ADELAIDE: England defeated India by 10 wickets on Thursday to advance to the Twenty20 World Cup final against Pakistan after Alex Hales and Jos Buttler both smashed magnificent unbeaten half-centuries. When chasing 169 for a win in the second semi-final in Adelaide, Hales smacked seven sixes in his 86, and Buttler, who scored 80, struck three in a mesmerizing batting display to easily advance to Sunday’s final in Melbourne with four overs to spare. The England-Ireland shocker earlier in the tournament was a long cry from this. India reached 168-6 thanks to Hardik Pandya’s 33-ball 63, but England, chasing their second T20 championship after their 2010 victory, found the total to be insufficient.
In the first over of their chase, England skipper Buttler hammered Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries, and his team never looked back. He persisted in his relentless batting assault, and Hales quickly joined the big-hitting party as England sped to 63-0 in only six overs. Hales hit his 50 off 28 balls and was harsh with Axar Patel, who let up 28 runs in his three overs as the match was ripped away from India by a barrage of sixes and fours. With another six off Pandya, Hales increased the team’s score to 100, and Buttler quickly adjusted his pace to catch up with his partner.
The captain put an end to any expectations that India would try to break their global championship drought since their Champions Trophy victory in 2013, as he completed his fifty with a six and a four off Pandya. He appropriately smashed the go-ahead six off Mohammed Shami to set up a rematch of the 1992 Pakistan vs. England 50-over World Cup final, which Pakistan won.
Before Pandya ripped through the opposition’s attack in the last overs, taking 57 off the final three overs, including 20 off one-off Sam Curran, Virat Kohli reached his fourth half-century of the tournament and put on a 61-run fourth-wicket partnership. But it turned out to be too little, too late after a slow start with the bat against some disciplined England bowling and a shoddy fielding effort. Rohit Sharma, the team’s captain, said, “It’s very disheartening how we turned up today. Mark Wood was injured, so Chris Jordan replaced him and took three wickets. India was given the opportunity to bat by England, and KL Rahul got things going with a spectacular boundary off Ben Stokes. Rahul was caught behind by rising delivery from pitcher Chris Woakes for a score of five.
After a shaky start, skipper Rohit Sharma blasted four boundaries as he and Kohli tried to recover. However, Jordan broke through in his first over and terminated a 43-run partnership when Sharma mistimed to beyond long-on with the score at 57.
Suryakumar Yadav hit a six and a four off Ben Stokes but eventually lost the match to Adil Rashid’s leg spin for 14. With a boundary off Liam Livingstone, Kohli reached 4,000 runs in T20 international matches and brought India’s total after 15 overs to 100-3. With 296 runs, Kohli is in first place in the tournament’s batting order. Kohli scored 50 off 39 balls before being caught by Rashid off Jordan’s next delivery with a fine catch at short third man. Before stepping on his stumps and being caught by Jordan’s final ball of the innings, Pandya hit four fours and five sixes.