The English team batted with a sense of urgency that took them to 330
Pakistan supporters tried hard to cheer India to a win. But India just did not seem that keen to do so. Or maybe it knew the game was up halfway as Kohli sort of said in his post-match spiel. After Kohli went, jaws dropped and when Pandya did, they fell away. Rohit Sharma got 103 with Kohli but India needed hard-hitters to hit hard all the way. But a team which does not want to score runs in the first 10 overs and the last five, cannot win ODI matches.
Conspiracy theories and thumb sucking Dhoni
The picture of Dhoni sucking his thumb in the 47th over after it was struck by a ball symbolized Indian batting. Crowds are so used to seeing India win that they were a bit shocked. And it is here at the anxious moments that conspiracies, also known as strategic game management, surface. England’s win pushes Pakistan down or as Ananda Zaman commented on Facebook: “By losing, India chose New Zealand as semi final opponent, rather than England or Pakistan.“
It is all in the anxious minds and hopes of fans of course. It is a tense pre-semi final stage when everyone sees a dagger in the night. But conspiracy theories apart, India was insipid. Kohli as always did well, but Dhoni played his most un-Dhonilike innings in memory. Downcast Indian broadcasters wondered what happened to the fabled Indian/Dhoni finishing.
England’s ‘outstanding day’
The English team batted with a sense of urgency that took them to 330. Bairstow (Man of the Match) , Stokes, Root, all got runs. The boundaries were short and hits came plenty, but as Kohli told media: “Every team has lost a game here and there. No one likes to lose but you have to accept the other side played better. It is a setback. But England was better on the day. We will have to sit down and assess and improve in the next game."
And that next game is against Bangladesh, after two days.
England bowled better than the Indians, never letting go. Morgan summed it up for England when he said: "I think we’ve had an outstanding day.”
The race to the semis tournament
But another tournament is on, which centres around a race for the semis. The three main contenders are all affected by this English win. This is how it looks, according to Cricinfo:
Pakistan: Currently on nine points, they need to beat Bangladesh and hope England loses to New Zealand.
Bangladesh: They have seven points with two games in hand. But even beating India and Pakistan may not be enough. They will be rooting for NZ to beat England.
Sri Lanka: They are now out of the race for the top four.
But Bangladeshis like conspiracy theories not facts. The BD-Pak game may well be the tournament’s most exciting. As a commenter said: “Fans know teams lose, but go down fighting.”
Down or up, go fighting.