England T20 team 2016
England defeated South Africa, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in the Super-10 stage. © Getty Images

The Super-10 extravaganza of ICC World T20 2016, undoubtedly, has been super tensed and spectacular. India, New Zealand, West Indies and England were forced to punch well above their weight to enter the semi-finals, with most of the battles going down to the wire. The semi-final stage will be set in motion at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, as the rampaging New Zealand lock horns with the roaring England on Wednesday evening. While New Zealand have been undisputed so far, England lost one to West Indies owing to ‘Gayle storm’. Though the Black Caps start as pre-match favourites, it would be unfair to write off former T20I champions England in a knockout stage. Live Cricket Scorecard: England v New Zealand, T20 World Cup 2016, 1st Semi-Final at Delhi

England were termed as the ‘dark horses’ before coming into the tournament, given the T20 superstars they boast of. And, they lived up to the expectations, defeating the heavyweight South Africa, a wounded Sri Lanka and a spirited Afghanistan in the Super-10 stage. As a matter of fact, it has not been a smooth sailing for the English so far, however, they still managed to come up victorious even in the toughest of times; and are a threat to New Zealand’s hopes of playing maiden World T20 finals.

England’s batting line-up has been at its destructive best in this edition of T20 global showpiece. Be it the top, middle or the lower-middle order, every batsman stepped up when the team was in trouble. The openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales got off to a flying start against South Africa at Wankhede stadium, laying foundation for the middle in the quest of mammoth 230 runs. They scythed 56 runs in the first 3 overs, pasting nine 4s and two 6s. What followed then was even more entertaining, as orthodox Joe Root dominated the most unorthodox format of the game. His 44-ball 83 master class studded with 10 charismatic boundaries. Truth be told, he is a proof that you can go all guns blazing in the fastest format even by showcasing textbook strokes. Also read: England v New Zealand, T20 World Cup 2016, 1st Semi-Final at Delhi, Preview: All-conquering Black Caps on verge of history

England have excellent all-rounders in Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali. In fact, if there’s someone who is considered as destructive as Andrew Flintoff,  or maybe even more, it is Stokes. Nonetheless, he has not provided the impetus we expected from him, but is more than handy with his power-hitting batsmanship and right-arm fast-medium. He gives freedom to the captain to rotate the bowlers if one of them leaks runs.

Another heartening aspect of the English team is Moeen. In the contest against Afghanistan, we witnessed a commendable show of character from him. From 5 for 50, he took his team to a respectable total of 142, with his match-winning 33-ball 41. Moreover, if Delhi offers another dust-bowl, his wily off break can catch New Zealand in a spin.

England’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler continued his stellar performance and delivered some useful cameos in the middle overs to keep the scoreboard ticking. He has plundered 113 runs at a staggering strike-rate of 134.5 in the tournament so far. He is someone the Black Caps captain Kane Williamson will have a plan in place for. Also read: T20 World Cup 2016, New Zealand and England’s journey to semi-finals

While David Willey has scalped 6 wickets in 5 matches, Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid have picked up 5 wickets each in the Super-10 stage. The Delhi wicket will offer very little for the pacers, but it will grip if the bowlers take pace off the ball. However, given New Zealand’s record against spin, Rashid will play a key role with his leg break.

Led by the talismanic batsmen Eoin Morgan, England’s attacking brand of cricket has taken the cricketing world by storm. He has been proactive as a leader throughout the tournament, and managed to keep his team motivated in crunch situations. As has been seen in the videos that make rounds on social media, Morgan’s blends his power-hitting with brash and innovative stroke play all round the ground. He has not used his blade to blasting effect so far, but undoubtedly, a big score is due from the southpaw.

New Zealand may have the upper hand in this mega clash, but it will be an uphill climb for them to outplay the in-form England.

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @TheCricKnight.)