Moeen Ali wary of threat posed by ‘best in the world’ Suryakumar Yadav

Moeen Ali believes England will have their work cut out attempting to contain India’s freewheeling batter Suryakumar Yadav in their T20 World Cup semi-final this week.

While Virat Kohli seems to be back to his best, Yadav gave a demonstration in mixing power hitting with inventive strokeplay in Sunday’s win over Zimbabwe that set India on a collision course with England.

Even wide yorkers were not off limits, with Yadav shuffling across his stumps and swiping over fine-leg on a couple of occasions in an unbeaten 61 off 25 balls that took him past 1,000 T20 runs in 2022.

Suryakumar Yadav was in brilliant form against Zimbabwe (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)
Suryakumar Yadav was in brilliant form against Zimbabwe (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)

Only Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan has made more runs in a calendar year, with 1,325, but his strike-rate of 134.89 is far inferior to that of Yadav’s 186.54, and Moeen is well aware of the danger he 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.”

Yadav registered his maiden T20 century against England in the summer, thumping 14 fours and six sixes at Trent Bridge and coming within a few blows of helping India to a famous T20 series whitewash.

But, in the penultimate over, Moeen claimed the crucial wicket when Yadav toe-ended to long-off to fall for 117 off 55 balls as 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, though, was quick to point out India are a team filled to the brim with match-winners and suspects England will be underdogs in Adelaide on Thursday.

Nevertheless, in a tournament where England have yet to fully convince, Moeen thinks this contest could be just what they need to hit their stride.

Moeen Ali, right, feels a clash against India could help England hit their stride (PA)
Moeen Ali, right, feels a clash against India could help England hit their stride (PA)

“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.”

In pipping Australia to second spot in the Super 12s stage to progress to the last four alongside group winners New Zealand, England have continued a proud record of reaching the knockout rounds at every International Cricket Council white-ball competition since the 2015 50-over World Cup.

While England have shone on the limited-overs stage for several years now, they have gone all the way on only one occasion at the 2019 World Cup and Moeen feels they need to add to their silverware haul to bolster their reputation.

“There’s a lot of talk about us being a great white-ball side and the England team has been really good but we’ve only won one tournament,” he said.

“It’s important we start winning more as a team and as a country. Then we can really call ourselves a top side.

“We are a really good side. I get that and we have been over a long period but if we’re going to be a great side we need to win more trophies.

“Then when we look back as individuals I want to look back and say ‘yes, I was part of a great side’.”