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‘Got to win’: England battle USA with eye on T20 World Cup semi-final

TThe next 48 hours will be a logistical challenge for England, but the task ahead in familiar Barbados on Sunday is simple. They meet the US, the co-hosts and staff who stole Pakistan’s intended spot in the Super Eights and, according to Harry Brook, they want to “give them a good beating”.

This may sound like nonsense for a big fight in Las Vegas, but Brook looked like he just stepped out of a boxing ring when he said it. It followed Friday’s thrilling defeat to South Africa in the sweltering daytime heat of Saint Lucia, with Brook sitting in the sweaty press conference tent, the adrenaline still flowing from his near-miss in the chase, and some good old Yorkshire attacks. clear language.

“We have to win [against USA] and then of course see where we are on net return,” Brook said, just grateful to be out of the bright sun. “But the most important thing is to definitely get that victory. We’ve been playing in Barbados quite a bit over the last six months. So we also know the conditions, the wind and the field. So hopefully we can go out there and give them a good wallop.”

A rush is not really necessary to reach the semi-finals. The West Indies deal one to the Americans on Friday evening, meaning their final match against South Africa in Antigua on Sunday is virtually a straight shootout for a spot in the top two.

England can slip through via net run-rate with the winner of that quasi-quarter-final, provided they beat the US by (roughly) more than 10 runs or a chase is broken up without going all the way. If the match fails – the forecast of 50% rain makes that possible – England would need South Africa to beat the West Indies that evening.

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South Africa will undoubtedly top this second Super Eight group with six points if it records a seventh straight win, but could also lose and go out with a tournament record of six won and one lost. Set against what would be a possible England record of four wins, two losses and a nil result, Aiden Markram and his men would have reason to feel a little miffed. The problem for the Proteas in this scenario is that their initial 18-point win over the US in St. Vincent during the week wasn’t enough to batter.

Another complication follows. Whichever two teams deploy in any order, neither will know their next port of call in the next 24 hours. The semi-finals will be played on Wednesday evening in Trinidad and a day later in Guyana. India are guaranteed to play the latter if they progress as the morning start is prime time for their lucrative television audience at home. This is laid down in the tournament rules below article 16.10.6 (not that the reason why is specified).

As such, where India finish on that side of the draw – their final match is against Australia in Saint Lucia on Monday morning – is the cornerstone of the entire knockout stages. If India finish top, the second-placed team in the English group will join them; finish second and it will be against the highest ranked team. In cricket, fortunately, the sporting integrity of a tournament is trumped by money. Everyone just nods along.

While the US are already out of the running, it is dangerous to expect England to simply brush them aside in a fickle format like T20. Just ask the broadcasters, who have Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Ramiz Raja on their commentary list in Bridgetown this weekend. All three are fine neutral observers, but the booking was made on the assumption that Pakistan would be here, rather than back at home and seemingly engaged in an almighty bun battle regarding first-round exit.

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Aaron Jones’ explosive innings helped the US beat Canada. Photo: Matt Roberts-ICC/ICC/Getty Images

That said, it could be an American side that dared to dream, lit up opening night with that Aaron Jones six-fest against Canada, pulled off an upset against Pakistan to be among the most famous in history, and some magical personal moments yielded. you may run out of steam along the way. Regardless, their presence in this round, which comes with qualification for the next T20 World Cup in 2026, has justified the 20-team format. The partners close the gap.

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And England? They remain a tough side to pin down, with two defeats in their three matches against full opposition, but have also taken apart Oman and Namibia in a manner that inspires their confidence in chasing 109 in 10 overs against Scotland – a match that was thwarted by rain – was not undeserved.

Against South Africa, it can be said that they got the selection wrong on that slow surface – Mark Wood only appeared in the 14th due to a tacit admission of this – and their fourth powerplay in six without a wicket (including the shortened game against Namibia) remains a problem . area.

But despite being third in their Super Eight group and with an inferior tournament record compared to the top two, they are arguably the best seeded at the moment. What a stupid sport.

US (possible): Steven Taylor, Andries Gous (w), Nitish Kumar, Aaron Jones (c), Corey Anderson, Milind Kumar, Harmeet Singh, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Nosthush Kenjige, Ali Khan, Saurabh Netravalkar

England (possible): Phil Salt, Jos Buttler(w/c), Harry Brook, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley

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