Top knocks from openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler powered England to an emphatic 10-wicket win over India in the second semi-final of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in Australia at Adelaide on Thursday.
With this, the final between England and Pakistan is set. Chasing 169, England openers Jos Buttler and Alex Hales gave their side a powerful start. Both were dealing in fours and sixes from the get-go. India did not get to have a dominating powerplay with the ball as both Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh were smashed around mercilessly.
England breached the 50-run mark in just 4.5 overs. At the end of the powerplay in six overs, England was at 63/0, with Hales (33*) and Buttler (28*) at the crease. Hales soon brought up his half-century in just 28 balls.
At the end of 10 overs, England was at 98/0, with Hales (57*) and Buttler (37*) at the crease. England touched the 100-run mark in 10.1 overs. Buttler also brought up his half-century, his 19th in the format in just 36 balls. The Men in Blue had no answers for the England batting. At the end of 15 overs, England stood at 156/0, with Hales (81*) and Buttler (71*) unbeaten. England finished their innings at 170/0 in 16 overs, with Buttler (80*) and Hales (86*) unbeaten.
Earlier, Hardik Pandya rose to the occasion to play a blazing half-century knock, guiding India to 168/6 against England at the Adelaide Oval in the ongoing T20 World cup on Thursday. Virat Kohli continued his love affair with the Adelaide ground to smash a fifty and held the innings together for the team. Pandya 63 (33) meanwhile applied the finishing touches, and a late flourish from him propelled India to a par score after a slow start.
Electing to field, England could have not asked for a better start as they dismissed KL Rahul in the 2nd over after the batter slashed a boundary over point on the first ball of the innings. The right-hander could not replicate his last match's heroics and could only score 5(5).
The leading run-scorer of the tournament, Virat Kohli walked out to bat and stamped his authority right away by smashing a beautiful six over covers to Chris Woakes on the first ball of the third over.
Captain Rohit Sharma also joined in on the action and smashed two consecutive boundaries to Sam Curran, releasing pressure off the batter. He also got Adil Rashid away for a boundary in the sixth over to take India to 38/1 after the end of the powerplay. India's star batter Kohli continued his aggressive intent and struck Liam Livingstone for a boundary in the seventh over meanwhile, Rohit struggled to put bat to ball.
Pacer Chris Jordan was hit superbly for a boundary over covers by the opener but the bowler had the last laugh as he got rid of him in the same over. Rohit looked to launch the ball in the sky but lost his shape in the process and skied it towards mid-on where Sam Curran took an excellent running catch diving forward to dismiss him for 27(28).
Talismanic batter Suryakumar Yadav occupied the crease and took India to 62/1 at the halfway mark, with the game hanging in balance. All-rounder Ben Stokes came on to bowl his second over only to be smashed for a six and a boundary in the 11th over. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid proved to be the undoing of Suryakumar as the batter looked to hit him over the boundary but could only spoon the ball towards sweeper-cover, where Philip Salt held his nerves to complete the catch and hand England their biggest wicket of the night.
The onus then fell on Kohli and Hardik Pandya to steady the Indian innings and provide it with some stability while making sure the scoring rate does not see a dip. India squeezed in 10 runs from the 14th over and got things going from there on with Kohli getting a boundary in the over.
India were off to a brilliant start in the 17th over as Pandya thumped Curran over covers for a majestic six. Virat and Pandya also ran hard and were lighting quick between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking. The 18th over saw Pandya absolutely breaking free and pushing the accelerator with consecutive sixes off Jordan. Run machine Kohli brought up his fourth fifty of the tournament but was caught at short third man in the same over.
Pacer Sam Curran was at the receiving end of Pandya in the 19th over as he was taken apart by the batter for two fours and a six, in the process bringing up his fifty off just 29 balls. The final over yielded 12 runs courtesy of Pandya with India ending the inning at 168/6. Chris Jordan was the pick of the bowlers, clinching three wickets while giving away 43 runs.
Brief Score: India 168/6 (Hardik Pandya 63, Virat Kohli 50; Chris Jordan 3-43) vs England.