The much awaited clash of the competition will transpire on Sunday night (September 23) when defending champions England clash with strong contenders India, at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.
England’s huge win against Afghanistan has ensured that both the defending champions and India have already qualified for the Super Eights from their group. Sunday’s match will be a battle of wits to decide which of these teams tops the group.
India’s own game against Afghanistan laid bare India’s batting woes, with the team overly dependent on Virat Kohli to fire. Players like Sehwag, Gambhir and Raina looked less than impressive, and had Afghanistan decided to bat first and set a target, they might well have embarrassed Dhoni’s men. Yuvraj Singh is yet to get into his stride and for Rohit Sharma, the competition is a do-or-die affair. In the bowling department, Zaheer Khan looks well past his sell-by date and the Indian team could increasingly rely on their spinners, including Yuvraj and Raina, to bail them out. Balaji looks a more reliable hand with the new ball and Irfan Pathan’s batting ability should ensure him the third seamer’s spot.
If England missed Kevin Pietersen, they did nothing to show it, against Afghanistan. Hales and Wright battered the Afghan bowlers into submission as England went on to post the highest score of the competition so far. With the likes of Morgan, Bairstow and Buttler in the middle order, the batting has enough firepower to worry the best rivals, not to mention Kieswetter in the opening spot. The likes of Swann, Patel and Broad are no rabbits with the bat and the depth in the batting order should be a cause for worry in the Indian camp. The England seamers, Broad, Finn and Dernbach, got into a comfortable rhythm against the Afghans and the side is also well served in the spin department with the redoubtable Graeme Swann supported by Samit Patel.
While England look the more balanced of the two teams, India can never be underestimated on sub-continental wickets, and Sunday’s match promises to be a hard-fought one.
India’s probable eleven: Gambhir, Sehwag, Kohli, Sharma, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Pathan, Ashwin, Khan, Balaji.
England’s probable eleven: Kieswetter, Hales, Wright, Morgan, Bairstow, Buttler, Patel, Broad, Swann, Dernbach, Finn.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.