Starting the World Cup mission as a top favorite, the hosts England’s semi final hope have been pale as they are in the fifth place of the table with 8 points. Pakistan have passed them with a nail-biting win over Afghanistan yesterday.
English captain Eoin Morgan has urged his side to be flexible now that their World Cup hopes are in the balance.
An England team widely tipped to end their World Cup drought will be on the verge of a first-round exit if they lose to unbeaten India at Edgbaston today before their concluding round-robin match with New Zealand.
Despite coming into the World Cup as the top-ranked side in one-day internationals, England have lost three pool matches, including their last two against Sri Lanka and reigning champions Australia.
To make matters worse for the home side, opener Johny Bairstow has found himself involved in a public row with former England captain Michael Vaughan, who labelled his fellow Yorkshire cricketer’s claim that people are waiting for the hosts to fail at the World Cup “negative” and “pathetic”.
England’s white-ball revival from the depths of their first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup was built on aggressive top-order batting that saw them compile huge totals.
But they have been unable to adjust their game on the more bowler-friendly surfaces at this World Cup.
Captain Morgan says, “I can’t fault the commitment or application that the guys have produced in every single game. Where we’ve let ourselves down as a group is adapting to conditions.”
“It’s been a bigger challenge in this World Cup than previous bilateral series. We’re going to have to adapt to conditions, adapt to playing against a strong side in India,” he added.
England’s two most recent defeats have coincided with the absence through a hamstring injury of Jason Roy, with replacement James Vince struggling to fill the gap. Although English supporters might be happy to expect that Jason Roy would be available for the clash against India.
Two-time champions India will secure a place in the semi-finals if they win, although there are concerns they are too reliant on captain Virat Kohli for runs.
Kohli, the world’s top-ranked Test and ODI batsman, has hit four consecutive half-centuries and on Thursday became the fastest batsmen to 20,000 international runs across all formats.