England’s Dawid Malan looks set to miss the T20 World Cup semi-final tie against India after picking up a groin injury in the final Super 12s match against Sri Lanka.
England beat Sri Lanka by four wickets in Sydney but Malan did not bat after he walked off the field when fielding with an injury.
Vice-captain Moeen Ali has hinted that England have the depth to replace Malan, whose injury “doesn’t look good”.
“The great thing with this side is there’s so many options, you can put Ben Stokes at three, you can put Phil Salt at three, myself or whoever, there’s so many options,” he said.
“Mala would obviously be a big miss because he’s a brilliant player in T20 cricket and he has been over a long period of time – that’s if he doesn’t play, I actually don’t know yet. It doesn’t look great.”
Jos Buttler has played the same 11 in all the matches during the World Cup so far, but will have to decide on who should replace Malan if he misses the match.
If he is unable to recover, then how England balance their line-up will be a talking point as they have preferred an extra batter recently, with Moeen and Liam Livingstone as low as seven in the order.
Should they stick with the same formula then Salt is the spare batter in England’s 15-strong squad and he could come in as a straight swap for Malan at number three, but England have already shown their flexibility with their batting order in Australia.
Salt’s attacking instincts and improvements to his game have impressed England, and bowler Mark Wood said he has “something about him”.
“He’s been ready for a while and he’s got something about him. He’s one of the only ones that faces the bowlers (in the nets). Normally the batters like dog sticks, but he takes on the bowlers and I think he’s chomping at the bit,” Wood said on Sunday.
Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills and David Willey are the other options, if England look to add bowling options in Adelaide.
Moeen wary of facing ‘best in the world’ Yadav
India secured top spot and a meeting with England in the semi-finals with a convincing win against Zimbabwe on Sunday and Moeen has identified Suryakumar Yadav as the dangerman in India’s batting line-up.
Rohit Sharma’s side boast a dangerous batting line-up, which includes world No 1 T20 batter Yadav.
He hit 61 off 25 balls to take him past 1,000 T20 runs this year, and Moeen is aware of the threat Yadav poses.
“He’s an amazing player, I do feel like he’s the best in the world,” Moeen said. “He’s probably taken T20 cricket to another level.
“I think he’s the first of the players who come through where you can’t bowl at him when he’s playing well, it’s very difficult and a weakness doesn’t really stick out.”
England have seen Yadav’s power first hand this year. He hit his maiden T20 century against England at Trent Bridge in the summer, hitting 14 fours and six sixes.
He finished with a score of 117 off 55 balls and almost led his side to a historic T20 series whitewash on English soil but Moeen claimed his crucial wicket and England won by 17 runs in the most recent T20 meeting between the teams.
“He absolutely murdered me before I got him out,” Moeen reflected. “They still needed a lot of runs and he got them close.
“Thankfully, he was tired when I got him out – that’s how I got him, I think. But he played amazingly well, some of the shots he played were some of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Moeen said that England are underdogs going into the semi-final.
“It’s the biggest game you can play in T20 cricket, in terms of the crowds and playing against a top side and cricket being such a force in India,” he said. “That’s what you want as a player.
“They will be the favourites to win. It’s probably the type of game we want and need at this time. If we get through that, it will be a massive boost to our confidence.”
Watch England’s T20 World Cup semi-final against India live on Sky Sports Cricket on Thursday (7am build-up ahead of an 8am start)
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