The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final will be between Pakistan and England after England defeated India by 10 wickets on Thursday thanks to the magnificent unbeaten half-centuries by Alex Hales and Jos Buttler.
With four overs remaining in the second semi-final in Adelaide, Hales struck seven sixes in his 86 and Butler hit three in a mesmerizing batting display to easily advance to Sunday’s final in Melbourne. India reached 168-6 thanks to Hardik Pandya’s 33-ball 63, while England, chasing their second T20 championship after their 2010 triumph, found the total lacking in the face of an outstanding opening duo.
In the first over of their chase, England’s captain Butler hammered Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries, and his team never looked back. As England sped to 63-0 in six overs, he continued the onslaught with the bat, and Hales quickly joined the big-hitting party.
As the match was ripped away from India by a barrage of sixes and fours, Hales hit his 50 off 28 balls and was harsh on Axar Patel, who lost 28 runs in his three overs. 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.
Earlier, Virat Kohli reached his fourth half-century of the competition and added 61 runs to the fourth wicket partnership with Hardik Pandya. In the final three overs, Pandya shredded the opposition’s assault, taking 57 wickets, including 20 off one from Sam Curran.
However, after a sluggish start with the bat against some disciplined England bowling and a shoddy fielding effort, it turned out to be too little, too late.
Mark Wood was injured, so Chris Jordan filled in for him and took three wickets. KL Rahul started India’s innings with a thunderous boundary off Ben Stokes after England invited them to bat. Rahul was caught behind by a rising delivery from pitcher Chris Woakes for five.
After a tough start, Rohit Sharma blasted four boundaries as he and Virat Kohli tried to rally. However, Jordan broke through in his first over and broke up their 43-run partnership when Sharma mistimed it to beyond long-on with the score at 57. Suryakumar Yadav hit a six and a four off Ben Stokes, but he eventually lost the match for 14 to Adil Rashid’s leg-spin.
With a boundary off Liam Livingstone, Kohli reached 4,000 runs in T20 international matches and brought India’s total up to 100-3 after 15 overs. With 296 runs, Kohli is in first place in the tournament’s batting order. Kohli reached 50 off 39 balls before being caught by Rashid off Jordan’s next delivery, who made a fine catch at short third man. Prior to stepping on his stumps and being out by a wicket off Jordan’s penultimate delivery of the innings, Pandya hit four fours and five sixes.
Rohit Sharma explains India’s semifinal loss: “I’m somewhat dissatisfied with how it came out today. To achieve that result, we batted well in the later innings. We couldn’t show up today since we weren’t proficient enough with the ball. In knockout games, it’s all about managing the pressure. These guys have all played enough games to comprehend that. These players have experience playing under pressure in IPL games; the key is to remain composed. We were a little nervous at first, but their openers played pretty well, so you have to give them credit for that. The first over seemed to swing a little, but not in the appropriate places, in my opinion. We were aware that runs are scored directly off the wicket. Our first game victory showed a lot of character.”
Morgan on England’s win: “It’s crucial that England take some time to appreciate their accomplishments today by taking a moment to relax and smell the roses. Then put an end to it and take what happened tonight to Melbourne. Jos is probably the hardest batsman in cricket to bowl at right now because of his form. His England team has displayed a tremendous amount of character..”
Jos Buttler on England’s win: “Since our defeat to Ireland, I think we have displayed incredible character. We were quite eager to arrive here, and the atmosphere was wonderful. From 1 to 11 people stepped up today. We always aim for a quick and forceful opening. Rashid was batting at position eleven; knowing that we have such depth is amazing. Hales made good use of the proportions and demonstrated his strength. Today he was brilliant. It’s vital to take in this; we gave a terrific performance. It was a difficult job for Jordan to bowl three overs at the very end of the game before the semi-final, therefore I believe he deserves extra credit. He did a good job of handling the pressure at the finish, especially when bowling against a player of this calibre.”.
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