Big picture

Three weeks ago, you might have well looked at June 30 and locked it down as a clash for the top two spots. India are right up there, one of the top two spots very much in their sight, but England have run into trouble.

Back-to-back losses to Sri Lanka and Australia have left England looking frantically for their wallet while the world is at their party, the one they promised to make a grand, big-scoring spectacle. Asking someone else to pay would be too embarrassing, even though Pakistan and Bangladesh would gladly do the needful. They need to find it - their mojo, really - soon, which means beating India and New Zealand in what is potentially a week that will be a real test of their 'new' England claims.

England might gamble on the not-yet-100% Jason Roy and Jofra Archer. There is the risk of losing them later in the tournament, but Eoin Morgan has clarified that they would be fielded only if the risk is short-term, and not long-term. Roy has missed three games because of a hamstring injury, while Archer has been slightly down on pace because of a side strain. The paceman was present at training briefly on Saturday, perhaps because the team management didn't want to exert him.

As for India, they may be unbeaten, but their batting, after Virat Kohli at No. 3, looks slightly unsettled. Vijay Shankar is under pressure to keep his place, but Kohli believes "he is close to playing a defining knock". Perhaps a sign that Vijay will get at least another game. Considering India play Bangladesh on the bounce, the coaching staff also spent considerable time with Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik, the back-up batsmen, in the nets in the lead-up to the England game.

Then there is the question of team balance. Mohammed Shami's rip-roaring form means he should be a shoo-in, which Kohli said without quite saying at the pre-match press conference. This leaves their lower order without the insurance of Bhuvneshwar Kumar at No. 8, leaving the tail beginning at that number. It will be interesting to see if they take the aggressive route by continuing to persist with the same five-bowler theory or try and find ways to bring in Ravindra Jadeja, which may possibly need them to separate the wrist-spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, or leave out Kedar Jadhav. It's a tricky call better made now than in a knockout game.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)

England: LLWWW

India: WWDWW

In the spotlight

The "people are waiting for us to fail" response to Michael Vaughan (and others) on Twitter has brought attention on Jonny Bairstow. While he has received support from former captain Nasser Hussain, the only way to get out of the sticky wicket is by scoring runs. As such, Bairstow has had a decent tournament without getting to wow level. Scores of 27 and 0 in his last two outings, clubbed with the possible return of Roy after a two-week break, puts the onus on Bairstow to drive the innings against arguably the tournament's best attack.

Vijay Shankar hasn't had a shocker of a tournament as scores of 15*, 29 and 14, along with a couple of wickets against Pakistan, indicate. However, when you have Pant and Karthik waiting in the reserves, every opportunity matters. Vijay has exhibited good technique and maturity. The Kemar Roach delivery that got him may have troubled most others, while the lbw call against Afghanistan could have gone either way. All said and done, there's nothing like the backing of a solid hit and a score to present your case and with the firm backing of his captain, Vijay would be itching to do just that.

Team news

James Vince is set to make way if Roy plays.

England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood

India are likely to remain unchanged, unless they want to tinker with the line-up to fit Jadeja in.

India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Vijay Shankar, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

Pitch and conditions

New Zealand rued leaving out legspinner Ish Sodhi on what what many experts likened to a fifth-day Edgbaston track against Pakistan. However, the surface for Sunday's game is a fresh one. England's director of cricket and former spinner Ashley Giles reckons this will be the "best batting pitch of the tournament".

Strategy punt

  • Since July 2015, MS Dhoni's strike rate against legspin is a poor 58.05. This tournament, that number has come down to 39.29 over the 28 deliveries he has faced against them. And against offspin this tournament, he strikes at 33.33. There couldn't have been an easier memo for England: get Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid on while Dhoni is looking to get in.

  • Jadhav's economy of 5.16 against left-handers is a tad better than the corresponding numbers against right-handers. England have three left-handers in the middle order - Ben Stokes, Morgan and Moeen. As such, Jadhav hasn't been needed much, but should India find themselves challenged, he may not be a bad option for Kohli.

Stats and trivia

  • The chasing side has won each of the last five completed ODIs at Edgbaston.

  • The only kind of bowling Morgan averages less than 40 and strikes at less than 100 against since 2017 is left-arm fast. India don't have one this tournament.

  • Since 2017, 75% of Jos Buttler's 50-plus scores have resulted in England wins. For Morgan, that number stands at 90%.

  • India have taken nine wickets per match on an average, the best among the ten teams in this World Cup. Their average of 24.7 is also right up there.

  • Shami has eight wickets in two games, including a hat-trick, but his record against England is poor - 12 wickets in ten games with a wicket every 37 balls, his third-worst bowling record against an opposition.


"I sort of recall the Champions Trophy final we played here against India. It was a complete away game. We had a number of fans in the ground, but the noise the Indian fans make with horns makes it that much louder. So yes, tomorrow will feel like an away game."
Eoin Morgan knows it'll feel more like Eden Gardens than Edgbaston on Sunday

"Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] is recovering very fast. When he gets fit, it's going to be a bit of a headache for us to see what we're going to do, but we'll take the best call for the team at that moment, and I'm sure everyone will understand."
Virat Kohli hints at a change of heart on their second fast bowler