BIRMINGHAM, June 29: A ruthless India, sporting flaming orange, will be eyeing pole position with a solid knockout punch on an already disintegrated England in Sunday�s high-profile World Cup encounter.
With an unbeaten record in six encounters so far, Virat Kohli�s men are all but through to the semifinals with 11 points but a win against England will further tighten their grip at the top and in the process oust the hosts from the global event.
Not long ago, England were considered to be favourites to win the tournament but Eoin Morgan�s men have bungled big time in crucial games, which has now brought them at the verge of exit with only eight points from seven games.
It is hard but it seems as if the �Sky Blue� of England has been covered by thick grey cloud with no silver lining in the horizon.
It is indeed tragic that England�s best ODI team in recent history with the likes of captain Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer in their ranks are facing an imminent exit.
Sunday�s encounter at Birmingham�s Edgbaston with a capacity Indian crowd could be rather unsettling for a team which is already under severe pressure from all quarters.
In fact, it increased exponentially after Jonny Bairstow�s dig at former England captains Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen.
�People were waiting for us to fail,� Bairstow told reporters.
�They are not willing us on to win, in many ways, they are waiting for you to get that loss, so they can jump on your throat. It�s a typical English thing to do, in every sport,� Bairstow�s comments prior to the India game didn�t go down well with Vaughan, who countered, calling it a �negative, pathetic mindset� in an Instagram post.
For India, possibly, it couldn�t have been a better time to square off with the Poms who could again be unsettled by conditions which is expected to be predominantly sub-continental.
There�s bright sunshine, the baked pitch on the drier side with promise of more turn than usual.
Playing two wrist spinners in these conditions along with a lethal Jasprit Bumrah could well spell doom for an English side, which has fluffed its lines while chasing against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
In fact, Morgan�s approach of moving towards leg stump against a fast and furious Mitchell Starc during Lord�s game prompted Kevin Pietersen to question whether the skipper is �scared�.
England, however, could take solace from the fact that they beat India 2-1 in their last bilateral series at home but an injured Bumrah didn�t feature in that series. The Indian team, however, will not be over strategizing about the English team as pacer Mohammed Shami pointed out. � PTI
Match Starts at 3 PM