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June 13, 2009
Match factsSunday, June 14
Well, that's livened things up a bit. West Indies' stunning seven-wicket win over India on Friday has transformed the dynamics of Group E, and left the holders facing what is, in effect, an elimination show-down with the hosts. On paper it ought not even to be close - when England and India last faced each other in a limited-overs contest, in India in November, a unprecedented 7-0 whitewash was only averted by the abandonment of the tour due to the Mumbai terror attacks.
Nothing that England have done in this tournament to date gives much reason to believe they have a prayer of progressing any further. A laughable defeat against the Dutch was followed by a competent dismissal of a distracted Pakistan, but their humbling against South Africa on Thursday was a truer reflection of their standing. Quite simply, they were outclassed, rolled over for 111and routed by Jacques Kallis on cruise control.
India, by contrast, were progressing pretty serenely (give or take the odd testy press conference) until their surprise derailment at the hands of Dwayne Bravo. They qualified comfortably from a weak group made up of Bangladesh and Ireland, and it's possible they were caught unawares by the sudden step-up in class that West Indies presented.
Whatever the reasons, forewarned means forearmed. The last time these two sides met in the World Twenty20, in Durban in September 2007, Yuvraj Singh strode into history with his brutalising of a young Stuart Broad, and India marched into the final stages as England skulked home early from yet another global tournament. Little we've witnessed thus far in 2009 suggests the story will be any different. But then again, shocks are part and parcel of this format, and any side containing an in-form Kevin Pietersen cannot be dismissed out of hand.
A win for either team will obviously boost their chances of making it to the semis, but India have far more riding on this game than England. If India lose on Sunday, they are definitely out, since the winner of the England-West Indies game on Monday will join South Africa on two wins and knock India out even if they win their last game.
If England lose, however, there is still a chance for them if they beat West Indies, and if South Africa beat India. In that case, South Africa will finish with three wins, while England, India and West Indies will all have one each, bringing net run rates into play.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
A brace of defeats in New Zealand earlier this year dented India's overall record, but they have still won nine of their 15 T20Is dating back to December 2006.
Watch out for...
Ravi Bopara has been tipped by Sachin Tendulkar, no less, as a very "special" talent, and Indian audiences already know what he's about, after he produced one of the finest innings of the IPL - 84 from 59 balls for King's XI Punjab against Royal Challengers Bangalore. After two consecutive failures against Pakistan and South Africa, he's due a return to form.
England: (probable) 1 Ravi Bopara, 2 Luke Wright, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood (capt), 6 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 7 James Foster (wk), 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 James Anderson.
The loss of Virender Sehwag was a blow to their big-hitting aspirations, but India still possess oodles of potent thwackers all the way down the order, even as far as Harbhajan Singh at No. 8. It's unlikely they'll be altering what was, up until Friday, a winning formula.
India: (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha
Stats and Trivia
"We were able to raise the required run rate close to 10 runs per over, we were good at that, but he took the game away from us."
India's captain, MS Dhoni, rues the impact that Dwayne Bravo had on their last match at Lord's.
"We're not going to win by sitting back. Twenty20 cricket is about putting the opposition under pressure from ball one. We've got to make sure we have the attitude of 'keep going for it'. We're not going to get anywhere by being conservative ."
England's captain Paul Collingwood promises a full-frontal assault for the remainder of the tournament.