Preview: Fresh from their Twenty20 International (T20I) series win, an upbeat India will be eyeing to continue with the momentum when they take on England in the first of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) rubber at Trent Bridge on Thursday. With cricket's blue riband tournament scheduled to be held in United Kingdom in 2015, the ODI series will give Virat Kohli an ideal opportunity to get a drift about the conditions that his men are expected to encounter at exactly same time next year.
One player who has been absolutely magnificent for the Indian Team in limited overs cricket in the past year and a half is Kuldeep Yadav. Till now, the Indian side has built a fearless and attacking reputation.
Like India, the hosts' batting line-up also runs deep with the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Morgan and Ben Stokes. The Men-in-Blue and the English team have faced each other in an ODI series in India a year ago when the hosts were victorious by 2-1. However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are expected to form the lower middle-order. Expect much of the same from Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal who wreacked havoc for England batsmen in the T20s.
If the management thinks of playing an extra pacer, Siddarth Kaul or Shardul Thakur might come into play.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar - who is nursing a back problem - is not a certain starter for this game which will leave Umesh Yadav with the job of leading the pace attack.
Despite his rich vein of form at his home ground, it was expected that Hales would make way for Ben Stokes's inclusion in the eleven for the ODI series opener.
Similarly, third-ranked South Africa face the challenge of blanking Sri Lanka 5-0 in an away series to ensure they do not slip behind New Zealand even as mid-table sides Bangladesh (seventh), Sri Lanka (eighth) and the West Indies (ninth) will be vying for important points during this period.
Kuldeep (39 wickets in 20 ODIs at average 20.02) and Chahal (43 wickets in 23 ODIs at average 21.83) have proved their worth since making debuts but their ultimate test will be against England. Since 2016, the English batsmen have raked up most number of runs when it comes to the 50-over format - 14,297 (1,533 runs more than the second highest team). Since their disastrous World Cup, England have won 46 out of 69 ODIs.
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England were knocked out of the tournament by Croatia, and Kane looked a million miles away from his normal lethal self. England won their opening game at a major tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup.
Despite a valiant effort, the team will come home without the Jules Rimet trophy after losing the semi final 2-1 to Croatia . Mia Šetula, a Croatian student at Bournemouth University , admitted she will be cheering for England's opponents tonight.
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After Croatia's defeat of England on Wednesday, 30 of the 32 teams in the 2018 World Cup have been eliminated. "So we'll see. For many Croatians, the Yugoslav Wars - that ended with the formation of their country - started with one.
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