Cricket World Cup

World Cup Tips: Did England expose India's weakness?

Shreyas Iyer
Iyer is a potential weakness

Ed Hawkins wonders whether batting first could prove India's undoing in the World Cup and why England are playing to form...


India need to be wary of balance

During the cacophony of blue-blood nationalism, histrionics and come-from-behind glory of thumping England in Lucknow on Sunday, it would be all too easy for India to blithely put another tick on the road map to a second World Cup title and think no more of it

If there is room for introspection, they will do well to consider the chink that was exposed by the bottom-placed team in the competition.

The rest will have spotted it, too. Nay, they may have previously recognised it as a possibility. It was the personification of the often held view that India are vulnerable batting first.

Some think it's down to ego, that India's batters are prone to play for their milestones - a debate which began to swirl when Virat Kohli farnmed strike and turned down the chance to kill the game quickly versus New Zealand. Others reckon that India are just not that good at the graft on a tricky pitch.

What is not in doubt is that if team do their homework on India's batters, they can be got at. England had their plans and executed them perfectly; get one to nip back at Shubman Gill, go hard back-of-a-length to Shreyas Iyer.

A combination of all three is tantalising. More likely, as our eyes have just seen, is that like every other team India are susceptible when their balance is upset. Mohammad Shami guaranteed at No 8 for the rest of the tournament would be enough to base a lay on the outright at 2.285/4.

Fortunately for India, Hardik Pandya has penty of time before the semi-finals to recover from ligament damage. It could be that the hopes of a nation rest on his constitution.

Even then there is jeopardy. India could risk fielding only five bowlers as they are enamoured with Suryalumar Yadav's striking and Shami is now undroppable. Mohammed Siraj may miss out in time.

England's diaster was foretold

It's becoming a little frustrating that England's almost-certain ignominious exit at the group stage continues to be treated as some sort of surprise. All the patriotic pundits - Eoin Morgan chief among them - just can't fathom the decline.

That despite it being crystal clear to anyone who had bothered to look in the build-up. It's worth remembering that in the two years previously England had a win rate of 52%. This ranked them fifth-worst. So not good enough for a top four. They also had a disastrous record batting second, winning only 38% of the time. Those figures now stand at 46% and 27% respectively.

England's price to finish bottom in the wake of the humbling against India and Netherlands' defeat of Bangladesh has collapsed from 30.029/1 to 6.6011/2.

If there was ever a better example to leave allegiances at the door whether betting, analysing or commentating, it is surely the noise surrounding England's campaign.

Bairstow bank buster

Staying on the theme of decline, a word on Jonny Bairstow and what a dreadful selection he has been to bettors who have considerd him as a top-bat bet.

Bairstow has the worst return rate of any opener in this tournament in the last two years, at a pathetic 10% - that's the equivalent of 9/110.00. For a batter who is going off at around the 11/43.75 mark it's chronic.


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