England wary of Kohli threat in T20 World Cup semi-final

Jonathan Bairstow in action for England. File photo

England coach Matthew Mott is wary of under-performing Indian superstar Virat Kohli taking out his frustrations against the defending champions in Thursday’s T20 World Cup semi-final.

Kohli has struggled throughout the tournament with scores of one, four, nought, 24 and a highest of 37 against Bangladesh.

In the second round Super Eights win over Australia, he was out for a five-ball duck.

It’s a worrying sequence for a player who has more than 4,100 runs in the format and an average of just under 49.

“Virat has proven his class over a very long period of time,” said Mott.

“He’s one of the players we’ve prepared well for. We know how he can play; we know how destructive he can be and we also know his game smarts.

“If the game demands an innings of a different nature, he’s got that skill. So, he’s definitely a key player for them. Big players step up in the big moments.

“We’re hoping our players do that but you can expect him to do exactly the same.”

The two sides have not met in a T20 match since the 2022 World Cup semi-final in Adelaide when England romped to a 10-wicket win on their way to a second title.

Kohli made a half century that day while England skipper Jos Buttler cracked 80 in an undefeated opening 170-run parternship with Alex Hales.

Seven of the India team and eight of the England line-up from that game in Australia are in the squads for the 2024 event.

However, Mott refuses to see that thumping triumph having any influence in Guyana on Thursday.

“We feel that they’re a very different team to that semi-final. I think the way that they’ve approached it in the last couple of years is certainly taking the game on extremely hard in the power play,” said the coach.

“I think (captain) Rohit Sharma with the bat has led the way extremely well and shown leadership in that department, as has Jos for us.

“I think it presents a really unique challenge for us.”

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