Hales, Buttler star as England maul India to storm into final

England underline their title contention with a 10-wicket thrashing of India in the semifinal

Sports Deskbdnews24.com
Published : 10 Nov 2022, 08:25 AM
Updated : 10 Nov 2022, 11:09 AM

England openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler stitched a record opening stand to consign India to a 10-wicket defeat and set up a tantalising clash with Pakistan in the final of the T20 World Cup.

England, who won the 50-over World Cup on home soil in 2019, can now become the first team to hold both global trophies in white-ball cricket when they meet Pakistan in Sunday's final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The England pair's unbroken 170-run stand was the biggest in the history of the tournament and sets up a mouthwatering duel against Babar Azam's men, 30 years on from the teams' 50-over World Cup final in 1992 at the MCG which Pakistan, then captained by Imran Khan, won.

England outplayed India in every aspect of the game and raced away to the victory with four overs to spare at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

The duo pummelled the Indian bowlers in the powerplay to rack up 63 runs. Hales (86* off 47 balls) blazed away to his half-century off only 28 deliveries as the Indian fielders began blundering in the outfield, leaking more runs.

With plenty of batsmen to follow, the openers kept their foot on the gas and reached 98 at the halfway mark, proving how prolific the track was at Adelaide as Rohit Sharma was left scratching his head for a way out of the wilderness.

Buttler, who went quiet after Hales took charge of the hitting, hammered Hardik Pandya for a four and a six in successive balls to bring up his half-century off only 36 balls before blitzing his way to an unbeaten 80 off 49 deliveries.

"It certainly feels (a perfect match) against a top quality opposition," said Buttler.

"We came in very excited and there was a good feel around the group ... I thought everyone, from one to 11, stood up today."

For Player-of-the-Match Hales, it was a night of redemption, having missed out on England's 2019 triumph after a recreational drug scandal.

His exile from the England setup lasted more than three years and he was only called up to the squad after Jonny Bairstow was injured in a freak golf accident.

"This will be right up there for sure," said Hales, who has played plenty of domestic T20 cricket in Australia with the Big Bash League.

"It's a huge occasion playing India in the semi-final of a World Cup ... Really happy with the way I played.

"It's a special feeling in a country that I love and I've spent a lot of time here, so tonight is one of the best nights of my career."

Sent in to bat first, Pandya put the England bowling attack to the sword in the late overs and, complemented by another anchoring innings by Virat Kohli, propelled India to a par score of 168 for 6.

Pandya (63 off 33 balls) began slowly by assessing the surface before getting into the groove with 5 sixes and 4 boundaries to light up the Adelaide Oval, but it proved to be too little, too late at the end.

Kohli yet again turned up with a solid 50 off 40 and produced a 61-run stand with Pandya. When Chris Jordan (3-43) took Kohli out, India were poised for some big shots in the last two overs.

Pandya took it upon himself to provide the late flourish by hoisting Sam Curran (0-42) over cover before pulling and flicking Jordan for two more, eventually reaching his half-century off only 29 deliveries.

After helping India blast 47 in the last three overs, Pandya, who takes a stance deep into the crease, knocked off the bails with his feet and was out hit-wicket with the final ball of the innings.

Playing without the service of Mark Wood’s seam support, England managed to subdue India to 38 for 1 in the powerplay with Chris Woakes (1-24) taking out KL Rahul (5) early by extracting some extra bounce from the track.

Rohit Sharma then stitched 47 runs with Kohli for the second wicket before Jordan had the Indian skipper caught in the deep. Adil Rashid snared Suryakumar Yadav (14) and finished a miserly quota of 1-20 to leave India struggling on 73 for 3. Then in came Pandya to provide impetus to the innings.

But the total seemed a tad below par and soon looked piffling as Hales and Buttler went to work, the pair blasting 23 boundaries between them.

"It's pretty disappointing how we turned up today," said India captain Rohit Sharma.

"I thought we still batted pretty well at the back end to get to that score, but we were not good enough with the ball.

"We were not good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team can come and chase it down in 16 overs.

"It's all about executing your plans. If you can't execute, you'd find yourself in trouble."

(Includes input from Reuters)

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