Debashis Sarangi ∙ Nov 9 2022, 12:15 PM | 4 Min Read

How can India overcome the English hurdle?

image-la97x21eRohit Sharma and Virat Kohli [Source: AP]

As they say, all good things must come to an end; we are at the business end of the T20 World Cup. And the best is yet to come, with two giant powerhouses, India and England, set to battle it out in the second semifinal in Adelaide on Thursday. 

Although India topped the Group 2 points table, even they would agree that facing a ruthless English team in an all-important semifinal won't be a walk in the park for them. There will be several challenges thrown at them, which they must neutralise in order to emerge triumphant in this encounter. So, let's find out what those challenges are and how the Men in Blue can counter them.

Challenge 1: Mark Wood vs Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya

image-la97y306Mark Wood has been clinical with the ball [Source: AP]

Afghanistan and Ireland are the only two teams to face Mark Wood's two overs in the power play. However, England are pretty much aware of the pace-hitting ability of India's top three and how Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya can be restricted through hard-length body-line bowling. 

Therefore, Jos Buttler will likely give Wood only one over in the power play and reintroduce him in the middle overs and death overs against this lethal duo. Let's see what the stats say. 

Suryakumar Yadav vs Mark Wood in T20Is: 5 balls, 5 runs, 0 dismissal
Hardik Pandya vs Mark Wood in T20Is: 19 balls, 16 runs, 1 dismissal

So, it's pretty evident that the duo has struggled to accelerate against Wood, which England would like to exploit in this crucial clash. 

Counter: Virat Kohli

image-la97z7dtKohli has had a brilliant tournament [Source: AP]

The only way India can overcome the Wood threat is by having Virat Kohli alongside Surya or Hardik in the slog overs. They need Kohli, their best player of pace, to bat deep and shield Surya and Hardik from Wood in the final overs. 

Virat Kohli vs Mark Wood in T20Is: 19 balls, 46 runs, 0 dismissal

Challenge 2: Adil Rashid in the powerplay

England have mostly opened the bowling with Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes in the tournament. Woakes, due to his ability of getting the new-ball swing, will obviously start, but I don't think they will employ Stokes from the other end, as his gentle medium pace will help KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma get going from the start. 

So, there's a high possibility of England introducing Adil Rashid to the attack early, considering the all-RHB combination and KL Rahul's numbers against the leg spinners in the powerplay. 

KL Rahul vs leg spinners in the powerplay in T20Is: 16 balls, 18 runs, 2 dismissals

Counter: Rohit Sharma

image-la980j8fRohit Sharma in action [Source: AP]

On the contrary, Rohit Sharma has a fabulous record versus the leg spinners in the powerplay in T20Is and hence can take on Rashid straightaway. He does play the sweep and slog sweep really well and Adelaide's square boundaries are on the shorter side. So, he should try to hit the full-length flighted deliveries over the short fine leg and capitalise on the field restrictions. 

Rohit Sharma vs leg spinners in the powerplay in T20Is: 48 balls, 68 runs, 0 dismissals
Rohit Sharma vs Adil Rashid in T20Is: 41 balls, 52 runs, 1 dismissal

Challenge 3: Jos Buttler 

We all know how dangerous Jos Buttler can be with the bat in the shortest format. Also, considering India have only medium-pacers, Buttler will be the biggest threat for them towards the backend of the innings if not dismissed early in the innings. 

Counter: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

To India's good fortune, Buttler's biggest nemesis, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, will open the attack for India. He has an amazing head-to-head record against the English skipper, as mentioned below. 

Jos Buttler vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar in T20Is: 32 balls, 30 runs, five dismissals

Challenge 4: Moeen Ali vs Axar Patel

Moeen Ali can emerge as the biggest threat to India's lone left-arm spinner Axar Patel, considering his phenomenal record against the same bowling type in the shortest format. 

Moeen vs left-arm spinners in T20Is: 71 balls, 113 runs, 1 dismissal, Strike Rate: 159.2

Counter: Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami

image-la9832pfHardik Pandya has been effective with the ball in the WC [Source: AP]

Moeen has struck at an incredible rate of 145.7 against R Ashwin in T20s. So, if England promote him to counter the Indian spinners, India should use their two hit-the-deck seamers, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami, against him. These two bowlers are exceptional with body-line bowling, which has been Moeen's weakness over the years. 

Moeen Ali vs Hardik Pandya in T20Is: 7 balls, 11 runs, two dismissals

Besides the aforementioned facts, Indian bowlers might also come across the dynamic trio of Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone and Phil Salt. Similarly, they must go after Liam Livingstone while batting, as he will operate more than usual against India's RHB-heavy batting lineup. All in all, the Men in Blue need to come up with definite plans and execute them to overcome the English hurdle. 

Also Read: Ben Stokes lauds Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma ahead of the semifinal clash