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T20 World Cup: Semi-finals preview

Australia missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, ending any hopes of a repeat of their success in the tournament in 2021, with Super 8 losses to Afghanistan and India doing the damage.

India stand as 2.25 to win the competition ahead of their last-four clash with holders England on Thursday, while in the early hours of Friday morning both South Africa and Afghanistan will be hoping to reach their first-ever global final.

The Afghans have been the talk of the tournament with their history-making run to the semi-finals, but India will desperate to claim their first triumph since the inaugural tournament in 2007.

Meanwhile, England can become the first team to successfully defend the trophy and the Proteas can finally land a major international trophy and put paid to their reputation as nearly men.

Conditions could give Proteas the edge

. What: South Africa v Afghanistan
. Where: Brian Lara Cricket Academy, San Fernando
. When: 10:30 (AEST), Thursday 27th June 2024
. How to watch: Prime Video
. Odds: South Africa 1.36, Afghanistan 3.20

Afghanistan have enjoyed a dream run to the last four, with their opening pairing of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran the inspiration for much of their success.

They have added 154, 103, 8, 0, 13, 118 and 59 for the first wicket in the seven matches played to date, showing that they will be crucial to the Afghans’ hopes of taking another step on their amazing journey.

Afghanistan are 2.00 to have the highest opening partnership against South Africa and there will be plenty of pressure on Gurbaz and Zadran to deliver again - they are currently first and third respectively on the tournament runscoring charts.

With the ball the inspirational Rashid Khan took four wickets in the nerve-shredding victory over Bangladesh which secured a semi-final spot and the leg-spinner is 2.37 to take two wickets or more against South Africa.

The Proteas will be desperate to finally make it through to a global final and pitch conditions in Tarouba, Trinidad & Tobago might just give them the edge.

Four group games were staged at this venue, with there being little to take from Papua New Guinea (twice) and Uganda being skittled for double-figure totals.

However, the clash between West Indies and New Zealand may give some pointers, with pacemen on both sides prospering as the tournament co-hosts clinched a 13-run victory.

South Africa certainly appear to have the edge when it comes to fast-bowling options, with both Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada in double figures for wickets in the tournament to date.

The Proteas are 1.36 strong favourites to reach the final, but who would discount another shock by the vibrant, inspiring Afghans.

Blockbuster clash set for Guyana

. What: India v England
. Where: Guyana National Stadium, Providence
. When: 00:30 (AEST), Friday 28th June 2024
. How to watch: Prime Video
. Odds: India 1.61, England 2.30

The second semi-final sees holders England go up against an India side aiming to end a long 17-year wait for a second T20 World Cup crown.

The Indians have the edge at 1.61 to reach the final and they certainly appear to have all bases covered, with their batting line-up really firing in the Super 8 phase, putting 181, 196 and 205 on the board in their three matches.

Rohit Sharma clattered 92 from 41 balls in the 24-run victory over Australia, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been providing some big hitting in the closing overs, as well as chipping in well with the ball.

Seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh have both been outstanding, but it is the left-arm wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav which has really captured the attention.

Not used during the initial group stage, Kuldeep took seven wickets across his three outings in the Super 8s, while one of his two previous T20I appearances against England saw him take 5-24 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

He is 4.75 to be Team - Top Bowler at the Guyana National Stadium, while he is 13.00 to be named as Player of the Match.

England have been something of a mixed bag in the tournament to date, but emphatic wins over West Indies and the United States in the Super 8 show that they are more than capable to taking out any side on their day.

Like Afghanistan, their opening partnership - Phil Salt and skipper Jos Buttler - are likely to be key, with both batters closing in on 200 runs in the competition.

Salt is striking at 166.36, with Buttler not too far behind him and if they can lay a platform then the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone are capable of doing more damage.

With the ball, pacemen Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan have both impressed, while veteran leg-spinner Adil Rashid remains a potent white-ball weapon.

Rashid is 4.75 to be Team - Top Bowler on Friday, with the fit-again and firing Archer 4.50.

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