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Mithali Raj likely to return as India eye Lord's payback

Big picture

England won't forget it, and India can't, even if they want to. Both sets of players will tell you they aren't thinking about it, and that this game is a new game, in a different format, but don't believe them. Antigua will host Thursday's World T20 semi-final, but some small psychological part of it will be played at Lord's, where England prevailed over a nervy India in last year's World Cup final.

Coming into this tournament, India have maintained that they have learned from that final, that they are now better equipped to deal with pressure situations. This semi-final might give them an opportunity to walk the talk.

It is India, however, who come into this match as the form team, having won all four of their group games and brushed New Zealand and Australia aside with surprising ease. Their vast and varied spin attack was made for the slow surfaces in Providence, Guyana, and in Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur in particular, they had the batting to transcend those conditions.

The conditions in Antigua, however, might turn out to be different, in which case England - who have a better balance of seam and spin options - could come into their own. They have not clicked into anything approaching top gear yet in this tournament, particularly as a batting side, but the likes of Dani Wyatt, Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight possess the experience and big-match temperament to come good when it matters the most. Few games matter as much as this one.

Recent form

England: LWWWW (last five completed games, most recent first)
India: WWWWW

In the spotlight

To this semi-final against India, Anya Shrubsole brings incredible form - she has taken seven wickets at an average of 5.00 at this World T20, while conceding just 3.18 per over - and the memories of that six-for at Lord's. Can she subdue India's in-form top four?

Below that top four, however, India have a problem similar to that faced by the men's limited-overs teams in recent years: a middle order that hasn't had a great deal of time in the middle, and hasn't really sparkled in that time. Against a well-rounded England attack, India might need the likes of Veda Krishnamurthy, Dayalan Hemalatha and Deepti Sharma to step up with the bat.

Team news

England made a change to their spin attack in their last group game against West Indies, leaving out Linsey Smith and bringing in the offspinner Danielle Hazell. Hazell proved expensive, conceding 39 across four wicketless overs. Will England stick with the experience and variety that Hazell brings, or go back to three left-arm spinners in Smith, Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Ecclestone?

England (probable): 1 Danielle Wyatt, 2 Tammy Beaumont, 3 Amy Jones (wk), 4 Natalie Sciver, 5 Heather Knight (capt), 6 Lauren Winfield, 7 Sophia Dunkley, 8 Anya Shrubsole, 9 Danielle Hazell/Linsey Smith, 10 Sophie Ecclestone, 11 Kirstie Gordon

Mithali Raj sat out India's last group match against Australia to nurse a knee injury. Her replacement, the allounder Anuja Patil, picked up three wickets with her offspin but did not get to bat despite India needing nine batsmen. This suggested their team management wanted to give their lower-order batsmen time in the middle before the semi-finals, and that they expected Raj to come back in Patil's place for that match. Raj will most likely open the batting with Smriti Mandhana, pushing wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia down the order.

India (probable): 1 Mithali Raj, 2 Smriti Mandhana, 3 Jemimah Rodrigues, 4 Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), 5 Veda Krishnamurthy, 6 Dayalan Hemalatha, 7 Deepti Sharma, 8 Taniya Bhatia (wk), 9 Arundhati Reddy, 10 Radha Yadav, 11 Poonam Yadav

Stats and trivia

  • England have a 10-3 head-to-head record against India in T20Is. India, however, won the most recent meeting, in Mumbai in March.

  • Among all bowlers with a minimum of 50 T20I wickets, Anya Shrubsole (13.04) and Poonam Yadav (13.20) have the second- and third-best averages.

  • India have four batsmen - Harmanpreet Kaur (167), Smriti Mandhana (144), Mithali Raj (107) and Jemimah Rodrigues (99) - among the top ten run-getters in this World T20.

  • England have three of the five most economical bowlers in the tournament, among those who have sent down at least 10 overs: Natalie Sciver (3.00), Shrubsole (3.18) and Katie Gordon (4.00)

Quotes

"Everybody knows the magnitude of the game. It's just trying to keep things as simple as normal because a team that will deliver the simple things the best will probably win the match."
England coach Mark Robinson's mantra for success

"When we were coming here no one was sure that we could qualify for the semi, I think. The self-belief [has changed]. I can give credit to Ramesh [Powar, the coach] because from the time he joined our team our mindset and approach has totally changed. And I think now we have better plans and we can think bigger. Total credit goes to him."
India captain Harmanpreet Kaur