In what promises to be a thrilling encounter, a supremely confident New Zealand will take on a spirited England team in the first semi-final of the ICC World T20 at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi on 30 March.
On paper, the Kane Williamson-led New Zealand, who are unbeaten in the tournament so far, are favourites against the Eoin Morgan side that has not exactly been consistent en route their entry into the last four.
In World T20s, both New Zealand and England have won two games apiece out of their four meetings so far. The semi-final tomorrow could very well be decided by the much-anticipated battle between New Zealand's decorated bowling unit and the in-form batting lineup of England.
History in World T20
New Zealand: In the inaugural 2007 World T20, the Kiwis made it to the semi-final before losing to Pakistan by six wickets. But the next three editions saw it getting eliminated in the Super 8s stage. In 2009, losing to Pakistan and Sri Lanka sent New Zealand packing. In 2010, a loss to England and an inferior Net Run Rate saw Pakistan nose ahead. Then in 2012, New Zealand lost to all three of its opponents -- Sri Lanka, West Indies, England.
Yet, 2014 was probably the toughest pill to swallow as New Zealand failed to close out a game against South Africa and eventually crashed out to a 59-run loss against Sri Lanka after being bundled out for 60.
England: The title run in the 2010 ICC World T20 was the best England have done in any ICC event, including the 50-over World Cup. In the inaugural World T20 in 2007 in South Africa, England qualified for the Super 8s but then lost all its next three games, to South Africa, New Zealand, and India. The 2009 campaign wasn't too different, where it got past the first hurdle but then lost to South Africa and West Indies, though it managed to beat India.
Ditto in 2012, where it started as the defending champion but lost to West Indies and Sri Lanka to exit the tournament in the Super 8s, and in 2014, it lost in the first round of the Super 10s after coming off second best to New Zealand, South Africa and, in one of the greatest upsets, the Netherlands.
New Zealand: The Kiwis have a settled team with several players who can play an all-round role like Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum. It will add depth to an already formidable lineup that includes Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Colin Munro and Ross Taylor.
Bowling wise, Santner and Ish Sodhi have emerged as the unlikely heroes for New Zealand. While Santner has snared nine wickets, Sodhi has been close on his heels with eight scalps to his name. All-rounder Grant Elliott and seamer Mitchell McClenaghan have taken three and four wickets respectively as the Black Caps have bowled out the opposition in three out of the four matches.
England: The star-studded batting lineup of the Eoin Morgan side has been their biggest strength in the tournament, so far. The team boasts of some of the best hitters in the world in Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, as well as Eoin Morgan. The class of Joe Root and the lower-order flexibility of Moeen Ali cannot be overlooked.
For England, the binding factor has been Joe Root's inspirational innings of 83 that helped them chase down a mammoth 230-run target against South Africa. Not to forget Jos Buttler's whirlwind half-century against Sri Lanka and some brilliant death bowling by Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes.
New Zealand: For a team that has never managed to go beyond the Super 10 stage in the ICC World T20, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand has surely come a long way. They are the only team which has managed to read the wicket and Indian conditions better than the other teams, including hosts India.
Williamson's men shocked India in their first match and then went on to upset the mighty Australians in the next game. The Kiwis exploited Pakistan's poor form to emerge victorious in their third game while they registered their biggest win (in this edition) with a 75-run triumph over Bangladesh in their fourth match.
England: The 2010 winners witnessed a similar fate as India, losing the first game and then winning their last three matches to qualify for the ICC World T20 semi-finals. Joe Root and Jos Buttler have been in sublime form for the Eoin Morgan side that will be, once again, counting on the two swashbuckling batsmen to reach the final.
England were humbled by West Indies in their opening match that sent the Morgan's team into a tizzy. Desperate to turn their campaign around, the English brigade produced spirited performances against South Africa, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka to register three consecutive wins and emerge second in Group 1.
New Zealand has been involved in two of the three ties in World T20 history and lost both in the Super Over.
England has lost the most matches in the five-edition history of the World T20: 11.
Kane Williamson holds the record for the highest percentage (70 per cent) contribution (of a completed innings) to a team's total in a T20I.
Alex Hales is one of only six batsmen to have scored a World T20 century, the others being Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, Mahela Jayawardene and Ahmed Shehzad.
Daniel Vettori (5.83) and Nathan McCullum (6.08) are the second and third most economical bowlers in World T20 history.
Eoin Morgan is among just 24 men to have played international cricket for two countries - he played 23 One-Day Internationals for Ireland before switching to England.
James Vince, the Hampshire batsman who has impressed with England Lions, was also a skilled footballer and played for Reading academy for three years in his early teens before turning out for Trowbridge Town FC and then focussing entirely on cricket.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince, David Willey.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Grant Elliott, Luke Ronchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell McLenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne.
-Edited by Aishwarya Yerra