Stokes on song as England face Kohli-inspired India in World Cup semi

England go into a blockbuster semi-final clash with red-hot India at the Twenty20 World Cup on Thursday high on confidence after Ben Stokes's batting heroics.

The Adelaide Oval is expected to be sold out for a clash of the titans between the two top-ranked T20 teams in the world.

Jos Buttler's second-ranked England, the reigning 50-over world champions, are gaining momentum after starting with a less-than convincing win over Afghanistan and a shock defeat to Ireland in a rain-hit match.

A washout against Australia then left them having to win their final two Super 12 matches.

They outplayed New Zealand before an unbeaten 42 by Test captain Stokes, whose selection for the T20 team had come under fire, ensured a tense win over Sri Lanka to secure a semi-final berth.

Buttler said Stokes "can play a lot of roles" after the England talisman, who guided them to ODI World Cup success in a nerve-shredding 2019 final, stayed calm to lead his team to their 142 target with two balls to spare.

"Chilled, I knew what I had to do," Stokes said Tuesday when asked how he had kept his head during teh chaos of a middle-order collapse.

"The wicket was slowing up and getting worse but, yeah, I assessed that."

Buttler and Alex Hales have been able to get England off to great starts and both hit half-centuries as the pair amassed an 81-run opening stand in 10 overs against a New Zealand attack led by Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

Number three Dawid Malan looks doubtful for the semis after he injured his groin against Sri Lanka and could be replaced by Phil Salt.

Wood and Sam Curran have been outstanding with the ball for England, who won the 2010 T20 World Cup.

Wood has bowled the fastest ball of the tournament at 155kph (96.3mph) while Curran has the best figures of any bowler so far with his five wickets for 10 runs against Afghanistan.

- 'Free spirit' SKY -

The England bowlers will have to contend with a resurgent Virat Kohli, the top scorer of the tournament, and new T20 number one-ranked batsman Suryakumar Yadav if they are to halt the Rohit Sharma-led team's march to a first global title since the 2013 Champions Trophy.

Kohli, who turned 34 at the weekend, has amassed 246 runs in five innings including three match-winning unbeaten half-centuries to give him a staggering tournament average of 123.

Yadav, nicknamed 'SKY', is not far behind with 225 runs at an average of 75 with his arsenal of  pyrotechnics including sweeps and scoop shots that keep bowlers guessing.

"The way Surya is batting is wonderful. It's free spirited, free will, he is at that stage of his career," spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said after the 71-run win against Zimbabwe on Sunday.

"He is no spring chicken but still pretty early in his international cricket. With the way he is playing, he is complementing a lot of other batters in the team."

Suryakumar blasted an unbeaten 61 off 25 balls at the MCG against Zimbabwe as India topped Group 2 after winning four of their five matches.

India's bowling attack have stepped up after leading pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah failed to make the plane to Australia because of injury.

Young left-arm quick bowler Arshdeep Singh has taken 10 wickets, the same as Curran, and the 23-year-old has formed a potent seam attack with the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.

"If Bhuvi and Arshdeep can get the ball to swing a little bit more, then Adelaide can become an even spicier contest from India's point of view," said Ashwin.

It has been a wide open World Cup with pitches across Australia offering a range of challenges and plenty of shock results.

"If it's slow we'll play according to those situations," said coach Rahul Dravid, who said India would not finalise their team until assessing the wicket.

"If we think it might play differently, then we'll have to put up a squad to match that."

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