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T20 World Cup: New Zealand, Pakistan, India and England prepare to feature in heavyweight semi-final line-up

New Zealand take on Pakistan on Wednesday in the first T20 World Cup semi-final, before England meet India on Thursday; watch the last-four matches, which both start at 8am, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket

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After three weeks of thrilling cricket, the 2022 men's T20 World Cup has reached the semi-final stage, with a pair of intriguing match-ups set to play out ahead of Sunday's showpiece finale.  

While the presence of the host nation in the latter stages of a tournament is always likely to boost interest and intensity, this appears to be a rare occasion where Australia's exit will not detract from the spectacle.

India, England, Pakistan and New Zealand (in that order) are four of international cricket's five top-ranked T20 teams.

The star power will be immense as New Zealand take on Pakistan on Wednesday before England face India on Thursday, with each team likely to boast support bases that will match the quality of the cricket.

Both games, which start at 8am, will be live in full on Sky Sports, with Sunday's final to follow at the same time.

Here is everything you need to know about the semi-final match-ups before the tournament reaches what promises to be a thrilling climax.

New Zealand vs Pakistan

It might only be the appetiser before the main course for England fans, but the opening semi-final on Wednesday is a heavyweight clash.

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New Zealand were runners-up to Australia at last year's World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, after knocking England out at the semi-final stage. They are a team that boasts huge amounts of experience, most notably from captain Kane Williamson, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham and fast-bowling duo Tim Southee and Trent Boult.

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The skipper's form and low strike rate with the bat had been a little concerning in the opening stages of the tournament, but he bounced back with 61 from just 35 balls in New Zealand's crucial final Super 12 game against Ireland, dismissing questions about whether he remains capable of upping the ante when the situation requires it.

Williamson's return to form makes New Zealand's top four, in which he is surrounded by the power of Finn Allen, Devon Conway and Glenn Phillips, a fearful prospect. Phillips struck a brilliant century from 64 balls against Sri Lanka, while Conway got the Black Caps off to the perfect start with his unbeaten 92 in their tournament opening victory against Australia.

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Highlights of the 2022 T20 World Cup clash between New Zealand and Sri Lanka

Despite these highlights with the bat, the most impressive aspect of New Zealand's Super 12 performance was their bowling, with spinners Mitch Santner (8 wickets) and Ish Sodhi (6) combining with quicks Southee (7), Boult (6) and Lockie Ferguson (7) to bowl out both Australia and Sri Lanka, while also taking nine wickets against Ireland.

While New Zealand are looking to right the wrongs of last year's final defeat to Australia, Pakistan come into the last four with something of a free hit. They are the least favoured of the remaining teams and have come back from defeats in their opening two matches of the tournament to remarkably make the last four.

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Pakistan secured a crucial 33-run victory over South Africa on the DLS Method in a rain-affected match in Sydney to keep themselves in contention for a T20 World Cup semi-final spot

They suffered agonising defeats - both of which came down to the last ball - against India and Zimbabwe, before hitting back with wins over the Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh. Even then, they still needed the Proteas to choke on the big stage once more with a shock loss to the Netherlands in the final round of games.

When they warmed up for the tournament with a 4-3 series defeat to England played across September and October, Pakistan's problem was that they were overly reliant on the batting of openers Mohammad Rizwan and captain Babar Azam.

That has certainly not been the case in Australia. Babar scored just 14 runs across his first four innings of the tournament, before falling for an unconvincing 25 from 33 balls against Bangladesh.

While Pakistan will surely need their skipper to step up if they are to go all the way, they will be buoyed by the fact that their middle order has begun to contribute, most notably with Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan both striking half centuries against South Africa.

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Pakistan captain Babar Azam goes for a golden duck as India play Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, at the MCG in Melbourne

With the ball, they will continue to rely heavily on the spin of Shadab Khan, who leads Pakistan with 10 wickets in the tournament so far, but each of pace-bowling quartet Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Wasim are capable of producing game-changing performances.

As for the venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has played host to the only two scores of 200 or above during the tournament.

New Zealand reached the mark in the Super 12 opener against Australia, while South Africa blasted 205 against Bangladesh at the famous ground. Pakistan's impressive 185 against the Proteas also came in Sydney, so there is every possibility of a high-scoring game.

India vs England

The second semi-final is as good as it gets, with the world's top-ranked side, India, taking on No 2 in the rankings, England.

The two powerhouses in international cricket are each looking for their second T20 titles, with India having failed to add to their triumph in the inaugural 2007 tournament, and England so far having been unable to build on their 2010 victory.

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Virat Kohli's brilliant innings against Pakistan set India on the way to a relatively low-stress path to the last four, even with a low-scoring defeat to South Africa in Perth coming between comfortable wins over the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

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Watch highlights from a staggering final over as India beat Pakistan in an extraordinary T20 World Cup encounter at the MCG

Kohli's form has been perhaps the biggest plus of the tournament so far for India, with the former captain amassing a spectacular average of 123, boosted by three unbeaten innings. The other India batter catching the eye has been Suryakumar Yadav, who has matched Kohli's impressive haul of three half-centuries in five games.

To even get those two to the crease, England must break through India's experienced opening partnership of KL Rahul and captain Rohit Sharma, while lower down the order, the ever-dangerous Rishabh Pant appears to have won the wicketkeeper-batter position back from Dinesh Karthik.

Hardik Pandya also looms as a finisher, but it is the all-rounder's bowling which has been the more impressive element of his game so far in the tournament, chipping in with eight wickets.

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India defeat Bangladesh by five runs, helped by a Virat Kohli 64 with the bat in the T20 World Cup

India looked to have been dealt a major blow when Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the tournament but left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh has filled the void, taking 10 wickets, while Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been as economical as ever.

England, blessed with arguably the most explosive batting line-up in the world, have yet to catch fire in Australia. They stuttered to an opening victory over Afghanistan before falling to a shock loss to Ireland.

A washout of their clash with Australia meant only victories over New Zealand and Sri Lanka would put them through to the last four for a third successive time, and Jos Buttler's team duly delivered. An extremely-solid performance secured a 20-run win over New Zealand, before another nervy run-chase ended with a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka.

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Watch highlights as England reignited their T20 World Cup semi-final hopes with a 20-run win over New Zealand in Brisbane

Most of England's runs so far have come from the opening partnership of Alex Hales (125) and Buttler (119), with Ben Stokes the only other player to have made a significant contribution as the Test captain guided his team home against Sri Lanka.

Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali are all match-winners, and England will hope they have saved their best form for the knockout stages, while there also looks set to be a change to the top order, with Dawid Malan's groin strain set to afford an opportunity to Phil Salt.

The Sussex wicketkeeper showed what he is capable of with a brilliant unbeaten 88 against Pakistan in September, and will look to seize an unlikely opening.

England have taken a strength in numbers approach to bowling, with Buttler using seven different options in each of the last two games. The pick of those so far has been Sam Curran, who started the tournament with a five-wicket haul against Afghanistan.

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Watch the highlights as England secured a T20 World Cup semi-final spot with a tense four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Sydney

However, it is the express pace of Mark Wood that is likely to be England's X-factor against the best batters in the world, and the Durham quick warmed up for the semis in ideal fashion with three wickets against Sri Lanka.

Equally encouraging for England in that game was the performance of Adil Rashid, who took his first wicket of the tournament and went for just 16 runs from his four overs in a perfectly timed return to form.

India perhaps hold a slight advantage from having played Bangladesh last week at the Adelaide Oval, with England playing at the ground for the first time in the tournament.

That factor could encourage England, who tend to prefer to chase, to put India in if they get the opportunity, in order to learn more about the surface.

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