2019 Cricket World Cup: England boost semi-final hopes with crucial win over India
Bairstow and Roy demolished the India bowling attack (photo: Getty Images)

2019 Cricket World Cup: England boost semi-final hopes with crucial win over India

The hosts just need to defeat New Zealand on Wednesday to ensure a top four finish.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

England took a giant leap towards the World Cup semi-finals with a vital 31-run victory over India, previously the only undefeated side in the competition.

Hefty totals from Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jason Roy put the home side in pole position before India lost momentum in their run chase once the valiant efforts of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were brought to an end.

The result means that England know that victory over New Zealand will definitely see them progress, whilst India themselves are not certain of a place in the knockout stages just yet.

Roy and Bairstow open up

Eoin Morgan won the toss and opted to bat first, voiding the problems England have encountered when chasing totals, as has been the case in all three of their defeats thus far.

After James Vince struggled with the bat, England were delighted to welcome back opener Roy after a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the last three games.

Both Roy and Bairstow took the game to India, despite a couple of near misses in the opening stages. Bairstow inside-edged past his stumps twice, whilst Roy should have been out caught behind, only for India to decide not to review the 'not out' decision.

After elegantly seeing off the pace attack, the two openers attacked the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, blasting eight maximums between them. When Roy was eventually dismissed by an excellent diving catch from substitute Ravi Jadeja, England already looked set for a total of 350 after scoring 160 from 22 overs.

Stokes continues his form

Yet India put the squeeze on after that breakthrough, gradually slowing down the run rate. Bairstow and Eoin Morgan were dismissed in successive Mohammed Shami overs, the latter falling to a short delivery for the second game running.

But Joe Root was able to hold down an anchor whilst Ben Stokes continued his emphatic recent form, emphasised by a remarkable reverse sweep for six on his way to 79 from just 54 deliveries.

A Jos Buttler cameo of 20 from eight helped England to 337-7, short of what they are capable of reaching but still leaving India with a record run chase to negotiate.

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Sharma and Kohli recover after slow start

And the response was initiated with a nightmare start, KL Rahul departing for a duck, moments after Sharma was put down in the slips by Root.

With India scoring less than 30 in the opening ten overs, the required run rate was already beginning to get on top of them. Chris Woakes particularly impressing with three maidens and that wicket to his name. Yet captain Kohli and Sharma opted not to panic, cutting, driving and pulling their way to a partnership of 138 in 26 overs.

Kohli looked in complete control until he swiped at a wide delivery from the returning Liam Plunkett, cutting straight to substitute fielder Vince.

Regular wickets end Indian threat

The exciting Rishabh Pant came to the crease for his World Cup debut but never looked completely confident as he mishit a number of strokes.

Any hopes India still had of winning the contest all but fizzled out when Sharma edged straight to Buttler on Woakes' first delivery of his second spell. Greeted by a shriek in the crowd, you could sense the wicket underpinned the route the outcome of the contest was taking.

Pant followed three overs later and a valiant effort of 45 from 33 by Hardik Pandya was ended by Plunkett who finished with three wickets to his name.

MS Dhoni made an unbeaten 42 from 31 as the contest cantered to a close, the Indian veteran remarkably only striking his side's solitary six in the final over of the innings. England hit 13.

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