Hot favorites India will take on the under-dogs England tomorrow in a group ‘B’ fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at Bengaluru. The home team is definitely the favorites of this
encounter considering their recent performances in the limited overs format of the game. On the other hand, England has had a torrid time in One Day International (ODI) cricket recently as they lost their previous ODI series against the Aussies by 1-6 and
marginally avoided an upset against Netherlands in their opening match of the mega event.
India showed against Bangladesh that why they are rated as the best batting lineup on the flat tracks of sub-continent. Indian batting looks to be in ideal shape as almost all the batsmen
apart from Yuvraj Singh have found form in the lead up to this event. Such is the strength of the Indian batting at the moment that a batsman of the class of Suresh Raina is sitting on the bench. He might have to wait a little longer to get his opportunity
in the World Cup after Virat Kohli’s superb hundred in the first match.
India’s major concern is their bowling department as it has been exposed quite frequently in the limited overs cricket. They faced a huge dent in their World Cup preparation as Praveen
Kumar was ruled out of the tournament because of an elbow injury. He is considered as a limited overs specialist and Sreesanth who replaced him in the squad looked quite ordinary in the first match against Bangladesh. India is expected to make one change in
the squad as Ravichandran Ashvin or Piyush Chawla are likely to replace Sreesanth in the playing 11.
On the other side of the coin, England has a lot of questions to answer, especially in their bowling and fielding department which were found wondering against Netherlands. However all
the batsmen looked in good shape as they chased down a huge total without much of a trouble. England has experimented in this tournament to open the batting with Kevin Pietersen which seems to be the right ploy as he is by far the best English batsman and
he should get the maximum number of overs to express himself completely.
A major positive in the previous game for the English team was the return to form of Paul Collingwood. He is an important player because he possesses the ability to finish the matches
for his country.
Andrew Strauss would be hoping that James Anderson can find form against India as he has been quite disappointing recently in ODI cricket. He is the spearhead of the English bowling but
somehow he seems to perform well in bowling friendly conditions and struggles on the flat tracks. English bowling would do well to contain the Indian batting as it would be the real challenge for Strauss and company.
India has an edge over England at home but anything can happen in such a big game. Both teams would be looking to gain two important points to go on top in group ‘B’. The odds are heavily
in favor of the home team but one expects the English team to stretch them to the limits.