India aim to bring back ghost of 1999 World Cup for England

He also said that New Zealand deliberately lost to Pakistan (in league stage) in the 1992 World Cup to be able to play the semifinals at home. A tally that Pakistan, now on seven points, would fancy themselves to better with fixtures against Pakistan and Afghanistan remaining.

And Pakistan have a better chance of making it happen because they will be playing against Afghanistan (a team which is yet to win a match in this World Cup) and Bangladesh (who like Pakistan are staking their claim for a semi-final spot).

And with New Zealand losing just one game so far this tournament, to Pakistan last time out, it's far from going to be a walk in the park for Finch and his side. Three of their wins in the World Cup have been by the narrowest of margins, and some will consider them lucky to have got one point off India from a washout at Trent Bridge.

India, having 11 points from six games, and need to win one of their remaining three fixtures against England (Sunday), Bangladesh (July 2) and Sri Lanka (July 6) to confirm their berth in the last four. If we're batting first we've got to build those big partnerships or restrict them to what we can chase and go out and do it.

Defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia over the past week have thrown a spanner into England's semi-final ambitions but their chances of reaching the knockouts are still in their own hands.

Laxman, however, believes it will be a repeat of the 2003 World Cup final. The recent scare they received from Afghanistan should stand the team in good stead and possibly come up with alternate plans that may include a change in personnel who can turbo-prop the middle order.

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Root also said that England have not adapted to the slow pitches at the tournament, having played on batsman-friendly surfaces at the same grounds during One-day worldwide bilateral series played in the buildup to the World Cup. Yet, the rivalry between these two teams have been quite an intense one, thanks to the passionate fans of both sides.

But any desire to put their feet up for Saturday's showcase with New Zealand at Lord's couldn't be further from reality. They would thus need England to lose to India, leaving the hosts on 10 points.

Shami (4-16) was the pick of the India attack once again as West Indies were dismissed for 143 to see their slim semi-final aspirations ended.

They have lost a wicket in the opening powerplay in just one match, and average a tournament-high 52 runs per match. They may well already have enough points.

South Africa will be happy with a consolation win against Sri Lanka after their horrendous World Cup 2019 campaign came to an end (with their loss to Pakistan).

  • Lawrence Cooper