England got their World Cup 2019 campaign back on track with a comprehensive 31-run win over India at Edgbaston on Sunday.
All eyes were on the crunch England vs India encounter as the semi-final race spiced up after Pakistan held their nerves to clinch a thrilling win over Afghanistan on Saturday in Leeds. India had the backing of a billion more fans as the whole of the sub-continent, it is safe to say, rooted for Virat Kohli & Co. as the chances of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka qualifying for the semi-final would have received a boost with an Indian win.
However, that was not meant to be as India were comfortably outclassed by the hosts England on a good batting surface at Edgbaston.
After opting to bat, England posted a formidable total of 337/7 on the board, with Jonny Bairstow slammed a century and Ben Stokes, Jason Roy scoring fifties. In reply, India fell 31 runs short despite Rohit Sharma making his third ton of the tournament and Kohli scoring 66. Dhoni came to the crease at 226/4, with India needing 112 off 65 balls, and eventually finished on 42 not out from 31 balls.
Pakistan fans, desperate for their arch-rivals India to beat England to boost their own semi-final hopes, took to social media to criticize Dhoni but Kohli has defended the former skipper.
When asked about India’s subdued finish to their innings, Kohli said: “It’s up to the discussions with the two guys in there. MS was trying really hard to get the boundaries. It wasn’t easy because they were bowling really well. When the run-rate got to 14-15 it became tough. We will sit down and assess and try to improve in the next game.”
India’s defeat to England was also their first of this World Cup and it resulted in Sri Lanka joining Afghanistan, West Indies and South Africa in exiting the tournament.
“Every team has lost a game or two here and there. England were better on the day. No one likes to lose but you have to take it in your stride and understand that the opposition played better on the day.
“They were more clinical in the executions of their plans. We have to accept that. The mood is the same – it’s a setback and we have to brush it aside and move forward,” Kohli added.