England must shut down India's 'fantastic' SKY: Stokes
Ben Stokes warned on Tuesday that England must nullify the threat of Suryakumar Yadav in their Twenty20 World Cup semi-final against India, saying the batsman has "set the world alight".
India and England clash on Thursday at the Adelaide Oval for a place in the final at the MCG against Pakistan or New Zealand.
The top-ranked Indians have been riding high on Suryakumar's batting exploits, with the middle-order batsman in sparkling form with three half-centuries in Australia and 225 runs.
"Suryakumar obviously came in and set the world alight. He is a fantastic player and plays some shots where you sort of just scratching the head sometimes," England all-rounder Stokes said.
"He is in great form, but hopefully we can try and shut him down and not allow him to get on one of his rampages."
Suryakumar played a key part in India's top finish in Group 2 and was at his destructive best in the final game against Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 61 of 25 balls.
The 32-year-old is known as a 360-degree player for his ability to hit the ball to all parts of the ground, including the audacious scoop shot over the wicketkeeper's head for a six.
India are up against an England side who were regarded as pre-tournament favourites by many.
But they were not always convincing in getting to the semi-finals and were beaten by Ireland.
Stokes, England's Test captain, came under extra scrutiny for his patchy batting but he hit an unbeaten 42 against Sri Lanka to guide the Three Lions into the knockouts.
Stokes, who has been England's go-to player in crunch situations and led them to a 50-over World Cup title in 2019, hopes for more of the same at the business end in Australia.
"We have got two more games to go hopefully... and hopefully lift the trophy in the end," Stokes, a left-handed batsman and a right-arm fast bowler, said.
"But we know we need to get this game done on Thursday against a very strong Indian team which no one will ever take lightly because the team they are and the players that they have in their squad."
Virat Kohli has stood out once more for India with three unbeaten half-centuries and leads the tournament batting chart with 246 runs and an average of 123.
Kohli, 34, overcame a miserable run of batting form to hit his first international century after 1,020 days at the Asia Cup in September and silence the critics.
"I think with Virat he could have four unbelievable years like he had and then have a not-so-loud couple of months and then for some reason plays like that and gets written off, we have got no idea why," said Stokes.
"I think he has earned the right to never be written off."
New Zealand and Pakistan play the first semi-final on Sydney on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, England must win more silverware to be considered a truly great limited-overs team, all-rounder Moeen Ali said, as the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup champions prepare to face India on Thursday in the semi-finals of the latest edition.
England, who also won the 50-overs version three years ago, have failed to hit top gear in Australia and reached the last-four with a scrappy win over Sri Lanka.
"There's a lot of talk about us being a great white-ball side and the England team has been really good, but we've only won one tournament," Moeen told British media.
"It's important we start winning more as a team and as a country.
"Then we can call ourselves a top side."
While England have not been firing on all cylinders at the World Cup, Mooen backed them to peak at the right time.
"We wanted to get to the semis. In the past we've played well and got through," he said.
"This time I don't think we've played well but we've got through and the best is yet to come with this side. I don't think we've been near where we want to be but now's a great opportunity to put that right.
"You always talk about peaking at the right time and if you scrape through it means you can get better. If we play our best cricket in the next two games I believe we win the World Cup."