Adelaide, Nov 10 Alex Hales and captain Jos Buttler’s unbeaten fifties helped England to storm into the final of the T20 World Cup by giving India a real hammering by 10 wickets at Adelaide Oval here on Thursday.
India scored 168/5 after they were sent in to bat by Buttler. In reply, England chased down the target with 24 balls to spare.
Buttler and Hales remained unbeaten with 80 (49 balls, 9x4s 3x6s) and 86 (47 balls, 4x4s 7x6s) runs, respectively.
The English openers began the chase in a hurry with Buttler smashing 3 boundaries against Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the first over, and Hales multiplying India’s problems with his breathtaking knock thereafter.
Credit to English bowlers, especially spinner Adil Rashid in the first innings who restricted India with his superb figures of 20/1 in 4 overs, conceding just 5 runs per over. Chris Jordan, who came in for Mark Wood, was the wrecker-in-chief as he bagged 3/43 in stipulated overs.
England will now play against Pakistan in the final to be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
England had already pipped India at the halfway mark, scoring 98/0 compared to India’s 62/2 as Hales was punching Indian bowlers all around the park in a hurry.
Post 10 overs stage, it was easy for Hales and Buttler as they just needed 70 runs from thereon with Indian bowlers, pace and spinners, not getting any movement or turn of the pitch.
Earlier, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya’s fifties pushed India to 168/5.
Hardik (63 off 33, 4x4s 5x6s) joined Kohli (50 off 40, 4x4s 1×6) and took time to get hold of his innings, but once he got into his groove, he played a blinder to take the total close to 170, with the support of Kohli at the other end.
As many as 106 runs were scored in the last 10 overs, and out of which, 68 were gathered in the last 5 overs by the mesmerizing duo as the momentum shifted in India’s favour. Pandya hammered as many as 54 out of 68.
Opener KL Rahul (5) once went cheaply early on, leaving Captain Rohit Sharma (27 off 28, 4x4s) and Kohli to bring back India on the track by sewing up 45 runs for the second wicket, but a couple of wickets including Suryakumar Yadav (14 off 10, 1×4 1×6) titled the game in England’s favour.
Hardik then took on the English bowlers towards the end and galvanised India to post a par score.
Fast bowler Mark Wood (hip) and key batsman Dawid Malan (groin) were ruled out prior to the toss, with veteran seamer Chris Jordan and top-order batsman Phil Salt named as their replacements.
The loss of Wood in particular was a blow to England, with the pacer already having picked up 9 wickets at the T20 World Cup and regularly hit speeds in excess of 150 km/h.
India stuck with the same XI that defeated Zimbabwe by 73 runs in the final match of the Super 12 stage of the tournament, meaning left-hander Rishabh Pant was preferred to Dinesh Karthik.
Though England bat deep, no team has chased down more than 158 at this venue. The highest chase being 158 by England against Australia in 2011.