World T20: England roar into final with 10-wicket mauling of India
England 170 for 0 (Hales 86*, Buttler 80*) beat India 168 for 6 (Hardik 63, Kohli 50, Jordan 3-43) by 10 wickets
Openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales overcame a feverish India-supporting atmosphere and chased 169 without the loss of a wicket.
They romped home with a massive 24 balls to spare to set up a final against Pakistan on Sunday and seal one of England’s greatest white-ball wins.
Hales ended 86 not out from 47 and Buttler unbeaten on 80 from 49, the England skipper clinching the match with the pair’s 10th six.
Earlier, England’s bowlers had restricted India well before Hardik Pandya’s 63 from 33 balls powered his side to what had looked like a testing score.
But Hales, recalled after more than three years in the international wilderness, gave England a rapid start and Buttler took on the onslaught.
It denies the tournament what would have been a mouth-watering India-Pakistan finale, instead ensuring a repeat of the famous 1992 50-over World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
England roar into Sunday’s final
This was supposed to be the night India joined their great rivals in what would have been one of the great sporting finals.
A frenzied crowd was expectant but by the end, a small pocket of England fans were jubilant, the quietened India supporters drifting away.
England’s bowling effort, without Mark Wood because of injury and up against India’s batting line-up of superstars, was tidy and disciplined, until they were knocked off course by Hardik’s late blitz.
The batting was simply stunning.
Buttler settled any nerves by taking three fours from the first over before he and Hales dispatched both pace and spin in seemingly effortless fashion.
As the final, imperious strike cleared long-on, Buttler whipped off his helmet and roared with delight.
A campaign that was floundering after defeat by Ireland two weeks ago could now end in glory.
Pakistan have produced their own remarkable recovery to reach the showpiece but were beaten 4-3 by England in a T20 series in their own backyard last month.
Bowlers restrict before Hardik’s onslaught
Without the wicket-taking threat of Wood’s searing pace, England fought well to restrict India in the early stages.
Chris Woakes got one to rise off a length and take KL Rahul’s edge in the second over, Rohit Sharma was caught at deep mid-wicket off Chris Jordan for 27 off 28 balls and when dangerman Suryakumar Yadav was taken at deep point off Adil Rashid for 14, India were 75-3 in the 12th over.
Kohli’s first boundary was a glorious drive for six over extra cover but the former captain was unable to find top gear, Rashid particularly effective through the middle with a four-over spell that cost only 20.
Kohli eventually fell at the end of the 18th, caught by the diving Rashid at short third off Jordan.
Hardik then hit back-to-back sixes off Jordan in the 18th – one a short ball pummelled over mid-wicket and the next a full ball sensationally flicked off his pads – before helping take 22 from the penultimate over bowled by Curran.
Eighty runs came from the last seven overs and 47 from the final three but in truth had Hardik added another 30, it would not have been enough. (BBC)