T20 World Cup: Hales and Buttler let loose as England reach final in style

By Sports Desk November 10, 2022

Alex Hales and Jos Buttler delivered an exceptional batting display as England cruised into the T20 World Cup final with a 10-wicket defeat of India.

Hales (86 not out) and Buttler (80 not out) put on a T20 World Cup record partnership of 170 on Thursday to claim an emphatic victory and tee up a showdown with Pakistan.

England elected to field first at the Adelaide Oval and had India tied up at 75-3 inside 11.2 overs, Adil Rashid (1-20) clinching the key wicket of in-form Suryakumar Yadav (14).

India dug deep as Virat Kohli, who had previously scored five centuries in Adelaide, became the first player to hit 4,000 T20I runs and Hardik Pandya exploded at the other end to guide them to 168-6.

Kohli was dismissed just after making 50, caught brilliantly by Rashid from the bowling of Chris Jordan, who took 3-43 on his return in Mark Wood's absence.

Hardik picked up the slack in the final few overs, with his wonderful 63 from 33 deliveries coming to an end when he stood on his own wickets from the last ball of the innings.

Yet any India momentum was swiftly halted as Buttler and Hales bludgeoned their way to 63 by the end of the powerplay.

Hales then found another gear, rattling to a 28-ball 50, and India had no answer to England's on-song openers.

Buttler, having smacked a huge six down the ground, was dropped by Yadav, with the ball trickling to the boundary to compound India's misery, and England had a place in the final secured with four overs to spare when their captain sent Mohammed Shami for six to wrap up an outstanding win.

Hales' comeback complete

It has been a long road back for Hales, who was banned after testing positive for a recreational drug in 2019. 

Having replaced the injured Jonny Bairstow for this tournament, Hales has been sensational in Australia and on Thursday turned in one of the all-time great performances to make up for lost time. He became the third England player, after Jos Butler, and Eoin Morgan, to register 2,000 T20I runs.

Buttler brilliance sets up MCG rematch

While Kohli and Hardik let loose late on, Buttler's captaincy must be lauded, with England having limited their opponents for much of their innings.

Buttler, now onto 19 T20I half-centuries, then delivered with the bat, fittingly finishing the job with a sublime shot.

After falling short in the semi-finals against New Zealand last year, England will face Pakistan in Melbourne, 30 years on from a World Cup final between the nations at the same venue.

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