Thursday, 8 December, 2022

England face India in 2nd semi today

ADELAIDE: England go into a blockbuster semifinal clash with red-hot India at the Twenty20 World Cup today high on confidence after Ben Stokes's batting heroics, reports AFP. 

The match is scheduled to start at 02:00pm (BST) and will be telecast live on T Sports and GTV.

The Adelaide Oval is expected to be sold out for a clash of the titans between the two top-ranked T20 teams in the world.

Jos Buttler's second-ranked England, the reigning 50-over world champions, are gaining momentum after starting with a less-than convincing win over Afghanistan and a shock defeat to Ireland in a rain-hit match.

A washout against Australia then left them having to win their final two Super 12 matches.

They outplayed New Zealand before an unbeaten 42 by Test captain Stokes, whose selection for the T20 team had come under fire, ensured a tense win over Sri Lanka to secure a semi-final berth.         England skipper Jos Buttler said on Wednesday that they will make last-minute fitness calls on Dawid Malan and Mark Wood for spoiling the toady’s party against India. 

"We will see how they pull up. We are trying to give them as long as possible," Buttler said on Wednesday.

"Dawid was out the other day with a small niggle, Woody has had a bit of stiffness. We trust the medical team, we trust the two guys as well."

Malan looks doubtful after he injured his groin in England's final Super 12 match against Sri Lanka and could be replaced by Phil Salt.

Buttler, who plays with hard-hitting Salt at county side Lancashire, backed him to take his chance if it comes against India.

"I think he has a fantastic mindset, especially for the T20 format, he certainly doesn't fear anyone and is someone who wants to get on the front foot and take the game on," said Buttler.

"He embodies quite a lot of what we speak about as a team and how we ask guys to play.

"Certainly I wouldn't expect to see anything else from him if he gets the chance to play.

"He's certainly someone who's not going to shy away from an occasion, I feel like he's someone who will definitely take it on."

Buttler knows that an India side which has batsmen Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav in sparkling form will have strong backing in Adelaide, as they have done throughout the World Cup.

"We are all really excited about the match, in my opinion one of the best stadiums in the world against a brilliant Indian team which I am sure will be well supported tomorrow," Buttler said.

"It's going to be a great occasion and these are the times you want to be involved as a player."

Buttler also knows that those Indian fans will be hoping for victory to set up a blockbuster final against arch-rivals Pakistan.

"We certainly don't want an India-Pakistan final," added the batsman-wicketkeeper, who took over the England white-ball captaincy earlier this year from Eoin Morgan.

"So trying to do what we can to make sure that it doesn't happen."

Buttler and Alex Hales have been able to get England off to great starts and both hit half-centuries as the pair amassed an 81-run opening stand in 10 overs against a New Zealand attack led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

Wood and Sam Curran have been outstanding with the ball for England, who won the 2010 T20 World Cup.

Wood has bowled the fastest ball of the tournament at 155kph (96.3mph) while Curran has the best figures of any bowler so far with his five wickets for 10 runs against Afghanistan.

The England bowlers will have to contend with a resurgent Virat Kohli, the top scorer of the tournament, and new T20 number one-ranked batsman Suryakumar Yadav if they are to halt the Rohit Sharma-led team's march to a first global title since the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Kohli, who turned 34 at the weekend, has amassed 246 runs in five innings including three match-winning unbeaten half-centuries to give him a staggering tournament average of 123.

Yadav, nicknamed 'SKY', is not far behind with 225 runs at an average of 75 with his arsenal of pyrotechnics including sweeps and scoop shots that keep bowlers guessing.

India skipper Rohit Sharma said on Wednesday that beating England in their back yard just a few months ago gives his India team confidence they can do it again today in the semifinal.

"Certainly going into the game it'll give us some confidence because beating a team like England in England, obviously it's a big challenge, and we overcame that challenge pretty well," Rohit said.

"But again, we do understand the dynamics of this T20 cricket. You just have to be good on that particular day, otherwise it's not good enough."

"They've played some really good cricket in the tournament as well, which is why they're here. So we've got to be at our best to win the game."

Rohit has been far from his best with the bat at the World Cup, but said he and the likes of in-form superstar Virat Kohli will be not be defined by what happens in the semi-final.

"I think there's a lot of effort that goes into putting ourselves and playing for the country and getting those efforts, getting those runs, getting those wickets," said Rohit.

"So I really don't believe that one bad game in the knockout can truly define what kind of player you are."

Suryakumar blasted an unbeaten 61 off 25 balls at the MCG against Zimbabwe as India topped Group 2 after winning four of their five matches.

India's bowling attack have stepped up after leading pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah failed to make the plane to Australia because of injury.

Young left-arm quick bowler Arshdeep Singh has taken 10 wickets, the same as Curran, and the 23-year-old has formed a potent seam attack with the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.

It has been a wide open World Cup with pitches across Australia offering a range of challenges and plenty of shock results.