Set to face an unbeaten New Zealand side, England face a tall order in the World T20 semifinal at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Wednesday. England, who were the second side to qualify for the semis, have had a bumpy ride in the tournament so far.
They lost to West Indies on a batting wicket in Mumbai, but pulled off a thriller against the Proteas, thanks to a match-winning knock by Joe Root. In Delhi, they struggled against Afghanistan and then nearly lost the game against Sri Lanka from a strong position.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has had a spectacular run. The Kiwis have remained steady even in difficult conditions, negotiating the spin challenge with ease. Their spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi too have had a great outing in India.
In comparison, the England side appear askew, with no balance between their batting and bowling. When the batsmen have performed, their bowlers have been a let-down, a case in point being the game against West Indies. On the flip side, the batting performance would be comforting to the English fans. Against the Afghanistan, Moeen Ali resurrected the side coming at No 7, while Jos Buttler produced a whirlwind innings against Sri Lanka.
Facing a side capable of chasing down huge targets, however, the onus is on England to perform well as a unit. That the Kiwis look better on paper in the bowling department wouldn’t make their task easier either. With Kotla proving to be batsman-friendly in the previous two games, scoring big is a necessity.