India v England: Cricket World Cup 2023 – live | Cricket World Cup 2023
2nd over: India 4-0 (Rohit 0, Gill 4) Two dots, then Gill eases the first runs of the day through point and to the fence; he does not wait to be asked, that lad. So Woakes offers width next up and he’s fractions from seeing an airy drive dragged on; this is a good contest so far.
“Is there anyone more emblematic of this campaign than Woakes?” wonders Felix Wood. “His skillset which makes him a shoo-in elsewhere so obviously unsuited to this tournament, yet the powers that be just keep rolling the dice hoping for something to happen. Like winning the toss repeatedly and choosing the wrong option on gut feel. Madness.”
In general, the phrase “gut feel” is a misnomer and really – in mine of course – means “thinking”. On top of which, no cricketer has ever made me look stupid more often than Woakes, most recently last summer. I totally understand why Buttler has been loyal to him because he’s usually so reliable – what we’ve seen these last few matches can’t possibly continue. Can it?
1st over: India 0-0 (Rohit 0, Gill 0) Willey starts nicely, finding decent wobble-seam movement and offering neither width nor length and beating the edge with a beauty to finish the over. Maiden.
“I fear this could get very ugly indeed,” begins Guy Hornsby. “And I’m trying to figure out if we’re sticking with the mostly 2019 gunslingers because we’re stubborn or because we’re out of ideas. Flogging Wood and Woakes one more time when this is as good as a dead rubber feels strange but I guess they want to all go down fighting one last time. I guess Carse will play at some point. My fave moment? Smashing Australia in the 2019 semi final. Peak Morgan.”
I know what you mean. I guess the old stagers have earned this go, but as a fan I’d also like to see it moved forward with at least one pick for the future.
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The locals reckon it skids on here once the lights are in play, but Nasser notes that when SA bowled second, it nibbled for their quicks. But as Athers reminds us, it’s not really about the toss, rather whether England have a performance in them. Rohit takes guard and Willey has the ball in his hand.
Athers thought England would bat first, and I hope Buttler’s decision is dictated by conditions, not by mental state of a team who just need to get into the game and hope that during it, they find themselves. Anthem time.
What’s your favourite moment watching this England side? I think mine is when I was stood in the toilet on holiday in Ghana and someone tweeted the bit in the World Cup doc where England are waiting to be handed the trophy and Jos Buttler tells Jonny Bairstow “Your dad would be proud”. Elite mateship, as Justin Langer would say.
Thing is, England are plenty good enough to win this – in theory. All it takes is one knock from one of their many ludicrous matchwinners and they’re right there, but if they get a going-over when bowling, that’ll feel even less unlikely than it seems now. If they can keep India to 320ish, they’ll fancy it, but if they need to do something silly just to stick in the match, I’d not be shocked if they were skittled in 30 overs.
I look at that England attack and I’m concerned. If Stokes could bowl, the balance would be pretty good, but without him it looks a little light, and another pace option would be helpful.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Mohammed Siraj.
England: 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 Dawid Malan, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler (capt/wk), 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 David Willey, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood.
Eoin Morgan would’ve batted to get into the game, but thinks Buttler hopes the dew will bring the ball onto the bat late doors. I totally see why he wants to chase, but I do worry about England’s attack without the benefit of scoreboard pressure.
Rohit would’ve batted, the surface looks quite good. His team have had a week off which has given them time to see what’s going well and less well after a hectic start. India, too, are unchanged.
“More of a gut decision” says Jos Buttler and I imagine he just wants his team to chase, because that’s why they’re more comfy doing. The longer a bad spell goes on, the closer you are to getting out of it; England are unchanged.
India aren’t through with a win today, but they’re near. And it’s time for the toss…
India v England in the World Cup, though. Oooh yeah.
Of course, England can qualify if they win today; they can still qualify if they lose today, the permutations too numerous to list. More or less, if they win all their remaining fixtures – so beat India, Australia, Netherlands and Pakistan – they’ll have 10 points. SA and India are on that already with NZ and Australia on eight and a better net run-rate, so the chances any of those finish below the defending champs are exceedingly low.
I’ll level with you, people: when I was allocated this game, I did not expect to be performing a post-mortem on a still-convulsing body. But here we are.
This World Cup has been a humiliation to rank with some of England’s finest – and it’s a stratospheric bar – except for one thing: England are world champions in 50 overs and world champions in T20.
We could still sit here and enumerate reasons for the failure, or ruminate on sadness of watching a lovable, epochal team of hard, sensitive men put over the knee in front of us – but we’d be foolish to. These players have changed the game, in the process upending everything everyone thought about English cricket and Test cricket, so regardless of the mess we’ve seen unfold over the last few weeks, they remain in eternal credit.
In sport, there’s little more enjoyable than watching a big dog ravaged, even if it’s by an even bigger dog. And India are everything England once were, a power-packed team in glorious form that’s been building to this point, inspired by the pressure and power of home advantage.
Thing is, England are still good – they’ve just made a lot of uncharacteristic errors, one after the other after the other – so they’re more than capable of finding a performance to give them and us the lap of honour we all deserve. But more likely, the might of everything IndIa bring to this means we spend the day balancing the amusing brutality of sport and our gratefulness to those who suffer it for our delectation.
Play: 2pm local, 8.30pm GMT