T20 World Cup: New Zealand, Pakistan, India and England set to feature in heavyweight semi-final roster | Cricket News

After three weeks of thrilling cricket, the 2022 Men’s T20 World Cup has reached the semi-final stage, with a pair of intriguing matches set to unfold before Sunday’s showpiece final.

While the host nation’s presence in the later stages of a tournament is always likely to boost interest and intensity, it seems like a rare occasion when Australia’s exit won’t detract from the show.

India, England, Pakistan and New Zealand (in that order) are four of the top five ranked T20 teams in international cricket.

The star power will be immense as New Zealand take on Pakistan on Wednesday before England take on India on Thursday, with each team boasting support bases to match the quality of the cricket.

Both matches, which start at 8am, will be shown live on Sky Sports, with Sunday’s final to follow at the same time.

Here’s everything you need to know about the semi-final clashes before the tournament reaches what promises to be a thrilling climax.

New Zealand v Pakistan

It may just be an appetizer before the main course for England fans, but Wednesday’s opening semi-final is a heavyweight clash.

New Zealand were second to Australia at last year’s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, having knocked out England in the semi-finals. They are a team with huge experience, including captain Kane Williamson, versatile Jimmy Neesham and fast bowling duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

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The skipper’s form and low batting rate had been a bit of a concern in the early stages of the tournament, but he bounced back with 61 off just 35 in New Zealand’s crucial Super 12 final game against Ireland, dismissing questions of whether he remains capable of upping the ante when the situation calls for it.

Williamson’s return to form makes New Zealand’s top four, in which he is surrounded by the powerhouse of Finn Allen, Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips, a fearsome prospect. Phillips hit a brilliant century from 64 against Sri Lanka, while Conway gave the Black Caps the perfect start with his unbeaten 92 in their tournament opener win over Australia.

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Highlights from the 2022 T20 World Cup clash between New Zealand and Sri Lanka

Despite these batting highlights, the most impressive aspect of the New Zealand Super 12’s performance was their bowling, with spinners Mitch Santner (8 wickets) and Ish Sodhi (6) combining with speedy Southee (7 ), Boult (6) and Lockie Ferguson. (7) to beat Australia and Sri Lanka, while winning nine wickets against Ireland.

As New Zealand seek to right the wrongs of last year’s final loss to Australia, Pakistan enter the last four with something of a free kick. They are the least favored of the remaining teams and have come back from defeats in their first two games of the tournament to remarkably qualify for the last four.

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Pakistan picked up a crucial 33-point victory over South Africa on the DLS method in a rainy match in Sydney to stay in contention for a place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup

They suffered atrocious defeats – both of which ended in last-gasp – against India and Zimbabwe, before hitting back with victories against the Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh. Even then, they still needed the Proteas to choke on the big stage once again with a shock loss to the Netherlands in the final round of fixtures.

When they warmed up for the tournament with a 4-3 loss to England in September and October, Pakistan’s problem was that they were too dependent on the batting of fly-half Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam.

This has certainly not been the case in Australia. Babar scored just 14 runs in his first four rounds of the tournament, before going down for a 25-for-33 against Bangladesh.

While Pakistan will surely need their skipper to go all the way, they will be buoyed by the fact that their middle order has started to contribute, especially with Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan both battling for half a century against South Africa. .

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam aims for a golden duck as India take on Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, at the MCG in Melbourne

With the ball, they will continue to rely heavily on the rotation of Shadab Khan, who leads Pakistan with 10 wickets in the tournament so far, but each of the bowling quartets Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim are capable of producing game-changing performances.

As for the venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) hosted the only two scores of 200 or more during the tournament.

New Zealand hit the mark in the Super 12 opener against Australia, while South Africa scored 205 against Bangladesh at the famous ground. Pakistan’s impressive 185 against Proteas also came in Sydney, so there’s every chance of a high-scoring game.

India v England

The second semi-final is as good as it gets, with the highest-ranked team in the world, India, taking on second-ranked England.

The two international cricketing powerhouses are each in the hunt for their second T20 titles, with India failing to add to their triumph at the inaugural 2007 tournament, and England having so far failed to be able to build on their 2010 win.

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Virat Kohli’s brilliant innings against Pakistan set India on a relatively stress-free path to the last four, even with a low-scoring loss to South Africa in Perth between comfortable wins over the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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Watch highlights from a stunning final as India beat Pakistan in an extraordinary T20 World Cup encounter at the MCG

Kohli’s form has perhaps been the biggest benefit of the tournament so far for India, with the former captain amassing a spectacular 123 average, boosted by three unbeaten sets. The other Indian hitter who has caught the eye is Suryakumar Yadav, who matched Kohli’s impressive run of three half centuries in five games.

To even get these two to the crease, England must break through India’s seasoned opening partnership between KL Rahul and captain Rohit Sharma, while down the order the ever-dangerous Rishabh Pant looks winning the wicket-beater keeper position from Dinesh Karthik. .

Hardik Pandya is also shaping up to be a finisher, but it’s the all-rounder’s bowling that has been the most impressive element of his game so far in the tournament, with eight wickets.

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India beat Bangladesh by five points helped by a Virat Kohli 64 with the bat at the T20 World Cup

India seemed to have been dealt a blow when Jasprit Bumrah was kicked out of the tournament, but fast left-arm Arshdeep Singh filled the void, taking 10 wickets, while Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were as economical as ever.

England, with arguably the most explosive batting line-up in the world, are yet to catch fire in Australia. They stuttered to a first victory over Afghanistan before falling to a shock defeat against Ireland.

A failure in their clash with Australia meant that only wins over New Zealand and Sri Lanka would put them in the last four for the third time in a row, and Jos Buttler’s side duly delivered. An extremely solid performance secured a 20-point win over New Zealand, before another nervous chase ended in a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

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Watch the highlights as England revive their T20 World Cup semi-final hopes with a 20-point win over New Zealand in Brisbane

Most of England’s runs so far have come from the opening partnership of Alex Hales (125) and Buttler (119), with Ben Stokes the only other player to make a significant contribution while captain of the test guided his team against Sri Lanka.

Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali are all match winners, and England will hope to have retained their best form for the knockout stages, while it also looks like there is a change in the top order, with Dawid Malan’s groin strain. offer an opportunity to Phil Salt.

The Sussex wicketkeeper showed what he is capable of with a brilliant unbeaten 88 against Pakistan in September, and will be looking to grab an unlikely opener.

England have taken a numbers-based approach to bowling, with Buttler using seven different options in each of the last two games. So far, the pick of those has been Sam Curran, who started the tournament with a five-wicket run against Afghanistan.

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Watch the highlights as England secured a place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup with a tense four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Sydney

However, it is Mark Wood’s fast pace that is likely to be England’s X-factor against the world’s best hitters, and Durham quickly warmed up for the semi-finals in ideal fashion with three wickets against Sri Lanka.

Equally encouraging for England in this match was the performance of Adil Rashid, who claimed his first wicket of the tournament and managed just 16 runs from his four overs in a perfectly timed return to form.

India may hold a slight advantage after facing Bangladesh last week at the Adelaide Ring, with England playing on the pitch for the first time in the tournament.

This factor could encourage England, which tends to prefer hunting, to integrate India if they have the opportunity, in order to know more about the surface.

Sky Sports

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