England: The monster the Black Caps created

The Black Caps' semi-final adversaries England are the monster that they themselves created.

Having hit rock bottom following their humiliating group stage exit from last year's 50-over World Cup, the English turned to New Zealand and Australia as inspiration for turning their lagging limited overs fortunes around.

In less than 12 months England have gone from embarrassment to being one win from a World T20 final, and yesterday captain Eoin Morgan unashamedly admitted that his side has indeed moulded itself on the Black Caps' style.

New Zealand found out that imitation isn't always the greatest form of flattery in June last year, when England won an ODI series against them on home soil 3-2; the campaign memorable for some incredibly high scores and record run-chases.

Now only one team can progress through to the World T20 final at Eden Gardens - the trend setters or the copycats.

"I think that series (last year) was very important," Morgan said of his team's impressive rejuvenation ahead of tonight's blockbuster in Delhi.

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"Coming into this series we talked about emulating what Australia and New Zealand did at that World Cup.

"From where we were to where (New Zealand) were, we were miles away. In order to bridge the gap we had to try and emulate the fashion in which they played and the aggressive nature in which they went about their game, particularly with the ball.

Listen to Kane Williamson ahead of the World T20 semifinal:

"Throughout the World Cup, their swing bowlers were fantastic and that encourages a positive mindset throughout. With the bat it can come more naturally.

"(The Black Caps) did play a key part, absolutely."

It's no surprise then that it's been England's seamers David Willey (six wickets at 20.33 average) and Chris Jordan (five wickets at 25.60 average) who have led the way.

Not only are England coming up against the team they spent months studying, they will contest the semi-final on a Delhi pitch they've already played two of their pool matches on.

Morgan feels that's a major advantage for his team.

"I think it will, yeah. We've become quite settled in Delhi and it's been good to us," he said.

Listen to Eoin Morgan ahead of the World T20 semifinal:

The Kiwi who could stop the Black Caps

"We've had fantastic support and following. And ultimately we've grown used to the pitch a lot more than the first game we were here, which was probably a little bit drier.

"Our seamers have gone really well. We've come into this tournament with an open-mindedness about the conditions we're coming up against and that'll be no different (tonight).

"We're playing on a fresh wicket which has a really good covering of grass. It's changed over the last few games a little bit."

Asked if he was surprised by England's rapid rise in the 12 months since the 50-over World Cup, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said he expected them to fight back even harder.

"I'm not surprised at all. Having played a bit of county cricket I've seen all these guys quite a lot and how good players they are," he said.

"We know they are a big threat. We certainly saw that in the one-day series we played in England and when I saw the team on paper you knew it would be a tough challenge.

They're guys that play aggressive cricket and fearless cricket and it's no surprise to me that they are at the semi-finals of the World Cup.

"It's tough. There are so many good cricketers in their country and you are always trying to improve as a side.

"I think England have done that and they're getting better and better as well and they are very much contenders."

- Sydney Daily Telegraph

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