While India had better performances in the group stage compared to England, a high-stakes, ‘winner takes all’ contest like this always starts on an even pin.
England’s first all-rounder, Ben Stokes, has already admitted they haven’t played their best cricket and the Indian team must make sure a Jos Buttler and Stokes himself don’t choose the half- final to bring their A game to the fore.
Landing Adelaide 📍#TeamIndia | #T20WorldCup https://t.co/absGUDySIK
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The story is also a bit against India when it comes to the results of the business side of the ICC events.
After 2013, Indian teams struggled to clear the last two hurdles on several occasions – the 2014 T20 World Cup Final, the 2016 T20 World Cup Semi-Finals, the 2017 Champions Trophy Final and the 2019 ODI World Cup semi-final.
Even though Rohit Sharma played in all those games, he was not leading the team at the time and therefore carries no baggage of disappointment as he enters the most critical phase of his full-time captaincy.
Rohit (89 points in 5 games) would like to forget the physical pain of being shot in the forearm as he wouldn’t hesitate to play one shot too many if an in-form Mark Wood or his likely replacement Chris Jordan digs him in.
The Indian skipper needs a round of substance in the competition and there could be no match more important than a semi-final to silence his critics.
We’re gearing up for our #T20WorldCup semi-final at the Adelaide Ring! 🏟🏏💥 https://t.co/8XqRFsmqED
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Virat Kohli would have a battle close at hand against his old foe Adil Rashid, while Suryakumar Yadav’s skills against Sam Curran’s cutters will be a tantalizing match.
Stokes’ versatile abilities will find their way into Hardik Pandya, who has done his part with bat and ball in various games.
The intrigue of the subplots embedded in the main narrative make up for a heady build-up as world No. 1 India meets its ideal match in second-ranked England.
Fans around the world want an India v Pakistan final at the MCG on Sunday, but doubters would immediately point to the story where India and Pakistan lost their respective ODI semi-finals at the 1987 World Cup.
From playing exquisite shots all around the park to excelling with the bat in the #T20WorldCup⚡️⚡️@ashwinravi99 i… https://t.co/WlOItpA7Fl
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Pant or DK, Chahal or Axar?
The Indian team have won four games in the Super 12 stage, but what has seemed a bit troubling is not being able to get peak performance from Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant, who seem confused whether to attack or defend while beating at No. 5.
With shorter side limits and presence or Rashid, whose broken leg would turn southpaw, Pant seems a more plausible choice, but it will be interesting to see if Rahul Dravid’s fascination with a designated finisher continues.
Likewise, Axar Patel (3 wickets at 9.10 economy rate) did not set the stage on fire but the management of the Indian team did not show enough courage to play Yuzvendra Chahal until ‘now.
Chahal’s presence will be important since the match will be played on one of the lanes used and the spin will play an important role in the outcome of the game.
If Mark Wood, the tournament’s fastest pitcher, is eventually ruled out with a back problem, that would be good news for India as Jordan or Tymal Mills can’t afford to stop this formation.
But Stokes and Curran have been more than impressive for England with the ball and would prefer India to bat first and chase a total of around 150.
Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Livingstone can chase any total on any given day but on a bigger occasion, but a small total will help take the pressure off the scoreboard.
The nominal score in Adelaide would be 170 and Rohit along with Karthik or Pant will have to stand up and be counted out as the ‘law of averages’ could catch Suryakumar (225 points) or Kohli (246 points) sooner rather than later.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Mohammed Shami, Deepak Hooda, Harshal Patel, Rishabh Pant ( week), Yuzvendra Chahal
England: Jos Buttler (captain, wk), Ben Stokes, Alex Hales, Harry Brook, Phil Salt, Dawid Malan, Sam Curran, Mark Wood, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, David willy