Sydney: Alex Hales and Jos Buttler smashed mesmerizing fifties to thrash a listless India by ten wickets in the second semifinal of the Men’s T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Hales hit 86 not out off 47 balls while Buttler smacked an unbeaten 80 off 49 balls to chase down 168/6 by India in style with four overs remaining.
With a dominating win, England will now face Pakistan in the final of the tournament at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, 30 years after the two teams met in the 1992 ODI World Cup final at the very same venue.
India were off their lengths and did not offer any challenge to the opening pair of Hales and Buttler, who put them under pressure from the word go. Moreover, they were more than sloppy in the field, thus being comprehensively outplayed and hammered by England in all departments of the game.
In the chase of 169, Buttler knew that Bhuvneshwar Kumar was going to be his biggest threat in the opening over. To counter the pacer, he walked down and moved across to let his hands do the talking by taking three fours in the opening over.
Buttler would take a brace of fours off Arshdeep Singh and Axar Patel through the off-side while Hales hammered a six over cover off Bhuvneshwar as England matched India’s power-play total in just 3.2 overs.
Hales was the more aggressive of the two, thumping Mohammed Shami over mid-off for six and got an outer edge running past keeper for four. Axar came under more attack as Hales and Buttler hit him for a six and four respectively to sign off from power-play unscathed.
Post power-play, Hales stepped up the attack against Indian spinners – sweeping Ravichandran Ashwin for six and rocked back to hammer Axar over deep mid-wicket for another maximum to get his fifty by the end of eighth over.
Hales then brought up the century of the opening stand by pulling Hardik Pandya for a six over deep mid-wicket and followed it up with another six by slog-sweeping off Ashwin. Buttler ramped Pandya over fine leg for four and got his fifty with a pulled six over deep square leg.
Buttler then hit Shami for two fours and a six in the 14th over, where he also got a reprieve as mid-off failed to take the catch and parried the ball to boundary rope. Fittingly, Buttler finished off the innings in style by dispatching Shami over long-on for a majestic six to enter the final.
Brief Scores: India 168/6 in 20 overs (Hardik Pandya 63, Virat Kohli 50; Chris Jordan 3/43, Adil Rashid 1/20) lost to England 170/0 in 16 overs (Alex Hales 86 not out, Jos Buttler 80 not out) by ten wickets