Arshdeep Singh and Kuldeep Yadav
India’s Arshdeep Singh (centre) celebrates with teammate Kuldeep Yadav (right) during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight cricket match against Australia in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia on June 24, 2024. Yadav played a pivotal role in the Indian win. Image Credit: AFP

It’s the T20 World Cup semifinals, and India face England again. It didn’t go well the last time, as Jos Buttler and Alex Hales pummeled India for a 10-wicket win in Adelaide. That was in 2022.

Two years isn’t a long time. India pack most of the players from the last T20 World Cup. The pain and humiliation of that defeat should spur India to turn the tables on England. So the clash on Thursday (June 27) is a grudge match, although captain Rohit Sharma will be keen to play that down.

India and England reached the last four after traversing different routes. India, who are unbeaten in their six completed matches, will seek comfort from England’s losses to Australia and South Africa. It’s proof that this England side is fragile; they can be beaten and came close to elimination in the first round. But they are not pushovers.

Why India should neutralise Rashid’s spin

Monday’s victory over Australia would have given the Indians a fillip. But there’s no guarantee that Rohit can repeat the blistering knock, which means the rest of the batsmen should step up. Especially Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav, so Hardik Pandya can finish strongly.

The Providence Stadium pitch in Georgetown, Guyana, is expected to spin with low bounce. England would opt for a three-pronged spin attack in Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone. There’s also talk of including Tom Hartley, but that’s unlikely.

Since Shivam Dube hasn’t been the spin enforcer India want him to be, Rishabh Pant and Yadav should ensure that English spinners don’t control the middle overs. The key is to eliminate the threat of Rashid’s leg-breaks and googlies. So it would be prudent to bring in Yashasvi Jaiswal to push Kohli to the middle order. Or replace Dube with Sanju Samson.

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Buttler loves pace on the ball, and he loves Indian bowling too. So it would be a good idea to have a spinner share the new ball with Arshdeep Singh before unleashing Jasprit Bumrah.

England bat deep with an array of strokemakers, and India should look to strangle them with spin. Yuzvendra Chahal, in place of Ravindra Jadeja, is a good option but not one the Indian team management will gamble on. They would prefer more strength in batting, so Jadeja will stay even though the left-arm spinner hasn’t been at his best.

Watch out for Kuldeep Yadav. He will India’s trump card. That’s if rains stop for play.