India have locked horns with England in the second semifinal of the T20 World Cup at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

England skipper Jos Buttler won the toss and decided to bowl first. India went ahead with the same playing 11 that played Zimbabwe in their last Super 12 match. Wcketkeeper Rishabh Pant was selected over Dinesh Karthik

India Playing XI:

Rohit Sharma(c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant(wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh  

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One possible reason behind Pant’s selection could be the firepower he brings to the batting order. The pitch at the SCG is a flat one, meaning it is a good surface to bat on. Also Dinesh Kartik, selected in the team as a finisher, hasn’t been able to do the job as well as the team would have wanted.

Also the SCG has short 60 m boundaries square of the wicket. Pant, being a left hander can exploit this area of the ground. Even Rohit Sharma suggested that the playing XI is unchanged keeping the ground dimensions in mind.

Rishabh Pant has batted in seven innings against England, and has scored 134 runs with a strike rate of 131.37. He has been not out just once and is yet to score a half ton against them in T20Is.

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After losing the toss, Sharma said,” We would have batted first anyway. We’ve played some good cricket, another opportunity for us to play the same way we have all tournament. Important to hold the nerve and take the game till the end. We’ve played these guys a fair bit in recent years and know what strengths-weaknesses they have. Important to exploit that. Important to stay calm and do what we want to do.”

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Speaking on the injury scare at the nets, he said,” It was a scare but I’m fine now. The kind of talent we have, it was a tough one. Same team for us.”