India v England, T20 World Cup semi-final – Five key matchups to watch out for

Watch out for they key matchups in the India vs England clash (Image: T20 World Cup)

When India lock horns against England, there is always a sense of intrigue surrounding the contest. Not just because they are two of the better sides in the cricketing landscape, but also due to the history encompassing the two countries. So, what are the key matchups that could decide the fate of the two teams in the eagerly anticipated T20 World Cup semifinal in Guyana? Let’s have a peek into each one of them.

Jofra Archer versus Virat Kohli

The England pace bowler has made a fine comeback from his persistent elbow problem. Since his return to the national set-up, Archer has bagged 12 wickets at 18. Having said that, there is a theory going through that he takes around an over to assess the conditions and opposition batters. We have seen some evidence of it in this tournament, particularly against South Africa, where Quinton de Kock cracked a volley of shots. Even against West Indies, Archer gave away 21 in his first two overs.

To Archer’s credit, he has invariably bounced back, which tells us something about his mental toughness. However, it could give Virat Kohli a chance to get back into form. There are still a few threats to navigate. In this World Cup, Josh Hazlewood dismissed Kohli with an excellent short ball. Archer himself gets that extra kick from a slightly fuller length. Kohli, however, might just point out that he is yet to be dismissed by Archer in international cricket.

Arshdeep Singh v Jos Buttler

The left-arm pace bowler is the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 15 scalps. He has supplemented the left-arm angle with old and new-ball swing. His ability to bring the ball back into Jos Buttler could trouble the England opener. More often than not, the strategy against Buttler is to target the stumps with the inswinger. And blend it with a couple of away-going deliveries. Jasprit Bumrah’s nip-backer could also prove to be a handy weapon against Buttler.

Meanwhile, there is a school of thought that Buttler’s trigger movements – back-and-forward – have slowed down a touch. Buttler, though, still used all his experience to compose a couple of tons in the 2024 IPL. He has also been in reasonably good form in the ongoing World Cup.

Adil Rashid v Hardik Pandya

Rashid is one of the mainstays of the England line-up. The leg-spinner is a canny operator, who seems to watch the feet of the batter all the way through. He is also the third-highest wicket-taker in this World Cup. From India’s point of view, Hardik Pandya would be entrusted with the job of trying to unsettle Rashid. The all-rounder is well-known for landing meaty blows while facing the spinners.


Shivman Dube also has a penchant for cracking sixes against the spinners. Shreyas Gopal, the leg-spinning all-rounder from Karnataka, would have a word or two to say about how Dube left a few scars on his psyche in a Vijay Hazare Trophy game many years ago. Unfortunately, Dube hasn’t exactly found his groove in this tournament.

Rohit Sharma v the left-arm angle

Rohit has had his issues against the left-arm angle of a pace bowler. Even in this World Cup, he has been dislodged by the likes of Saurabh Netravalkar and Fazalhaq Farooqi. On his part, Rohit gave a fitting riposte to his critics by taking Mitchell Starc to the cleaners in the India-Australia game. Rohit has also tried to open up his stance a tad while facing the left-arm angle. In Guyana, Rohit would be up against a couple of left-arm pace bowlers – Reece Topley and Sam Curran. Topley, in particular, does generate some swing up front, alongside extracting bounce.

England’s right-hand-heavy batting unit v India’s spinners

India have two left-arm finger spinners, along with Kuldeep Yadav’s left-arm wrist-spin. All three would come into the equation while bowling to a line-up that has five right-handers in the top six. The English team will look to employ sweeps and reverse sweeps, especially versus the two finger spinners – Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. On what could be a slow pitch, with a hint of grip for the spinners, it could also lead to their downfall against the away-going delivery, mixed with the arm-ball.

India also have Kuldeep in their ranks. Not many batters have picked Kuldeep’s variations over the last one year. Moreover, Kuldeep has also varied his pace superbly in that phase. Incidentally, ever since the Lord’s ODI in 2018, the one English batter who has picked Kuldeep with a degree of confidence is Joe Root. But he hasn’t been part of the English T20 line-up in the last six years.