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ICC World Cup: England Take On Hosts


The hype ahead of this match has been huge and we are barely into the second week of the ICC World Cup.

As soon as the fixture list was released to the general public this was always going to be one of the marquee clashes of the tournament.

You only need to see the unfortunate video reels of police striking local fans with bamboo this week to realise just how desperate locals are to watch Dhoni’s men in their quest to emulate Kapil Dev’s team of 1983.

Over 3,000 police have been employed to maintain security, after the game had to be switched to the M Chinnaswamy Stadium because of repair work being done at Eden Gardens- the original venue.

The England captain has had several days to ensure that his team have consigned that error-strewn effort shown against the Netherlands to the back room.

"Hopefully India will take us lightly after that poor performance in the field against the Netherlands," said Strauss, who knows only a significant improvement will give his side a chance against one of the strong favourites to lift the trophy.

With perhaps the most destructive top order in world cricket, in front of their own partisan fans will present a far greater challenge for England here, but it will be interesting to see just how well India cope with the weight of expectation of over a billion fans.

The plain fact is that every time Indian cricketers step onto a field, in whatever format of the game, they are expected to win. So the pressure is no more intense according to Dhoni.

England (possible) 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Kevin Pietersen, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ian Bell, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Ravi Bopara, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Graeme Swann, 11 James Anderson

India (possible) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Sachin Tendulkar, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Virat Kohli, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Sreesanth/Piyush Chawla, 11 Munaf Patel.

England's record against India in the sub continent makes for grim reading.

They have only won one of their last 13 completed ODIs in the country, going back to the 5-1 drubbing in 2006 and the 5-0 thrashing in 2008.

If the visitors want to spoil India's World Cup party the key will be containing the power-packed top order.

Virender Sehwag set down the gauntlet with swashbuckling 175 against Bangladesh and was backed up by a fine Virat Kohli hundred only a week ago.

For England on the bowling front, keep an eye out for Graeme Swann. The Nottinghamshire off-spinner will thrive on a pitch that has already seen the spinners dominate. He was England's top bowler on a non-spinning deck in Nagpur, and if he gets assistance here, his impact will be crucial to England's chances of victory.

For India, the in-form Virender Sehwag is crucial to India’s chances and will be a top pick to top score today.

Some of the blows struck on his way to 175 were as brutal as ever seen, and he will look to attack England's bowlers from the very first ball. He has been open on his intent to bat through 50 overs and one would be hard pressed to bet against him doing just that.

The weather has remained cool and cloudy over the weekend, and there is a chance of more showers, which will make the toss important with the possible intervention of Duckworth-Lewis.

Interesting Statistic: India and England have met three times in Bangalore, with England actually having the lead of the head-to-head 2-1, although the wins did occur back in 1985 and 1993.

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