On this day last year (June 30, 2019), hosts England defeated India at Edgbaston in Birmingham by 31 runs in their World Cup encounter.
Batting first, England had posted 337 for 7 riding on Jonny Bairstow’s 111 off 109, Jason Roy’s 66 off 57 and Ben Stokes’ 79 off 54. India’s bowlers largely struggled to adjust to ground dimensions, with one boundary being extremely short as the match was played on one of the last pitches on the square.
Mohammed Shami, however, picked up 5 for 69 in the game to ensure England didn’t run away with the game with the bat.
In reply, India lost KL Rahul for 0 but Rohit Sharma (102) and Virat Kohli (66) added 138 for the second wicket. Once they fell, India’s chase fell apart, with many criticising their approach particularly towards the end.
In the last 5.1 overs, India needed 71 runs but MS Dhoni (42 off 31) and Kedar Jadhav (12 off 13) added only 39 runs with 20 of those in singles. Dhoni was slammed for not going for the win, with some even accusing India of deliberately losing to ensure Pakistan were knocked out.
“There is no doubt about this – we said this before and all cricketers are saying that – as I said, you can see this clearly; For a person like Dhoni who can hit a six or a four at will, he is blocking the ball then that is easy to see,” Razzaq was quoted by PakPassion when asked if India lost to England on purpose.PakPassion.
“I was working with the West Indies squad at last year’s World Cup. After India’s loss to England, Jason Holder, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell said to me, Mushy, India didn’t want to see Pakistan qualify for the semi-final,” Mushtaq Ahmed had said.
Meanwhile, Stokes wrote in his book that he felt Dhoni’s approach was strange.
“Arguably, the way MS Dhoni played when he came in with 112 runs needed from 11 overs was even stranger. He appeared more intent on singles than sixes. Even with a dozen balls remaining, India could still have won.
“…there was little or no intent from him (Dhoni) or his partner Kedar Jadhav. To me, while victory is still possible you always go for broke.”
However, former West Indies pacer Michael holding said Dhoni desperately wanted to win.
“It was not the game that India had to win, but I don’t think anyone can say that was a team tactic to lose the game. I watched that game and it appeared to me as if India weren’t putting up their 100 per cent, but I realised it was not the case when the expression on MS Dhoni’s face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I do not think it was a team decision to not try to win,”
India were knocked out by New Zealand in the semifinal while England beat New Zealand by a superior boundary count after a Super Over in the final to win the tournament.