone the captain can rely on at all times. Against England, he was brought into the attack at crucial moments to stop the run-flow. He could get just one wicket [the important one of Ben Stokes] but was instrumental in stopping England from going well past 350. Armed with almost every variation in the book, the 25-year-old continues to remain India’s trump card at this World Cup.
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