England rout India by 10 wickets to reach T20 World Cup final

MELBOURNE, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Alex Hales and captain Jos Buttler shone in an unbroken opening partnership as a ruthless England humiliated India by 10 wickets at Adelaide Oval on Thursday to surge into the final of the Twenty20 World Cup.

England, who won the 50-year-old World Cup on home soil in 2019, can now become the first team to hold both white-ball cricket world trophies when they face Pakistan in Sunday’s final in Melbourne Cricket Ground.

They rehabilitated fly-half Hales and skipper Buttler to thank as the pair chased 169 for the win with four overs to spare, leaving a huge crowd of stunned Indian fans.

Hales finished on 86 paces, and Buttler, who was undefeated on 80, completed the win in style, blasting pacemaker Mohammed Shami over his head for six.

For Hales it was particularly enjoyable, having missed out on England’s 2019 triumph after a recreational drug scandal.

His exile from the English setup lasted over three years and he was only called up to the team after Jonny Bairstow was injured in a freak golf accident.

“It’ll be up there for sure,” said Hales, who has played a lot of T20 domestic cricket in Australia with the Big Bash League.

“It’s a huge opportunity to play India in the semi-finals of a World Cup… I’m really happy with the way I played.

“It’s a special feeling in a country I love and I’ve spent a lot of time here so tonight is one of the best nights of my career.”

The English pair’s 170-point stand was their team’s biggest in tournament history and set up a tantalizing duel against Pakistan, 30 years after the 1992 50-team World Cup final at the MCG that the Pakistan won.

“It’s definitely (a perfect match) against high quality opposition,” Buttler said.

“We arrived very excited and there was a good vibe around the group…I thought everyone from one to 11 got up today.”

After Buttler won the toss and put India to bat, his bowlers did well to restrain India early but Hardik Pandya (63) and Virat Kohli (50) helped the South Asians recover from a slow start to post 168 for six.

It seemed an arguable total, but Buttler and Hales did light work of taking England to 63 for no loss at the end of the power play and then to 98 at the halfway point.

“It’s quite disappointing how we got here today,” said India captain Rohit Sharma.

“I thought we still hit well enough from the back to get this score, but we weren’t good enough with the ball.

“We weren’t good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team can come and chase it in 16 overs.

“It’s about executing your plans. If you can’t execute, you’ll find yourself in trouble.”

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Ken Ferris and Alision Williams

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