It’s India vs. England in Birmingham, the heart of England. But England Captain Eoin Morgan knows very well there will be no home advantage. At least 90 percent of the crow will be cheering for India.
“I sort of recall the Champions Trophy final we played here against India. It was a complete away game. We had a number of fans in the ground, but the noise the Indian fans make with horns makes it that much louder. So yes, tomorrow will feel like an away game,” Morgan said.
Well, that is just an indication of how cricket has become a sport completely dominated by India, and how the Indian community in the UK consistently fails the Tebbit Test.
(Remember the Tebbit Test? Check that out here for a quick explanation.)
But here’s the interesting part – England must win this game. They lose, they are out of the World Cup and India will face Pakistan in the semi-finals.
But if England win and India loses, India will play New Zealand or Australia in the semi finals and Pakistan will most likely be out of the World Cup.
So basically, India won’t mind losing this match as they don’t want to face Pakistan in the knock out stage, where Pakistan are most unpredictable.
But Virat Kohli insists that he will go all out for a win. Indians play to win every match. That’s how this team is. They play to win, that is the only thing they know.
As for the team selection, there are questions about Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fitness, but with Mohammad Shami bowling so well, it’s unlikely Bhuvi will get a look in even if he is 100 percent fit.
Virat pretty much said the same thing. “Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] is recovering very fast. When he gets fit, it’s going to be a bit of a headache for us to see what we’re going to do, but we’ll take the best call for the team at that moment, and I’m sure everyone will understand,” Virat said.
England face fitness concerns over two of their most valuable players, Jason Roy and Jofra Archer. But it’s now or never for England so they may still play them, even at the risk of losing them for the semi-finals, if they were to get through.
For Indian fans, the only question is will Rishabh Pant get to play or not. Vijay Shankar has become a big running joke here in India, and nobody can figure out what he is doing in the world’s best cricket team.
Shankar, after Stuart Binny, is perhaps the least talented cricketer to play for India and get game after game even after failing every time! Kohli is a brilliant batsman, an inspirational captain and a real fighter for the cause, but his team selection is bewildering to say the least!
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood
India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
No rains predicted for today. So will be have a cracker of a match on what Ashley Giles calls “best batting pitch of the tournament”.
Prediction: Close match. But a win for India. They don’t need to as they are already through to the semi-finals, but this team plays to win.