England take Root to unravel Kiwi spinners’ web

NEW DELHI: England hope in-form batsman Joe Root and “home” advantage can make the difference against undefeated New Zealand in the first World Twenty20 semi-final on Wednesday.

Eoin Morgan’s team will be playing their third match in a row in New Delhi, but for the nomadic Black Caps it will be their fifth different venue in five tournament matches. “We have become quite settled in Delhi,” Morgan said at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“We have got fantastic support, a fantastic following and actually we have grown used to the pitch a lot more than probably the first game that we were here.”

Despite having to adapt to so many different surfaces, New Zealand’s formidable spin attack has so far thrived in Indian conditions.

The Kiwis have won the toss, batted first and used their spin bowlers to great effect to defend totals in all four of their group matches.

But Root has also shown his class on different pitches in the tournament, enhancing his reputation as one of the game’s classiest acts.

“Root is a class player and he is one of the best around in all three formats of the game at the moment,” allrounder Ben Stokes said of his 25-year-old team-mate. Only India’s Virat Kohli of all the players to reach the semi-finals has scored more runs than Root’s 168, which included a match-winning 83 against South Africa.

His knock against the Proteas fired England to a successful record chase of 230 and got their bid for a second World T20 title back on track after an opening-match defeat to the West Indies.