India vs England T20 World Cup semifinal

India

India is set to take a significant step towards winning their first major title in over a decade as they face defending champions England in the T20 World Cup semifinals on Thursday. The match, held in Guyana, could mark a pivotal moment for an Indian team aiming to end their title drought since the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Despite being backed by the world’s wealthiest cricket board, India has struggled to secure victories on the biggest stages. The team’s last major triumph came over a decade ago, and this tournament presents a golden opportunity to rectify that.

Rohit Sharma’s squad enters the semifinal on a six-match winning streak, showcasing their determination to emulate the success of the 2007 team that won the inaugural T20 World Cup. Rohit, alongside stalwart Virat Kohli, who might be playing in their last T20 World Cup, has found form at the right time. His 41-ball 92 against Australia in the Super Eight stage was a testament to his aggressive intent.

“We don’t want to change our approach. We aim to play the same way, understanding what individuals need to do at crucial points and playing freely without overthinking,” Rohit stated. “It’s important to continue our style of play, focusing on our game and taking the match head-on.”

Indian fans remain cautious, given the team’s inconsistent performances in knockout stages of major tournaments. Despite topping the group stage in the 2019 50-over World Cup, India was ousted by New Zealand in the semifinals. They faced a similar fate in the 2022 T20 World Cup, losing to England at the same stage. Additionally, their defeat to Australia in the 2023 World Test Championship final and the ODI World Cup final last year added to their woes.

This time, however, India appears well-prepared with both bat and ball. Rohit has amassed 191 runs in six matches, while pacer Jasprit Bumrah has taken 11 wickets. Spinner Kuldeep Yadav, a late addition to the squad, has claimed seven wickets in three games. The performance of Bumrah and Kuldeep will be crucial in the semifinal. Their ability to take wickets and maintain pressure could determine India’s chances against England’s aggressive lineup.

Bumrah has been effective not only in taking wickets but also in maintaining an economical bowling rate. Kuldeep’s left-arm spin has posed challenges for all teams in the Super Eights. If they can continue their fine form, India stands a good chance of overcoming England.

England’s campaign has been inconsistent, marked by group stage losses to Australia and South Africa. They advanced to the Super Eights due to a better net run rate than Scotland. Now, they are just two wins away from becoming the first team to retain the T20 World Cup trophy.

“In tournament cricket, sometimes it is better to sneak up and nick it at the end,” said all-rounder Liam Livingstone. “Hopefully, that’s the way we will go. Contributions from various players in recent games should stand us in good stead.”

England faces pressure following their failure to defend the ODI World Cup last year. Skipper Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott will rely on the form of West Indies-born pacers Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan in the knockout rounds. Buttler, England’s top scorer with 191 runs, and opener Phil Salt, with 183 runs, will be key to their chances.

The winner of the India vs. England semifinal will face either South Africa or Afghanistan in the final. South Africa advanced by defeating Afghanistan by nine wickets in the first semifinal.

Semifinals: Thursday: Afghanistan vs. South Africa Tarouba, 4:30 am England vs. India Providence, 6:30 pm

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By- Sahiba Suri

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