The Indians and the Brits have been involved in some impressive ODI finishes in the past.
In the ICC’s ODI rankings, England are the No.1 side at the moment while India follow next with just four points differentiating between them.
Ahead of what promises to be a gripping series, here we take a look at five memorable encounters between the two sides that share a rivalry for 44 years now:
1. India won by 5 runs at Birmingham, June 23, 2013
It was the final of the Champions Trophy, the next biggest title in the 50-over format after the World Cup, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men who were unbeaten till the final looked favourites to win the trophy. But England are always a dangerous side at home and would not have given it up easily. In the final which was curtailed to 20 overs a side because of rain, England captain Alistair Cook won the toss and asked India to bat first.
India did not have a good start, losing opener Rohit Sharma early on and after Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli put up some partnership, Ravi Bopara’s three-for rattled the Indian middle order and they were reduced to 66 for 5 in the 13th over. It was then Ravindra Jadeja who counter-attacked the English bowlers and along with Kohli, took India to 129 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs. The target never looked threatening at the halfway stage.
But India’s bowlers did not let it go easily and hit back after the interval, left England reeling at 4 for 46 in the ninth over.
Eoin Morgan and in-form Bopara then took charge and just kept on adding the runs as they knew a minimum partnership would take them home. They did well till the 18th over when Ishant Sharma struck in consecutive balls, dismissing the two partners in successive balls – both caught by Ravichandran Ashwin, who had taken two wickets besides taking three catches. And when Jos Buttler was castled in the very first delivery by Jadeja in the next over, England lost their way and ended up at 124 for 8 in their 20 overs, losing it by 5 runs. Jadeja was picked as the man of the matc.
2. India won by 2 wickets at Lord’s, July 13, 2002
It was always going to be a fiery final, especially for the visitors, since they allowed England to draw the ODI series back home 3-3 before this tournament and helplessly saw Andrew Flintoff celebrating shirtless. But after England won the toss and rode a pair of centuries from skipper Nasser Hussain (his only) and Marcus Trescothik to reach 325 for 5 in 50 overs, the mood turned sombre for the Indian fans for 300-plus targets were yet not a child’s play then.
India’s bowlers also had an off day with only Zaheer Khan picking 3 wickets for 62 runs. India’s chase, however, took off as per plan as Virender Sehwag and skipper Sourav Ganguly put 106 runs on the board before the completion of the 15th over. But once Ganguly got castled by Alex Tudor for 60 and Sehwag too falling to Ashley Giles eight runs later, India started tottering and Dinesh Mongia, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were all back in the hut by the time India reached 146 at around the halfway stage. But it was the day of the two youngsters – Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif – who then embarked on the mission which looked unlikely to succeed. They put on 121 runs in the next 17 overs when Singh departed for 69.
The work was yet not over but Harbhajan Singh gave Kaif, who remained unbeaten at 87, a key company to take India past 310. There were a few scares towards the end as Harbhajan and Anil Kumble fell within two balls but Kaif ensured that India did not lose it. As Zaheer Khan and others jumped on Kaif on the ground after India hit the winning runs, Ganguly was seen giving it back to Flintoff from the Lord’s balcony – shirtless.
It was at the World Cup Down Under in 1992 and both teams’ opening encounter. India still remembered the loss to sweeping Gooch in the semifinal of the 1987 World Cup who had snatched their world champions’ crown and aimed for a revenge. Gooch, who was the captain in this game too, won the toss and elected to bat first. The Indian pacers took 6 wickets between them but yet couldn’t stop England from reaching 236 for 9 in 50 overs, with Robin Smith scoring 91 and Gooch, 51.
The Indian opening duo of Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth started the chase well, putting up 63 runs. But once Srikkanth fell for 39 and an out of form captain Mohammed Azharuddin got dismissed in the very first ball, India were pegged back. A 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar then mended the innings with Shastri who was literally limping with his 112-ball 57 and once the veteran Sir Ian Botham got Tendulkar to meet the challenge of picking the youngster, India’s chase got rattled.
Wickets tumbled at regular intervals after that and though Subrata Banerjee played a breezy unbeaten knock of 25 in 16 balls towards the end, it was far too late and little to revive India’s chances. Azhar’s men were all out for 227 in the 50th over and lost by 9 runs.
4. Tied match in Bengaluru, February 27, 2011
It was again in the World Cup where India and England produced an exciting contest. After having beaten Bangladesh to begin their campaign in a style, MS Dhoni’s men took on England who also beat the Netherlands in their first game. India won the toss and chose to bat first on a batting belter and Sachin Tendulkar came up with an ODI century in this game (120 off 115 balls including five sixes).
Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh also hit a couple of half-centuries but India’s lower middle order and the tail flopped terribly as they lost their last seven wickets for just 33 runs and didn’t even survive the full 50 overs. Tim Bresnan took 5 for 48 while a couple of Indian tail-enders ran themselves out. England came up with a solid response as captain Andrew Strauss standing as a rock with his 155 and Ian Bell hitting almost a run-a-ball 69.
England were cruising at 281 for 2 in the 42nd over and the Indian fans were wondering from where will the next wicket come when Zaheer Khan struck twice in as many balls to remove Bell and Strauss to bring India back into the game.
Wickets started tumbling for England too after this but their lower order somehow kept on contributing and the net result of the tug-of-war was a tied match though England lost two wickets less in reaching India’s score. The Indian fans heaved a sigh of relief but the hosts certainly felt lucky in having got a point that day. Strauss was adjudged the man of the match.
5. England won by 2 runs in Delhi, January 31, 2002
It was a ODI series that England played in India after almost a decade and after India took a 3-1 lead in the six-game series, the visitors were under a lot of pressure to keep the competition alive. After having won the last two games batting second, Indian captain Sourav Ganguly won the toss and sent England to bat first.
The visitors this time came up with a much better performance, putting up 271 for 5 in 50 overs with Nick Knight scoring 105 and Andrew Flintoff chipping in with 52. The Indian bowlers could not maintain the same intensity as in the earlier games. Ajit Agarkar was the best of the lot with 2 wickets for 61 runs in 10 overs.
For the much-vaunted Indian batting line-up, the target was never impossible to achieve and they started decently and even after losing a few wickets in between, Ganguly and Mohammad Kaif steadied the ship by adding 111 runs 19 overs to take India to 211 for 4, needing another 61 in 10 overs. But Ashley Giles picked both the set batsmen in the 41st over to upset India’s chase. Ajit Agarkar scored a 21-ball 36 towards the end even as India lost wickets but that only took India within a striking distance of the target, not beyond. India eventually lost by 2 runs and Giles took the man of the match award with 5 wickets for 57. England made it 3-2 and stayed alive.