India’s T20 World Cup campaign is over.
England captain Jos Buttler and opening partner Alex Hales combined for a record-breaking partnership at Adelaide Oval on Thursday evening to comprehensively knock India out of the tournament and book their spot in the final against Pakistan — a repeat of the 1992 Cricket World Cup final.
The duo combined for an unbeaten 170-run opening stand, a record in Men’s T20 World Cup tournaments, to chase the target with 24 balls to spare and silence the partisan Indian crowd of 40,094.
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It was a ruthless demolition from Buttler (80 not out off 49 balls) and Hales (86 not out off 47 balls), making India’s classy bowling attack look pedestrian.
If ever there was a perfect T20 batting performance, this was it.
“You couldn’t ask for a better runchase,” Buttler declared after the win.
“I ummed and aahed over the toss, but gut feel said to chase today.
“We’ve seen quite a lot of Pakistan recently; they’ve found some great form. At the moment we’re just excited to be in the final. We had the stress of trying to get through the group stages and now we’re in the final..”
Earlier, all-rounder Hardik Pandya guided India towards a defendable total of 6/168 with an entertaining cameo at the death, smacking 63 from 33 balls.
The 29-year-old slapped four boundaries and five sixes, reaching his half-century in just 29 deliveries as India registered 88 runs from their last seven overs.
Indian superstar Virat Kohli scored a patient half-century at the other end, while England leg-spinner Adil Rashid was superb with figures of 1/20 from four overs.
Buttler and Hales got England’s run chase off to an explosive start, cracking 63 runs in the Powerplay to leave the Indians shell-shocked.
Hales, the Big Bash League’s highest-ever overseas run-scorer, f reached his fifty in 28 deliveries in the seventh over, while Buttler passed the minor milestone in 36 balls just after the drinks break.
India’s spinners failed to stem the flow of runs, with Hales repeatedly sweeping the tweakers over the square leg boundary rope.
Respected broadcaster Harsha Bhogle, the undisputed voice of Indian cricket, compared the massacre to two boxers from different weight divisions facing off in the ring.
“This isn’t just an aggressive innings — this is an assault,” SEN commentator Bharat Sundaresan said.
Former Australian paceman Damien Fleming continued: “This is experienced, destructive T20 batting from England. They’re not allowing India to settle.”
The tens of thousands of Indian supporters at Adelaide Oval fell silent as England’s required net run rate plummeted, eventually falling below a run per ball.
India’s bowlers seemingly had no answers — yorkers were pushed into gaps and short balls were attacked towards the boundary.
To rub salt into the wounds, Indian batter Suryakumar Yadav put down a tough catch in the outfield in the 14th over, parrying the Kookaburra for four and gifting Buttler an extra life on 66.
Some Indian supporters were seen heading towards the gates after the botched chance.
The English skipper cemented the victory with a powerful straight drive for six, roaring with delight as his teammates celebrated in the dugout.
“What a statement from England and their openers,” former England captain Nasser Hussain cried in commentary.
“The mighty India, with all the T20 cricket they play, have been taken down, and taken down in some style.”
Highest partnerships in Men’s T20 World Cups
170* — Jos Buttler, Alex Hales (ENG), 2022
168 — Quinton de Kock, Rilee Rossouw (SA), 2022
166 — Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (SL), 2010
152* — Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (PAK), 2021
152 — Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan (ENG), 2014
Player of the Match Hales, who had been black-listed from representing his country for three years after a series of off-field misdemeanours, was asked in the post-match presentation whether it was a perfect T20 innings.
“It would be right up there for sure,” he responded.
“A huge occasion, India in the semi final of the World Cup. I’m really happy with the way I played — it’s as special as it gets.”
Indian captain Rohit Sharma sheepishly conceded after the 10-wicket defeat: “We didn’t turn up with the ball today”.
“You’ve got to give credit to their openers as well, they played really well,” he continued.
“We wanted to keep attacking the stumps. We looked at Adelaide Oval and where the runs are scored. Square of the wicket is what we were quite aware of, and that’s where all of the runs went today. That’s something that didn’t happen for us today, and that’s a little disappointing.”
England will face Pakistan in the T20 World Cup final at the MCG on Sunday evening, with the first ball scheduled for 7pm AEDT.
It will England coach Matthew Mott’s second World Cup final at the iconic venue, having led the Australian women’s team to the title two years ago.