I love watching the teams singing the National Anthems as they are the first indicator of how teams may perform. Pakistan narrowly won against Afghanistan which means that England has to win both their remaining games to be assured of qualifying for the top four. Very few people would have dared to say at the beginning of the tournament that England would be in such a predicament at this stage. After seeing the players sing the Anthem; I would say that this will be a battle of England’s passion versus the intense focus of India. Strangely these emotions are usually associated in reverse with each of them. A sea of blue has covered the stands of the ground. The orange though indicates that about 75% support India. I do think that England will win this game. I hope I will not be proved wrong. I started with National Anthems so I will end this section with one. The National Anthem of both these countries is close to my heart as they represent who I am. That being said; I do believe that both India and England deserve stronger anthems. I feel that “Vande Mataram” suits India better. I am a monarchist and I love “God Save Our Queen.” but I think “Land of Hope and Glory ” reflects England better.
Mid Innings Break
England looked to be in a position to post in excess of 350 till Shami came back. He seemed to save India a lot of blushes just like he did against Afghanistan. 337/8 is the highest score in a day match by any team on this ground. The second highest is 319 by India against Pakistan. Pakistan will be hoping that India will win this game. So far it has been hard to predict a par score on this match. 337 should technically be above par. I think that 337 is below par and England will be disappointed that they did not get to 350. CricViz had the chances of England winning this game at 64%. I think that the chances of England winning are lower than that although I still believe that England will win. Anthems seems to be a theme running through this post. I absolutely loved the way Jerusalem echoed through the ground during the Mid Innings break. I would say the Barmy Army is the definite winner so far.
End of Match Analysis
I expected a closer run chase but England have won and that is what matters. England are not out of the woods and India have not qualified yet. People started to question the wisdom of setting the fixtures when the top four could be decided well before some of the marquee games. Today’s victory means that there are two games that are absolutely crucial especially for England. The first game is between England and New Zealand. The second is the one between Pakistan and Bangladesh. If England beats New Zealand then they will be into the semi finals. If that does not happen then their hopes rests with Bangladesh. If Bangladesh win against India and Pakistan then Bangladesh will be in the top four and England will be out. If Pakistan beat Bangladesh then Pakistan will be in the top four and England will be out.
Jason Roy made all the difference. His inclusion seemed to bring back the old balance back. Though playing Liam Plunkett instead of Moeen Ali was inspired. India went in with two front line fast bowlers whereas England went in with four. Hardik Pandya contribution with the ball cannot be discounted but injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumasi and Vijay Shankar has put India in an uncomfortable position. Chahal and Yadav are immensely talented bowlers but pace has dominated this tournament and will continue to do so even though the weather is changing.
I cannot finish this post without mentioning the spat between Jonny and Michael Vaughan. I have been extremely critical of his statements. His comment against Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad have been idiotic. I think the only topic I may agree with him so far is the on the issue of the Zing bails. In a sense it might have been a good thing. Bairstow allows his bat do the talking when his team mates or him gets criticised. He gets fierce. He almost becomes a lion that roars with such greatness that it sends hyenas like Michael Vaughan scampering into the wild wilderness with their tails firmly tucked between their legs. I am not a sadist but this is a scene that I seem to enjoy. I am looking forward to the games this week. Hopefully I will not have to wait until Friday to know if England are in the top four or not. I would really like England to win. I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is a part of me that worries about the ramifications of England winning the World Cup. I worry about what it will do to the future of English Cricket especially The One Day Cup. It is my mentality as an analyst to be sceptical of fads until they have a proven track record. If England win the cup then I fear that The ECB will squeeze this like the proverbial golden goose till we are left with something that isolates the current followers of the game and is not good enough to attract new people.