Niall O’Brien: Kohli and India can pile the pressure on England at 9/2

England favourites for the World Cup never sounded right anyway, did it?


James Vince is having a nightmare at this World Cup. He’s just had a really bad time of it. He got a decent ball in the Australia game, but it was far too expansive a shot against the new ball.

It was the shot of a player searching for form and short on confidence.

Time is running out for him. He’s one of those players who looks good at the crease, but your currency as a batsman is runs, and unfortunately for him, he’s not putting enough of them on the board.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: James Vince of England fields the ball during a nets session at Edgbaston on June 28, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Roy to return? And to score? Get the odds at

Once the World Cup is over England might have to look down a different avenue for the second half of the summer.

England could open the batting with Moeen Ali against India as he’s done it for a number of years for Worcestershire in limited overs cricket.

He’s as likely to score as many runs as Vince at the moment, and it’d allow them to add Liam Plunkett to get another bowling option. He can bat a bit too.

Though I’d think that, even if Jason Roy is 75% fit, England will have to take a gamble and get him back in the side because without him their side looks so much weaker.

He might be a bit rusty, but he’ll have been in the nets and has the character and skill to get the bit between his teeth and put up a score.

If he walks out to bat with Jonny Bairstow at Edgbaston he’d give the team and fans a massive lift. He’s a must-start if he’s anywhere near fit to play.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 24: Jason Roy of England waits for a team photograph at Lords on June 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Pitch could have England in a spin

India are playing very well – they’re the last unbeaten team in the tournament. Their bowling is stronger than their batting right now.

Take out Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and their batting doesn’t look all that powerful. They’ve got MS Dhoni in the middle order and he’s still a fine player, but his powers are waning.

It’s the bowlers, Bumrah and Chahal in particular, who’ve stood out. They’ll give England’s batsmen a big test.

The wicket at Birmingham generally spins. We saw New Zealand play Pakistan on a used wicket there and it was turning a long way. If England find themselves on a wicket like that on Sunday it’s going to be very dangerous with India’s bowling attack.

The visitors are also playing full of confidence while England aren’t. It’s a huge game and you’d have to see India as favourites. Just like Australia the other day, they’ll know they can put another nail in the coffin of the pre-tournament favourites with a win.

Pakistan are hot on the heels of England, and Bangladesh are still in the hunt too. So there’s a lot at stake in this game.

India’s Yuzvendra Chahal (C) celebrates after the dismissal of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between India and Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, southern England, on June 22, 2019. (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

England need a win against India – check the odds at Put

Indian edge

I’d fancy India to win. They’re so confident right now, and they’ll have huge support in Edgbaston with Birmingham’s large Indian community.

I didn’t like England against the Australians last week, and I don’t think they’ll get the result here either. Their status in the competition could come down to the last game against New Zealand.

Virat Kohli’s playing so well too. If India are going to put runs on the board, it’s going to be from the bat of Virat Kohli or Sharma. Kohli looks in good touch and would’ve fancied a big score in their last game but got out.

Niall’s Pick of the Punts: Virat Kohli Top Batsman @ 9/2

India to Win @ 4/5


What do you think?