Adelaide: The stage is set for a high-octane second semifinal clash between India and England at the ICC T20 World Cup in Adelaide Oval on Thursday. India finished their Group Stage at the top of their group’s table, winning four out of their five Super 12 matches. A defeat to South Africa was the only blip in Men in Blue’s consistent performances during the group stage.
Indian batters have been solid for the most part. Suryakumar Yadav (225 runs in five matches with three fifties), Virat Kohli (246 runs in five matches with three fifties) have carried the line-up. KL Rahul has gained form, scoring two consecutive fifties in his previous two matches, bringing his run tally to 123 runs in five. Rohit Sharma has largely been inconsistent and only 89 runs have come out of his willow in five matches, with his best being 53 against Netherlands. These two will have to be at the top of their game to lessen the pressure on middle-order.
All of India’s frontline pacers, Bhuvneswar Kumar (4 wickets), Mohammad Shami (6 wickets) and Arshdeep Singh (10 wickets) have been impressive so far. The spin veteran Ravichandran Ashwin and all-rounder Hardik Pandya (six and eight wickets respectively) have delivered well with the ball, though Pandya has not found much success with the bat, other than his knock of 40 against Pakistan. Axar Patel is Men in Blue’s sole concern in bowling, with his economy rate exceeding nine. It would be interesting if Yuzvendra Chahal gets a chance in the high-stake semifinal.
England has had an up-and-down journey in Super 12. After a win over Afghanistan, their qualification chances dimmed after loss to Ireland and match against Australia was abandoned. But strong showings against New Zealand and Sri Lanka brought them back into the competition and now they’re set to take on India. England’s deep batting line-up, running down to number 10 is their strength. Their lineup has some power hitters like Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali and Harry Brook who can whack bowlers from ball one. They can be lethal at Adelaide, where batting-friendly conditions prevail and boundaries are short.
England’s bowling unit has stepped up drastically, despite not being rated high initially. Sam Curran is England’s leading wicket-taker with 10, while Mark Wood has nine. Ben Stokes has also proved to be useful, having picked up five scalps at an economy rate of 5.90 per over. They do have some concerns though, be it the fitness of left-hander Dawid Malan or pacer Wood or the performance of Chris Woakes, who has been expensive throughout the tournament. Spinners have also been disappointing. Though Adil Rashid has been a miser while bowling, he has taken only one wicket in four matches.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), K.L. Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, R. Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh.
England: Jos Buttler (captain), Alex Hales, Harry Brook, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Tymal Mills, Mark Wood, David Willey, Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan.
Match officials: Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena and Paul Reiffel; TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney; Match referee: David Boon.
Match starts at 1.30 p.m. IST.