India and England will battle for a place in the final at the MCG against Pakistan or New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
The top-ranked Indians have ridden Suryakumar’s best hitter, with the middle-class batsman in sparkling form with three half-centuries in Australia and 225 runs.
“Suryakumar clearly came in and set the world on fire. He’s a fantastic player and plays some shots where sometimes you just scratch your head,” said England all-rounder Stokes.
“He’s in great shape, but hopefully we can try to take him out and not allow him on one of his outbursts.”
Suryakumar played a key role in India’s top ranking in Group 2 and was at his best in the final game against Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 61 from 25 balls.
The 32-year-old is known as a 360-degree player for his ability to hit the ball to all parts of the ground, including the audacious scoop shot over the wicketkeeper’s head for a six.
Suryakumar Yadav (AFP photo)
India will take on an England squad that many have considered favorites for the tournament.
But they were not always convincing in reaching the semi-finals and were defeated by Ireland.
Stokes, the Test captain of England, came under extra scrutiny for his patchy at bat, but he hit an unbeaten 42 against Sri Lanka to lead the Three Lions to the knockouts.
Stokes, England’s best player in crisis and led them to a 50-over World Cup title in 2019, is hoping for more of the same at the business end in Australia.
“Hopefully we have two games to go… and hopefully we can finally lift the trophy,” said Stokes, a left-handed batsman and fast bowler with a right arm.
“But we know we have to finish this game on Thursday against a very strong Indian team that no one will ever take lightly because of the team they are and the players they have on their team.”
Virat Kohli again stood out for India with three unbeaten half-centuries and leads the tournament’s batting chart with 246 runs and an average of 123.
Virat Kohli (AP Photo)
Kohli, 34, overcame a miserable streak of batting form to reach his first international century after 1,020 days at the Asian Cup in September, silencing the critics.
“I think with Virat he could have four incredible years like he had and then a few not so loud months and then for some reason he plays like this and gets written off, we have no idea why,” Stokes said.
“I think he has earned the right to never be written off.”
New Zealand and Pakistan will play the first semi-final at Sydney on Wednesday.