Back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia left England in serious trouble, but Jason Roy, returning from a hamstring injury, combined with Jonny Bairstow to deliver victory over India at Edgbaston. Hugh Chevallier tells us how in the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
England v India
Match 38, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
June 30, 2019
The return of Roy transmuted England from base metal to burnished silver. Under intense – if self-inflicted – pressure, they won: beat New Zealand, and they would reach the semis, while India were still odds-on to progress.
Back for James Vince, Roy had not batted for three weeks, but the message in two first-over boundaries was clear: normal service had been resumed. The most swaggering opening pair in cricket rode their luck. Twice Bairstow inside-edged Mohammed Shami for four, while Roy survived gloving Pandya down the leg side on 21. Kohli declined a review – there would be none all day – and the openers cuffed another 111 in 11 overs.
Reluctant to test Roy’s hamstring too much, they exploited a short boundary, happily depositing wrist-spinners Chahal and Yadav into the Drayton Manor Stand. Eventually, sub fielder Ravindra Jadeja nimbly caught Roy for an exhilarating 66.
A score of 160 in 22 hinted at riches, but Root was unusually leaden on a slowish surface, and Shami, en route to a career-best five-for, enjoyed a spell of 3–1–3–2. His first wicket was Bairstow, whose steely century made amends for having bizarrely accused some players-turned-pundits of wanting England to fail. Even so, it needed Stokes’s third successive score of 79-plus to pull them past 300.
After Bumrah took death bowling to new heights, Woakes began with three maidens, limiting India to 28 for one from ten. Sharma, dropped on four by Root off Archer at second slip, and Kohli accelerated; at 146 in the 29th, the game was on. But for the fifth match running, Kohli failed to transform a fifty into a century.
Woakes came back to remove Sharma, who had now converted three out of four, then held an outrageous diving catch to end a breathless innings from Pant. And when Plunkett, in for Moeen Ali, claimed the hard-hitting Pandya, India needed 71 from 31 – tricky, but not impossible. Yet Dhoni chose discretion over valour, singles over boundaries, triggering accusations of deliberately sabotaging Pakistan’s late charge towards the knockouts. Whatever India’s motivation, their actions did not look good.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack