England beat India by 31 runs in ICC World Cup keeping their semi-final hope alive

Jonny Bairstow brilliant century 111 off 109 (10 fours, 6 sixes), Ben Stokes 79 off 54 (6 fours, 3 sixes), Jason Roy 66 off 57 (7 fours, 2 sixes) and Joe Root 44 off 54 and Liam Plunkett 3/55 helped England beat India by 31 runs in the ICC World Cup keeping their hopes alive for semi-final on Sunday.

With this win England are back in top four keeping their hopes alive for semis spot but will have to beat New Zealand in their last league match. From eight matches, England have won five while lost thre e with 10 points.

Earlier, England won the toss and opted to bat putting 337 runs in 50 overs. India while chasing a target of 338 lost to England by 31 runs after losing five wickets scoring 306 in 50 overs.

Rohit Sharma’s superb 25th ODI century 102 off 109 (15 fours), Virat Kohli half century 66 off 76 (7 fours), Hardik Pandya quickfire 45 off 33 (4 fours), Rishabh Pant 32 off 29 (4 fours) went in vain as India fell 31 runs short losing the game.

India openers Rohit Sharma and K L Rahul started on a poor note with just 8 runs on board for first wicket but soon Chris Woakes gave a breathrough picking early wicket of Rahul for a duck caught and bowled in the very 3rd over. India’s first wicket went down at 8.

Kohli completed his half-century in Stokes spell coming with beautiful shot through the covers stopped out on the boundary but managed to steal 2 runs in the last ball of the 20th over. Meanwhile, in 22nd over skipper Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma skipping along nicely came up with 100 run-stand.

Soon after Kohli’s half-century Rohit too chased his 43rd ODI fifty. India were 107/1 in 23 overs. Both were going strongly and picking boundaries especially Rohit who was regularly hitting boundaries despite required run rate went on climbing. Rohit and Kohli further played an important innings chipping in 138 run-stand for second wicket still keeping hopes alive.

However, Plunkett gave England an opening just when things were beginning to get itchy, Virat eager to get bat on ball maybe skidded through a touch, and Vince swallowed a fat outside edge in 29th over. Kohli 66 came in 76 balls (7 fours).

Rohit Sharma with his gritty innings came up with another superb 25th ODI century 100 in 35th over pushing for two runs in Plunkett’s spell.
With Virat’s departure Rishabh Pant came at no 4 and along with Rohit put another 52 runs for third wicket.

But before the partnership could further stretch, England grabbed big wicket of Rohit Sharma with Woakes scalping his second wicket caught behind by wicketkeeper Buttler. Rohit’s 102 came in 109 (15 fours).

India lost its third wicket at 198. However, Pandya and Pant who built 28 run stand for fourth wicket was broken by Plunkett taking second wicket of Pant stunning catch by Woakes at square leg boundary in 40th over.

Pant 32 off 29 (4 fours). India lost its fourth wicket at 226. For fifth wicket Dhoni and Pandya added 41 runs stand, but Pandya was the next to go after Plunkett grabbed his third wicket in 45th over. Pandya 45 off 33 (4 fours).

India’s fifth wicket fell at 267. In the last two overs, India needed 51 runs with 5 wickets in hand with required run rate climbing to 25.5. Dhoni 42 off 31 (4 fours, 1six) and Kedar Jadhav 12 off 13 (1 four) remained unbeaten till the end taking score to 306 in 50 overs.

Jonny Bairstow was adjudged the Man of the Match for his century 111. Liam Plunkett 3/55, Chris Woakes 2/58, were the wicket-takers for England. (UNI)