Alex Hales and Jos Buttler put on an unbeaten stand of 170 to crush India in the second semi-final of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Adelaide on Thursday.
As a result, England won by 10 wickets and 24 deliveries to spare, setting up a clash against Pakistan in the final in Melbourne on November 13. Jos Buttler’s men held a firm grip on the match right from the beginning.
The England skipper won the toss and opted to field first in the crucial clash and his bowlers didn’t disappoint him as they bowled tight lines and lengths to put a leash around the Indian batters.
England got KL Rahul’s wicket very early in the innings. Although Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma tried to steady the ship after that, the duo just couldn’t accelerate. Rohit was finally dismissed for a dismal knock of 27 from 28 deliveries.
Suryakumar Yadav walked in to bat next and played a couple of breathtaking shots before Adil Rashid brought an end to his stay at the crease for a contribution of 14 from 10 deliveries. India got the impetus in their innings only in the last five overs when Hardik Pandya went into charge.
India added 68 runs to their total in the last five overs, 54 of which were scored by Pandya, that too off just 21 deliveries. Kohli also played a handy knock of 50 from 40 deliveries but it was Pandya’s 33-ball knock of 63 that helped India in getting to a competitive total.
But the England openers made a complete mockery of the target as they went on the charge right from the first ball of their innings. It was Alex Hales who played the role of the aggressor in the initial overs while Jos Buttler played the second fiddle. But once both openers got their team to a commanding position, Buttler also opened up and started accelerating.
The Indian bowlers looked completely clueless as the duo chased down the target within 16 overs. Hales remained unbeaten on 86 from 47 deliveries while Buttler played an excellent 49-ball knock of 80* as well. This loss turned out to be one of India’s worst in T20Is. They not only lost by a massive margin but it also knocked them out of the tournament.
“I think the character we have shown since then (England’s loss against Ireland) – it has been amazing. We came here very excited, there was a very good feeling. Everyone from 1 to 11 – stood up today,” Buttler said after the match.
The England skipper also went on to praise Hales and Chris Jordan for their superb performances.
“Hales used the dimensions well and he has shown his form. He was brilliant today. It’s important to enjoy this, it was a brilliant performance from us. I think we need to give special credit to Jordan, to bowl 3 overs at the death coming into the semi-final, it was a tough job. He handled the pressure towards the end pretty well, especially bowling against a world-class player like Hardik Pandya,” he added.
India captain Rohit Sharma was pretty disappointed after the loss and that was visible during the post-match interview.
“Pretty disappointed how we turned up today. We batted well at the backend to get that score. We were not up to the mark with the ball, we couldn’t turn up today. It’s all about handling the pressure in knockout games. All these guys have played enough to understand that. These guys have played under pressure in IPL games, it’s all about keeping calm. We were nervous to start with, but you got to give credit to their openers, they played really well,” Rohit said.