England to call on Adelaide 2022 memories against ‘brilliant’ India

Moeen Ali believes that England will have to be at their best to beat India in their T20 World Cup 2024 semi-final, but hopes that they can draw on the 10-wicket thrashing they inflicted on the same opponents at the same stage in the 2022 tournament when they meet in Guyana on Thursday.

England were the first team to qualify for the semi-finals but spent two more nights in Barbados after securing their progress with a 10-wicket win over USA at Kensington Oval. Their semi-final venue was confirmed on Monday when India beat Australia in St Lucia, and they arrived in Georgetown on a charter flight on Tuesday morning. India flew on Monday night.

It is a step into the unknown for England. They have not played a game at Providence Stadium since the 2010 edition of this tournament, when they lost to West Indies and then scraped through their initial first-round group thanks to a no-result against Ireland. Chris Jordan played there twice in the CPL in 2019 and is the only member of their squad to have played a T20 match at the venue.

Not that India’s experience there is extensive: a young squad played two T20Is at Providence last August, while some also featured in a 2019 T20I. It will come down to which team adapts best to conditions. “I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s an amazing place,” Moeen said before England’s flight. “You can expect some sort of spin and a tough-ish wicket.”

Moeen described England’s World Cup to date as “a rollercoaster ride”. An extra hour of rain in Antigua would have knocked them out in the first round and despite their progress to a fourth successive T20 World Cup semi-final, they have still only beaten one Full Member side – West Indies – at this tournament. “Getting here was quite tough,” he said. “But it’s nice to be here, when you’re two games away from winning the World Cup.”

India, by contrast, have a 100 percent record in completed matches over the last three weeks and underlined their status as tournament favourites by beating Australia on Monday, a result which knocked the 50-over world champions out of the tournament. “They looked very, very strong, like they did in the last World Cup,” Moeen said.

Rohit Sharma was particularly dominant, hitting 92 off 41 balls from the top of the order. “He’s a world-class player – one of the best players in the world,” Moeen said. “You sometimes just hope they get out in T20s. That’s the thing in cricket, especially T20 cricket: you’re not always guaranteed runs, no matter how good you’re playing. But they’ve got other players as well.

“They’re just a brilliant side. They’ve got everything covered, so we’re going to have to be at our best to beat them. I’m looking forward to it, actually: it’s a great challenge, similar to the last time we played them in the semi-final in Australia. It’s going to be a challenge, and we’re going to have to plan and play really well.”

The Adelaide semi-final is best remembered for Jos Buttler and Alex Hales’ unbroken 170-run partnership which led England to victory with four overs to spare, but was set up by their bowlers. India managed only 62 for 2 off their first 10 overs after being asked to bat first, and Hardik Pandya’s late hitting was not enough to get them to a winning total.

Moeen said his main memories of the game were “just how clinical” England were in their preparation. “But [also] the way we took them on, and we were unbelievable with the bat. We set the game up on that wicket with the ball. Even when they got away from us a little bit at the end, it was a bit late. That was a great day, and a great performance.”

Arshdeep Singh, who bowled two wicketless overs in the Adelaide semi-final, was reluctant to look ahead after India’s win over Australia. “It’s exciting when you come to World Cups and in the knockout stages you have really nice opponents,” he said. “But our motto here is ‘stay where your feet are’ and right now, we are just trying to enjoy this moment.”

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