Preview of the match – India vs England, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023/24, 29th Match

Big picture: Can England get back to winning ways?

India vs England is one of the most anticipated matches of the 2023 ODI World Cup. After all, it’s the pre-tournament favorites (and the hosts) who take on the defending champions. But no one thought that England would be hanging on by the thinnest of threads when this game came around.

With just one win from five games, England are lurking near the bottom of the points table. If they’re going to reach the knockouts from here, every atom in this universe has to work for them – there are so many permutations that they have to work in their favor.

England seems to have done what they control. They tested all 15 players in the original squad, tried to play without a care in the world, and even left their vice-captain in three of the five games. Nothing worked.

India, on the other hand, looked like the most complete team. With five wins in as many matches, they are the only unbeaten team in the tournament. They even beat New Zealand, their bogey team in ICC events, despite the absence of their most irreplaceable, two-in-one player Hardik Pandya.

The key to India’s success is how they start. Rohit Sharma set the tone in the powerplay, hitting 134.01, while Jasprit Bumrah did it with the ball, with an eye-popping economy of 2.90 in the first ten overs.

If India win tomorrow, they will regain the top spot and push England further to the brink of elimination. But they are still without Hardik, who is recovering from his ankle injury. And that means going in with just five frontline bowlers once again. Perhaps that is why Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav are rolling their arms in the nets.

Form guide: India on a winning streak

India WWWWW (last five ODIs, most recent first)
England LLLLL

In the spotlight: Mohammed Siraj and Jos Buttler

Coming into the World Cup, Mohammed Siraj was one of the most lethal ODI bowlers around, taking 30 wickets in 14 games in 2023. He bowled every third and had an economy rate of 4.91. But until now in this World Cup, he is no longer colored. He has just six wickets in five outings, at an economy of 5.90. If he continues in the same vein, he will face stiff competition from Mohammed Shami for his spot once Hardik returns.

Like his team, Jos Buttler has also failed to live up to expectations, and he has accepted it himself. Considered by many to be one of the most dangerous white-ball batters, Buttler started the tournament with 43 against New Zealand. But since then, his points have been 20, 9, 15 and 8. His captaincy is also under the scanner, especially the decisions to bowl first against Afghanistan and South Africa. Faced with all the unwanted attention and criticism, does he have anything left in the tank to inspire a change?

Team news: India is unlikely to change

India has the option of bringing in R Ashwin and playing three spinners. But that leaves them with just two seamers. So it is expected that they will play an unchanged XI.

India (possible): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Shubman Gill, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 KL Rahul (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

With no left-handed batter in India’s top six, Moeen Ali’s offspin is of little value. So he is likely to sit down again, with Harry Brook replacing him. England could also bring in Gus Atkinson for Mark Wood.

England (possible): 1 Jonny Bairstow, 2 Dawid Malan, 3 Joe Root, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler (capt, wk), 6 Harry Brook, 7 Liam Livingstone, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 David Willey, 10 Gus Atkinson, 11 Adil Rashid

Pitch and condition: A red clay surface

In the three matches so far at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in this World Cup, spinners have registered an economy of 4.79, as opposed to 5.63 for seamers. But Sunday’s match will be played on red clay with light grasses. So expect the seamers to have a bigger say.

The temperature in the afternoon is 31°C but should drop by five degrees at night. There is no rain forecast.

Stats and trivia: Kohli vs England

  • Only two defending World Cup champions have failed to reach the knockouts: Australia in 1992 and Sri Lanka in 1999.
  • Shreyas Iyer is 69 away from 2000 ODI runs. If he gets there on Sunday, he will be the second fastest Indian at the mark.
  • If Buttler scores 82 runs on Sunday, he will become the joint second-fastest Englishman to 5000 ODI runs. In total, only six wicketkeeper-batters have scored 5000 or more runs in ODIs.
  • England are the only team against Kohli to have played more than one ODI and averaged less than 50 (43.22).
  • Shami dismissed Buttler five times in 60 balls, more than any bowler in ODIs.
  • Jonny Bairstow averaged 13.25 against Ravindra Jadeja in ODIs, with four dismissals in six innings.


“Whoever got a chance, they contributed. I know nobody got big scores, hundreds didn’t get except Virat and Rohit. But that’s the challenge for other guys. Shubman scored fifty, Shreyas has scored a fifty, I am batting well. When Jadeja got a chance in the last match, he also finished the match. So, each player has a different role. And their role and responsibility is good. The team won , so we’re not worried at all. If anybody has the opportunity, I’m sure they’ll put their hands up.”
KL Rahul not worried about the lack of hundreds from the middle order

“We are desperate to come here and try and win back-to-back 50 in competitions. We are still very focused on all formats of the game.”
England assistant coach Marcus Trescothick plays on the idea that England has lost interest in ODIs

Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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