Choice of game
The mention of Birmingham conjures up images of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Napalm Death. To watch two World Cup favourites at the historical Edgbaston ground, and to maybe sing Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll or Black Sabbath's Paranoid along with other rock music fans, was an opportunity that I was not going to miss.
The team with the away kit, which was predominantly orange with shades of dark blue. My last England-India match at this venue was the 2013 Champions Trophy final, where Ishant Sharma inspired a come-from-behind victory for India. With this being a league stage match, I was just looking forward to a good game of cricket and for India to get challenged - a top-order collapse or a huge target to chase - so that the team is ready for the knockout stage. That box definitely got ticked.
Led by Johny Bairstow and Jason Roy, the England batting unit executed their plan to go on the rampage. That worked in their favour, as India's bowlers started to waver in line and length. Later, the opening spells by Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett really choked India's chase, one that they couldn't recover from. After a fantastic start of 5-3-8-1, Woakes followed it up to remove the centurion Rohit Sharma with the first ball of his second spell. On wickets conducive to batting, bowling performances don't get better than this and he should have been the Player of the Match.
One thing I would have changed
India's non-review of Jason Roy's nick to the wicketkeeper. That would have certainly helped to curtail the run rate, as Roy was the more aggressive of the opening duo at that stage.
There was a chance for a second World Cup hat-trick for Mohammed Shami. But Ben Stokes banished those thoughts with a blistering boundary. On another front, India have now lost three World Cup matches during this decade and I have unfortunately attended all three of them - the others being the loss to South Africa in Nagpur in 2011 and the 2015 semi-final loss to Australia in Sydney. Like many India fans, I do hope that there are no further World Cup losses for India this decade.
Pant's flying bat
I am not sure if Edgbaston has bats flying during the night. But Sunday's match certainly witnessed a bat flying during the day. Amid Pant's repeated slogs off Mark Wood, one such swipe saw the bat fly off from his grip and land near the wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Woakes' catch to dismiss Pant was the gamechanger, as the Pant and Pandya combination could have taken India close. Woakes ran in at full tilt from one end of the Raglan stand to the other and dived at full stretch to snag a stunner.
A "home" game for India with about 90% India supporters. India fans had travelled from different parts of the world - India, various parts of the US, the UK, mainland Europe, Middle East and even New Zealand - to support their team. At one point in the day, the entire crowd came together to wave blue scarves in support of the #OneDay4Children initiative. It was lovely to see many kids walking around with the limited edition blue bat that was released for the occasion.
Shot of the day
The reverse sweep by Ben Stokes off Yuzvendra Chahal in the 40th over. That shot was as powerful as the other sixes hit in that direction by the right-hand batsmen.
A well-deserved victory for England and a chance to have a good look in the mirror for India. The loss makes it likely that India will play at Edgbaston in the semi-finals. That could be a major disadvantage, as Old Trafford's conditions are more suited to the Indian team's skill set.
Marks out of 10
Nine. A lovely day out with my brother and Sanjay, my friend from Birmingham. It was nice to reconnect with folks I had met at earlier games during the tournament and even way back from the 2015 World Cup. England's batting and bowling displays were fantastic. There's hope that India learn their lessons from this loss and are better prepared for the knockout stage.
I predict a rematch on July 11. Same teams, same venue. What's your take? See you there.
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