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T20 World Cup 2024: India look to exorcise ghosts of 2022

It could be India, it could be England, it could be Afghanistan or it could be South Africa. But, it is down to who can do what here, in the semifinals.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 22:52 IST

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One day, one moment, one over, one wicket, one catch, a run out, one six, one four… that’s all it takes for greatness to come undone or for greatness to be done.

India don’t have to prove their greatness any more than they have in the last few months. They are perhaps the most complete team in the world at this moment, but they too are gullible to the fickleness of time, this format, and a good opponent on a bad day.

They knew that well, surely all athletes do, but this team, most members of it at least, was forced to internalise it painfully so after their loss in the final against Australia in the 50-over World Cup in November 2023. 

So, while the wounds might still be fresh, India take on England in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup in Guyana on Wednesday - the very same opponents they had faced at this exact stage of the tournament in 2022. 

England would win that clash, hammering India by 10 wickets, and the final against Pakistan, but the Indian team didn’t wear this aura then. 

That could well, however, be the moment which instigated a renaissance, the likes of which has made them the most dominant white-ball force in quite some time. 

They don’t have the silverware to speak of, but anyone witnessing this team in action - their management, their strategies, their ability to adapt, their professionalism and their primal urge to keep a foot on the pedal - knows that they’re going to get there sooner than later.

Maybe, just maybe, that day begins on June 26 and carries on till the afternoon of June 29 (the final). That’s all it’s down to now, four or so days for a trophy to be had. 

It could be India, it could be England, it could be Afghanistan or it could be South Africa. But, it is down to who can do what here, in the semifinals. 

Objectively speaking, India should get this game. With the most compact batting line-up in this World Cup, one which is not reliant on one or two individuals to click for them to score big, the Indians have looked seamless and have not lost a game en route the final four stage. 

They had their moments of anxiety, at its highest against Australia in their last Super Eights fixture, but even there they didn’t panic. They stuck to a plan, stuck to a combination, but they have shown in games prior that they’re not afraid of changing things up a bit. 

The Providence Stadium in Guyana might not necessitate a change in the playing XI, although leaving Shivam Dube might be tempting, now they have reached a point where the individuals are allowed to become their ecosystems, not one dictated by the book. 

They’re all taking chances, including skipper Rohit Sharma at the top, and when it clicks, it clicks, and the team benefits. When it doesn’t? Well, we don’t know because it has not been in a long while. 

This team is something to behold, looked at as art and at this point, it doesn’t matter if they win or lose. It matters that they play the kind of cricket they have all tournament long. 

That means Rohit doing his thing, which means Rishabh Pant is being himself. That means Suryakumar Yadav is absurd. That means Jasprit Bumrah being alien. That means Kuldeep Yadav is tidy. 

But winning needs more. India have it. England might too. 

Teams (likely): India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Surakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh. 

England: Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (capt/ wk), Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Mooen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley. 

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Published 26 June 2024, 22:52 IST

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