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T20 WC: India eyes historical clash with Pakistan at MCG, England aims to deliver their best

At MCG it will be a historical encounter between India and Pakistan if the second semi-final produces a favourable result for the men in blue.

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), and Virat Kohli (246 runs in five matches with three fifties) have carried the line-up.

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Virat Kohli at Asia Cup 2022; Image Source: @BCCI Twitter
Virat Kohli at Asia Cup 2022; Image Source: @BCCI Twitter

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 the Netherlands. These two will have to be at the top of their game to lessen the pressure on the middle order.

Surya cover 1

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. However, 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 a loss to Ireland and the 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.

Their strength is England’s deep batting line-up, running down to number 10. 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 helpful, having picked up five scalps at an economy rate of 5.90 per over.

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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. However, Adil Rashid has been a miser while bowling, he has taken only one wicket in four matches.

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