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Guyana awaits England and India in T20 World Cup semi-final

Rohit Sharma and Jos Buttler

England will play India in Guyana for a place in the Twenty20 World Cup final after 24 hours of uncertainty over the venue for their semi-final.

India’s 24-run victory over Australia in St Lucia confirmed their top-place finish in group two, and a semi-final with England, on a slow turning pitch at Providence Stadium on Thursday at 3.30pm BST.

Australia’s second defeat in a row left them on the brink of elimination. They will go out if Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in the late game on Tuesday night.

The England-India semi-final is a repeat of the 2022 World Cup when England won in Adelaide. Rain is forecast for Thursday and there is no reserve day. If it is washed out, India will go through to Saturday’s final because they topped their Super Eight group.

England have not played in Guyana since the T20 World Cup in 2010, with the venue dropping off tours in recent years in favour of tourist-friendly islands to attract travelling supporters.

Now they face the tournament’s in-form team, India, whose victory over Australia made it seven wins out of seven at this World Cup, while England limped into the last four by beating only one other Test nation.

England qualified for the semi-final on Sunday but spent Monday sitting in their hotel in Barbados awaiting news about where they would fly for their next game. The tournament is structured to guarantee India a semi-final on Thursday in Guyana to suit Asian broadcast times so they have had weeks to prepare for that eventuality, handing them a potentially big advantage.

England, who finished second in the group because South Africa knocked out West Indies on Monday night to finish top, would have played a semi-final in Trinidad on Wednesday had Australia beaten India.

But India’s commanding batting performance led by captain Rohit Sharma laid down a marker for the game against England. Rohit repeated his selfless, attacking batting of the 50-over World Cup, striking 92 off only 41 balls, shredding Mitchell Starc for 28 in his first over and whacking Pat Cummins’s first ball for six. Rohit also targeted leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who conceded his worst figures of the World Cup. Rohit struck seven fours and eight sixes, as India set Australia 206 in St Lucia.

Australia kept up with the rate for 13 overs as Travis Head took the attack to India but as England discovered in their day game in St Lucia, scoring becomes harder as the ball softens on the abrasive pitch. India’s spinners squeezed Australia – Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav took a combined three for 45 – and the quicks finished it off.