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File photo of Indian cricket team star Virat Kohli© AFP

Two-time ODI World Cup winners India take on England, the reigning champions, in the 29th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 on October 29 at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Led by Rohit Sharma, India have won all their five matches in the tournament so far. The Indian team beat New Zealand by four wickets in their latest encounter in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023. Virat Kohli’s 95 and Mohammed Shami’s 5/54 headlined the team’s commanding performance against 2019 World Cup runners-up New Zealand. India, earlier in the tournament, defeated Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Australia – all in run chases. England, on the other hand, have had a poor start to their title defence with four defeats in five matches. Their only win was a 137-run success against Bangladesh while they have lost to New Zealand, Afghanistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The English side, however, has the upper hand against India in ICC Cricket World Cup history. England have won four and tied one of the eight matches in this fixture. India, though, lead 57-44 in overall ODI wins in this fixture.

Here are the key player battles to watch out for in the India vs England ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match:

Rohit Sharma vs Mark Wood

Rohit Sharma is India’s second-highest run-getter in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 with 311 runs in five matches. He boasts a strike-rate of 133.47 in the tournament, smashing 33 fours and 17 sixes so far, while averaging 62.20. Rohit will be key in neutralizing the new ball threat of England’s firey pacer Mark Wood.

Rohit has scored 73 runs in 86 balls against Mark Wood in ODI cricket, hitting 12 fours and a six. Wood, meanwhile, has dismissed the Indian captain only once.

Virat Kohli vs Adil Rashid

India’s leading run-scorer in this tournament is Virat Kohli with 354 runs in five matches. He slammed a century against Bangladesh while scoring fifties against Australia, Afghanistan and New Zealand.

Adil Rashid, on the other hand, is England’s second-highest wicket-taker this edition with six wickets. In spin-friendly conditions at Lucknow, Rashid will be a handful for the Indian batters in the middle overs.

Virat Kohli and Adil Rashid have squared off in eight ODI innings. Kohli has scored 108 runs at a strike-rate of 93.10, including seven fours and a six. Rashid, meanwhile, has dismissed Kohli thrice with an average of 36.00.

KL Rahul vs Moeen Ali

Another key matchup in the middle overs of the Indian innings would be KL Rahul against Moeen Ali.

KL Rahul has been impressive throughout the World Cup 2023, scoring 177 runs in four innings, remaining unbeaten thrice, headlined by the match-winning 97 against Australia. He has notched 708 runs in 18 ODIs in 2023, smashing five half-centuries and one ton. The BRSABV Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow is also where KL Rahul plays franchise T20 cricket, wherein he averages 46.25 with the bat.

Moeen Ali hasn’t enjoyed a successful campaign this edition. However, he has picked up nine wickets and bowled at an economy rate of 5.13 against India in this format.

Meanwhile, KL Rahul has scored 32 runs in 46 balls against Moeen Ali in ODI cricket. Although the Indian batter hasn’t been free-scoring against the English off-spinner, Moeen is yet to dismiss Rahul in this format.

Jonny Bairstow vs Jasprit Bumrah

England opener Jonny Bairstow will be responsible for providing his team a flying start against unbeaten India in the ICC World Cup 2023 encounter. Bairstow has amassed 127 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 90.07 so far in this tournament.

Bairstow will go up against India’s Jasprit Bumrah early on in the innings. Bumrah, meanwhile, is India’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 dismissals. He has also maintained a commendable economy rate of 3.80, despite bowling in the first powerplay and death overs.

Jasprit Bumrah has dismissed Jonny Bairstow once in 44 balls in ODI cricket. Bairstow, on the other hand, has accumulated only 22 runs at a strike-rate of 50.00 in this head-to-head, 12 of which are in boundaries. Bumrah has bowled 33 dot balls against Bairstow in this format, gaining the upper hand ahead of the clash in Lucknow.

Joe Root vs Ravichandran Ashwin

England’s batters, barring the win against Bangladesh, have failed to notch big scores. On spin-friendly conditions in Lucknow, it will be another uphill battle for the Three Lions. Joe Root, one of England’s best batters against spin, will be key in this clash. He has averaged 35.00 in this World Cup, slamming two half-centuries – versus New Zealand and Bangladesh. Root has scored 739 runs in 21 ODIs against India, including three centuries.

India are expected to play Ravichandran Ashwin against England on Sunday. The off-spinner has scalped 35 wickets in 23 ODIs against the Three Lions at an average of 28.00, making him a fruitful option for Rohit Sharma and Co. at Lucknow.

Joe Root, however, has a slight upper hand against Ravichandran Ashwin in ODI cricket. Root has scored 97 runs in 134 balls, striking at 72.38, smashing six fours and a six. Ashwin, meanwhile, has dismissed him twice and bowled 69 dot balls. An average of 48.50, although, gives the Englishman an advantage.

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