India, still undefeated, add to England’s troubles

India extended their unbeaten streak at the 2023 World Cup, securing a resounding 100-run victory in a low-scoring encounter against reigning champions England. This unfortunate defeat marked England’s fifth loss in six group matches, putting their hopes of advancing in jeopardy.

Rohit Sharma emerged as India’s savior with a captain’s innings of 87, rescuing his team from a shaky position of 40-3 in the 12th over. Rohit and KL Rahul (39) combined for a crucial 91-run partnership. Suryakumar Yadav chipped in with a brisk 49 towards the end, and India’s tailenders contributed valuable runs to push the total beyond 225.

England’s batting crumbled under the pressure, and they found themselves at a dismal 52-5 within 16 overs. They were eventually bundled out for a mere 129 in under 35 overs, with Mohammed Shami claiming an impressive 4-22 for India. Liam Livingstone’s 27 was the highest individual score for England.

Rohit Sharma reflected on India’s sixth consecutive victory in the tournament, stating, “I think this was a game where we showed a lot of character. All the experienced players stood up at the right time and won us the game.”

England, as the bottom-placed team, entered the match with slim chances of making the semi-finals, having only secured one win in their previous five group matches. In contrast, India, the tournament’s sole undefeated side, appeared unstoppable in their home conditions.

Jos Buttler, England’s captain, chose to field after winning the toss. The decision seemed justified as India stumbled to 40-3 in the 12th over. David Willey (3-45) provided a strong start with a maiden over and dismissed Virat Kohli for a nine-ball duck in the seventh over.

The early wickets forced Rohit to alter his natural attacking style, and he formed a partnership with Rahul to stabilize India’s innings. India reached the 100-run mark at the midway point of their innings, still having plenty of overs and batting power left to compensate for their early losses.

While Willey removed Rahul and Adil Rashid dismissed Rohit, Suryakumar’s inventive batting took India beyond 200.

England’s pursuit began energetically but was soon jolted as Jasprit Bumrah (3-32) dismissed Dawid Malan and Joe Root with successive deliveries in the fifth over. Ben Stokes couldn’t open his account either and lost his stumps to Shami.

Although Kohli dropped Jonny Bairstow in the slip, the batter ended up dragging a delivery from Shami onto his stumps, leaving England struggling at 39-4 in the 10th over.

Buttler’s dismissal epitomized England’s chaotic batting performance. The England captain was completely deceived by a Kuldeep Yadav (2-24) delivery that turned sharply and sneaked through the gap between bat and pad to hit the middle stump.

Buttler expressed his disappointment, saying, “Very disappointing. At the halfway stage chasing 230 we fancied ourselves. But it’s the same old story.”

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