England end India’s unbeaten run to revive semi-final hopes

Vastavam web: A spirited England ended India’s unbeaten run in the Cricket World Cup with a 31-run victory in a high-scoring group match to boost their semi-final prospects on Sunday. Jonny Bairstow smashed a belligerent 111, Jason Roy returned from a hamstring injury to make 66 and Ben Stokes (79) provided the late burst in England’s commanding 337-7 after electing to bat on an Edgbaston featherbed.

Rohit Sharma smashed his third hundred of the tournament and Virat Kohli his fifth successive half-century but India did not get the late surge and finished on 306-5. Eoin Morgan’s men will qualify for the semi-finals if they beat New Zealand in their final group match on Wednesday.

If they lose, they could be pipped by either Pakistan — who need to beat Bangladesh — or by Bangladesh, provided Mashrafe Mortaza’s men can pull off an unlikely double over India and Pakistan. A no-result for England could also be enough because of their superior net run-rate. “It’s been frustrating a little bit for the guys, we know how well we can play,” Bairstow said after collecting his man-of-the-match award.

The hosts missed opener Roy particularly in their back-to-back defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia which had jeopardised their semi-final prospects.

The 28-year-old made an instant impact on his return, forging the tournament’s highest opening stand with Bairstow and both survived some torrid moments before tearing into the Indian attack during their 160-run stand. Bairstow brought up his eighth ODI century off 90 balls, celebrating by dropping his helmet, stretching out his arms and soaking in the applause. Mohammed Shami (5-69) returned to end Bairstow’s 109-ball blitz which included six sixes and 10 boundaries.

Rohit could not be denied his 25th ODI century but he fell to Woakes after making 102 which included 15 boundaries. Rishabh Pant made 32 in his World Cup debut and Hardik Pandya chipped in with a 45-run cameo but Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 42 not out, failed to do justice to his reputation as a ‘finisher’. “We have to accept it. We are still playing good cricket. The mood is the same in the changing room. We will learn from it and move forward,” Kohli said.