- Matthew Henry
- BBC Sport in Lucknow
From time to time in sports there are moments like a changing of the guard.
Stephen Hendry ended Steve Davis’ era of snooker dominance in the 1990 British Championship final; Serena Williams in 1999 Standing with arms outstretched in disbelief after beating Martina Hingis to win her first Grand Slam at the US Open; or Max Verstappen passing in the last minute Taking place in Abu Dhabi in 2021.
Sunday night in Lucknow felt like a similar moment for 50-over cricket.
England’s slump means we’ve seen it coming, but this result, with the gap as wide as the gap between Jos Buttler’s bat and pads, glaringly shines a light on us.
An eleven championship team was overwhelmed by another team bent on winning the championship.
While some of these changes are shocking, the magnitude of this one should be surprising.
India have everything that England had when they won the World Cup in 2019. England now has nothing but memories.
India are focused on achieving their stated goal – winning a trophy they have always desired – just like England were four years ago under captain Eoin Morgan.
Cricket’s powerhouse has not won a white-ball trophy for 12 years, and time is nothing compared to England’s 50-plus game wait for the trophy, which has been agonizingly long for three generations, until it’s time to win the trophy at Lord’s. It’s been a sunny Sunday, but India had planned for it and now look set to reap the rewards.
They have played more games in this format than any other team in the past four-year cycle – 66 compared to England’s 42.
The result is a team that looks like England before it, able to win games with its eyes closed.
The Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill partnership overtook Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy to become the world’s Best starting partner.
Next up is superstar Virat Kohli, solid KL Rahul and all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the role of Ben Stokes Pandya), who is expected to be fit again before the semi-finals at the latest.
If Jasprit Bumrah or Mohammed Siraj can’t deliver, Mohammed Shami or rejuvenated spinner Kuldeep Ya Kuldeep Yadav will pass the ball.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 717 international wickets, has not played since the opening match for India. He can be ruled out, just as England were able to rule out Moeen Ali four years ago.
Their white-ball depth had been England’s strength.
Now, Reece Topley is injured, resulting in Chris Woakes having to drop a bowler, while his opening partner David Willey was in the team last week One of the members who did not receive a new center contract.
The other man who came up, Gus Atkinson, played only six 50-plus games for county or country, while a batting line-up that was once the envy of the world continued to collapse at an alarming rate.
215, 170, 156, 129 is not the depreciation of the pound against the rupee, but the total number of goals scored by the England team in this World Cup continues to decrease.
The double figures are likely to be reached against Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
England was unable to find the brick that caused the entire castle to collapse. Butler’s eyes are averted, and he now suggests that “Answers on a Postcard” is the best place to find a solution.
India, meanwhile, have the last key factor that England had in 2019 – home advantage.
The last three World Cups have been won by the host nation.
India is playing in nine of 10 venues this tournament, from Dharamshala in the Himalayas to Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, Kolkata in the east and Ahmedabad in the west, bringing every city to a standstill.
In Lucknow, India’s frigid north, thousands of fans took to the ground – each answering the call and arriving in electric blue.
The match was billed by local television as “revenge” for the 10-wicket defeat by England in the T20 World Cup semi-finals in Adelaide a year ago.
England threatened to silence the locals for a while, but as the great Kohli sent them into a frenzy by waving his arms, the stadium’s ornate walls trembled as those in the stands blew horns and waved flags.
India won their first five matches of the tournament through the chase they favored.
These were so easy that both chases in the main event of Kohli’s attempt to score another century became a juggling act.
Here, they were asked to bat first on a tricky pitch and could only manage a par score at best, but still win by 100 runs.
Currently, with three group matches remaining and possible semi-finals and finals, India will be an almost unstoppable team.
Others, like Buster Douglas, who defeated the previously undefeated Mike Tyson, won the title but failed to inherit the mantle.
India is in their hands. They must now move on and protect the legacy.