Monday, July 22, 2024

India look to beat knockout stage nerves


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Georgetown, June 26: 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 here 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The last time these two teams met at this stage, it turned out to be a no contest as England outplayed an outdated India in the 2022 edition’s semifinal.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.
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 were 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 was 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. (PTI)


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