Himanshu Dubey

It is a super Sunday today and the World Cup 2011 sees two heavyweights- India and England lock horns in a high voltage tie at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.

The last time these two teams met in an ICC tournament, flamboyant Yuvraj Singh stole the show with a magical batting exhibition when he sent every delivery of Stuart Broad’s over into the stands.

But so far, the off-field action in Bengaluru has captured much spot-light.  First there was the ticketing fiasco at stadium’s box-office which triggered a police conducted baton-charge on the fans that lined up to book their seats.

On Friday, Team India went through a nervous few hours as dazzling opener Virender Sehwag was surrounded by injury clouds after being hit on his ribs by net-bowler’s bouncer. Entire India took a sigh of relief by the evening as everything was settled and Sehwag was declared match-fit.

Both teams began their World Cup excursion with a victory over the not-so-competitive teams. India, with the help of a dazzling 175 from Sehwag, easily overpowered Bangladesh Tigers while England crawlrd their way to victory against the Dutch bravado, with bowlers from both sides being ordinary and leaked plenty of runs.

India is into this World Cup with a well known weak bowling link and in all the games they have played, including the pre-tournament warm-up games, their fast bowling unit looks as fragile as a flower. But India, who had played a warm-up game against Australia at the same venue, know that the track here supports slow bowlers and with one of the world’s best off-spinner in the ranks, the task to shrug him off might prove too stiff for inexperienced English batsmen.

Whereas England, who have come in this tournament following a disastrous 6-1 loss to  Australia in post-Ashes ODI series, will look to the lone tweaker in the side, Graeme Swann to trouble a power-packed Indian batting arsenal. He gets a lot of drift and often foxes the batsmen with it and Strauss will hope he does make Indians dance to his spin.

Also Stuart Broad, with his new hairdo, will get a chance to settle old scores with Yuvraj Singh as the southpaw has grown into England’s bowling spearhead while Yuvraj comes into this tournament short of match-practice and self-confidence.

However, India’s new batting sensation Virat Kohli is oozing with confidence and will make sure that he throws in with some valuable knocks during the mega event.

England’s batting on the other hand orbits around skipper Andrew Strauss, who is a vital cog in the team’s scheme of things and was in phenomenal touch against the Dutchmen. He looked the usual cool, calm and focused Strauss we are used to seeing. The timing was there; his feet moved well in the crease and provided an exquisite batting display. However, his new partner at the other end, hard-hitting Kevin Pietersen will take some games to settle in his new ‘opening’ shoes and is likely to provide offer India a crack in the door to sneak through England’s top-order.

A win against India will definitely help team’s morale which received a dent post a lackluster outing against the Netherlands. While for India, the only pressure will be from the home crowd who are displaying extraordinary enthusiasm even before the game has set-off.

So fasten your seat belts to witness some fireworks today.