World Cup T20 Semi-Final Preview: England vs India

With the South Africa/West Indies game getting washed out without a ball being bowled, the semi-final line-up was finally confirmed.

India vs England, Australia vs South Africa. Both games being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, with the England game starting at 4:00 am GMT.

Before we get into the preview, there is a bit of a problem. The forecast for Thursday looks extremely dodgy, with heavy rain forecast throughout the day. If the weather stays true to the forecast and both games are washed out, India and South Africa will go on to compete the final based on them winning their groups.

This to me is just amazing. I can't remember a Women's international tournament getting so much attention, and the organisers didn't think to plan in a reserve day, just in case? If this does come to pass, there is no way the ICC are hitting their 90,000+ crowd number for the final. No Australia means no record.

However, let's get positive for a minute and look to the semi-final between India and England.


India on Form

India topped group A after winning all four of their matches, including a superb opening night victory over tournament favourites Australia. India have looked in dominant form with 16-year old Shafali Verma leading the way with 161 tournament runs. India have the making of a fine batting lineup with Verma, Rodrigues and Sharma all making good runs so far, and the likes of Krishnamurphy and Mandhana always posing a threat.

On the bowling side, India have been led by impressive diminutive spinner Poonan Yadav. Bowling big looping deliveries at a touch over 35mph, she's bamboozled players on her way to a team-leading 9 wickets in 16 overs.

England and India have faced off 7 times since the start of 2018 with England coming out victorious in 5 of those. In the most recent tri-series, England and India both recorded a victory against the other with India eventually being beaten in the final by Australia.

Despite England holding the upper-hand in the head to head series, it's hard to argue that they're the more in-form team with India having yet to drop a point.

England Batting Reliance

England got their campaign off to a poor start losing to South Africa in their opening game. However, they've won their last 3 games, including a dominant victory over the West Indies, who looked out of sorts all tournament.

Despite making it through to the semi-finals, questions remain over England's batting lineup, with the top of the order failing to make runs consistently, which is putting a heavy reliance on middle-order bat Nat Sciver and captain Heather Knight.

Sciver has scored 202 runs to lead England players, with Heather Knight just behind with 193. However, the next person on that list has 48 (Amy Jones), which is the perfect indication of just how reliant England have been on the two of them.

The positive for England is that they do have players in the team capable of scoring big runs, with Danni Wyatt, Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont and Fran Wilson yet to get going in the World Cup.

The negative for England is that if the other players continue to fail and one or both of Sciver and Knight get out cheaply, England could struggle to put up a competitive total against a very good Indian bowling unit.

In the final game against the West Indies, England chose to move Tammy Beaumont to the top of the order, with Amy Jones moving down. Although it didn't work out for Tammy, Jones looked a lot more comfortable and dangerous coming in further down the order.

Battle of Spin

Thursday's game will be a showcase of first-class spin. Not only do you have Poonan Yadav, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma for India, all three are currently ranked in the top 5 of ICC T20 bowlers. But you also have the #1 spinner in the world in Sophie Ecclestone and newcomer Sarah Glenn, who have taken 14 wickets between them so far.

If it wasn't for the consistent performances of Anya Shrubsole, you could see all wickets falling to spin.

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