India v England: Cricket World Cup 2023 – live

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Key events

India v England in the World Cup, though. Oooh yeah.

Of course, England can qualify if they win today; they can still qualify if they lose today, the permutations too numerous to list. More or less, if they win all their remaining fixtures – so beat India, Australia, Netherlands and Pakistan – they’ll have 10 points. SA and India are on that already with NZ and Australia on eight and a better net run-rate, so the chances any of those finish below the defending champs are exceedingly low.

Preamble

I’ll level with you, people: when I was allocated this game, I did not expect to be performing a post-mortem on a still-convulsing body. But here we are.

This World Cup has been a humiliation to rank with some of England’s finest – and it’s a stratospheric bar – except for one thing: England are world champions in 50 overs and world champions in T20.

We could still sit here and enumerate reasons for the failure, or ruminate on sadness of watching a lovable, epochal team of hard, sensitive men put over the knee in front of us – but we’d be foolish to. These players have changed the game, in the process upending everything everyone thought about English cricket and Test cricket, so regardless of the mess we’ve seen unfold over the last few weeks, they remain in eternal credit.

In sport, there’s little more enjoyable than watching a big dog ravaged, even if it’s by an even bigger dog. And India are everything England once were, a power-packed team in glorious form that’s been building to this point, inspired by the pressure and power of home advantage.

Thing is, England are still good – they’ve just made a lot of uncharacteristic errors, one after the other after the other – so they’re more than capable of finding a performance to give them and us the lap of honour we all deserve. But more likely, the might of everything IndIa bring to this means we spend the day balancing the amusing brutality of sport and our gratefulness to those who suffer it for our delectation.

Play: 2pm local, 8.30pm GMT

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