India look to beat knockout stage nerves, eye revenge against England in T20WC semis

The last time India and England met, it was a no contest as England played an outdated India in the 2022 edition's semifinals.
Team India in the T20 World Cup.
Team India in the T20 World Cup.File Photo

With a refreshingly aggressive batting approach, India would look to avoid the knockout stage jitters plaguing them for over a decade when they take on defending champions England in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup on Thursday.

The last time these two teams met at this stage, it turned out to be a no contest as England outplayed an outdated India in the 2022 edition's semifinal.

However, India have finally been able to shed their conservative approach at the top of the order since that 10-wicket hammering in Adelaide and have become the team to beat in this competition.

On paper, Rohit Sharma and his men look the stronger bunch for the conditions expected at the Providence Stadium and look primed for revenge. The spinners have enjoyed bowling here since the opening game and the likes of India's Kuldeep Yadav and England's Adil Rashid would be itching to flaunt their skills in the knock-out fixture.

Team India in the T20 World Cup.
India triumphs Over Australia as Rohit Sharma's heroics steal the show in T20 clash

Spinners are not the only ones who will come into play, the pacers too have got success at the venue with Afghanistan speedster Fazalhaq Farooqi producing a match-winning spell against New Zealand at the start of the competition.

Interestingly, no match has been staged here since June 8 when the West Indies breezed past Uganda in a day game, giving the curators extra time to prepare a suitable pitch for the high-profile game.

India was clinical in the Super 8 stage but the extreme pressure of a semi-final tends to produce unforced errors. At the top of the order, India will be hoping for runs from the bat of Virat Kohli, who has had an underwhelming tournament by his high standards. On the contrary, his opening partner and skipper Rohit has set the benchmark for other batters when it comes to fearless cricket. His blazing 41-ball 92 against Australia is the sort of knock that won't be easily forgotten for some time to come.

For both Rohit and Kohli, it is probably their last shot at winning the T20 world title in India colours and the two would be desperate to leave a mark.

Rohit has already made it clear that he intends to go ballistic in the powerplays without a care for personal milestones, which was evident in the game against Australia. Shivam Dube has not batted as per expectations in the middle-order and it will be interesting to see how he fares against wily leg-spinner Rashid.

India are likely to go unchanged into the game even though they have Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad who can come in handy against England's right-handers including Phil Salt, Jos Buttler, Harry Brook and Jonny Bairstow.

Chahal is yet to get a game in this competition and it is set to remain that way with India expected to continue the trio of Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep, who were the team's trump card in Super 8s.

Jasprit Bumrah is in a league of his own and England will need to do something special to score off him. Hardik Pandya's all-round show has helped India immensely thus far and the management will be hoping it stays that way.

England, on the other hand, have not had the smoothest of campaigns.They stuttered into Super 8s where they lost to South Africa before turning things around.

Skipper Buttler was back among the runs against USA in England's final Super 8 game and considering the familiarity with the Indian attack, he is well-placed to come up with a game-changing knock. His opening partner Phil Salt can take the game away from opposition very quickly and India will need to dismiss him in the powerplay.

More runs are expected from Bairstow and Moeen Ali, whose off-spin could be useful against India's left-handers. Liam Livingstone, who bowls both leg and off spin, too can bowl his full quota of overs like he did against USA the other night. Rashid's four overs can also prove decisive in the all-important fixture.

In his first high-profile event since returning from injury, pacer Jofra Archer has done well in the seven games so far and would be backing himself to trouble Rohit and Kohli with the new ball. Having taken a hat-trick in the last game, the confidence of Chris Jordan too will be sky high.

"Obviously, when we left England a few weeks ago, we left to come and obviously try and defend the title. There's been a few bumps in the road along the way, but I think you kind of described them as good bumps because they've really narrowed down our focus and really made our direction really clear," said Jordan after the win over USA.

There is also a likelihood of rain impacting the game with chances of showers in the lead up to the semi-final and also on match day.

Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj.

England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood.

Match starts 8pm IST.

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