While India might clearly have the upper hand against England ahead of the World Cup 2011 tie, it will be interesting to see how the two sides have fared against each other in previous editions of the tournament.
India and England are tied at 3 wins each in World Cup encounters against each other. So a win today for either team would put them ahead on the head-to-head. The team from Ole Blighty won the first match that these two sides played, which was the opening fixture of the 1975 World Cup, when the former scored 334 runs in 60 overs to restrict India to a paltry 132/3. This was the infamous game in which Sunil Gavaskar played with unprecedented caution to end up with an unbeaten 36 off a ridiculous 174 balls!
India had improved by leaps and bounds since then and by the 1983 World Cup, Kapil's Devils were good enough to beat the English by 6 wickets with a comfortable 32 balls remaining in the tournament's semi-final. England's batting looked lacklustre in that encounter as they compiled just 213 all out in 60 overs (Kapil took 3/35) , before India's strong middle order came to the fore with Mohinder Amarnath (46), Yashpal Sharma (61*) and Sandeep Patil (51*) taking India home.
In the 1987 World Cup, England avenged that defeat in the same stage of the tournament, winning by 35 runs with opener Graeme Gooch scoring 115 off 136 and spinner Eddie Hemmings taking 4/52. But India's 1992 face-off with England was far closer as the former went down by just 9 runs, Robin Smith's 91 standing out and Dermot Reeve taking 3/38.
From then on, it has been all India. In the 1999 and 2003 World Cup's India has effected comprehensive victories over England of 63 runs and 82 runs. In the first of these last two fixtures, Ganguly emerged as the hero, making 40 at the top of the order and then taking 3/27 with the ball. In the 1999 WC encounter, Rahul Dravid top-scored with 63 while Ashish Nehra ensnared a record 6/23, the best bowling figures from an Indian in a World Cup match.
So, can England shove history down the garbage shoot and come out tops in this crucial 2001 World Cup encounter against India. By 9:45 pm today, we should know...