England go into a blockbuster semi-final clash with red-hot India at the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday high on confidence after Ben Stokes batting heroics. The Adelaide Oval is expected to be sold out for a clash of the titans between the two top-ranked T20 teams in the world. Jos Buttler second-ranked England, the reigning 50-over world champions are gaining momentum after a less-than convincing win over Afghanistan, a shock defeat to Ireland in a rain-hit match and a washout against Australia left them having to win their final two Super 12 matches. They outplayed New Zealand before an unbeaten 42 by Test captain Stokes, whose selection for the T20 team had come under fire, ensured a tense win over Sri Lanka to secure a semi-final berth.
I know people have questioned his place in the team but when you need him he stands up,said pace bowler Mark Wood of the all-rounder. Ben never looked fazed or anything like that because he has been there and done it. You think he is under pressure but he takes it in his stride. Buttler said Stokescan play a lot of roles after the England talisman, who guided them to ODI World Cup success in a nerve-shredding 2019 final, stayed calm during a collapse while chasing 142 in Sydney to drive his team across the line with two balls to spare. Buttler and Alex Hales have been able to get England off to great starts and both hit half-centuries as the pair amassed an 81-run opening stand in 10 overs against a New Zealand attack led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
However number three Dawid Malan looks doubtful for the semis after he injured his groin and did not bat against Sri Lanka. He could be replaced by Phil Salt who has not played in the tournament so far but smashed a match-winning 88 not out off 41 balls against Pakistan in Lahore just over a month ago. Wood and Sam Curran have been outstanding with the ball for England, who won the T20 crown in 2010. Wood has bowled the fastest ball of the tournament at 155kph (96.3mph) while Curran has the best figures of any bowler so far with his five wickets for 10 runs against Afghanistan.
Credit: Independent News Pakistan-INP