New Zealand suffered a heartbreaking defeat to England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup final but they have a chance to gain a measure of revenge on Wednesday.

England were crowned 50-over world champions at Lord's in the most dramatic fashion, with a Super Over needed to finally separate the two teams in a thriller.

The Black Caps and England do battle in the semi-final of the T20 World Cup at Zayed Cricket Stadium after qualifying from the Super 12 stage along with Pakistan and Australia.

England have won six of the past nine T20Is against New Zealand, including another Super-Over triumph in their last meeting in November 2019.

They have also won three of their past four T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, one of those coming in a semi-final five years ago.

The top-ranked side in the world will have to do without explosive opening batsman Jason Roy, who joined paceman Tymal Mills on the injury list when he suffered a torn calf in the loss to South Africa on Saturday.

New Zealand took second place in Group 2 by beating Afghanistan on Sunday, their fourth win in a row after starting with a defeat to Pakistan.

Stats Perform looks at selection decisions to be made in Abu Dhabi and pick out who might be the key players in a blockbuster last-four showdown.

Jos Buttler took his magnificent T20 World Cup campaign to new heights with his first international century in the shortest format as England made it four wins from four by defeating Sri Lanka.

Buttler's stunning 32-ball 71 lifted England to a dominant victory against Australia on Saturday and he reached another level in Sharjah two days later as one of the tournament favourites further cemented their position at the top of Group 1 to stand on the brink of the semi-finals.

They ultimately prevailed by 26 runs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 137, a margin of victory that appeared unlikely as England laboured to 36-3 during the powerplay and were 47-3 after 10 overs.

But the ability of Buttler and previously out-of-form captain Eoin Morgan (40) to manage the situation on a tricky pitch turned the game in England's favour, the wicketkeeper-batsman hitting the gas with a devastating display of hitting for a 67-ball 101 that ensured their 163-4 was beyond Sri Lanka despite the best efforts of the excellent Wanindu Hasaranga (34) - who also took 3-21.

Jason Roy (9), Dawid Malan (6) and Jonny Bairstow (0) all failed to get going for England but, having withstood pressure from the Sri Lanka attack, Morgan and Buttler turned the tide emphatically.

Lahiru Kumara (0-44) was Sri Lanka's most expensive bowler and was brutally bludgeoned in a 15th over that went for 22 -  including three sixes - and Sri Lanka never looked like wresting control back thereafter.

Morgan was eventually dismissed as he became Hasaranga's 50th T20I victim, but Buttler could not be denied his hundred, which came off the last ball of the innings with his sixth maximum as a full toss on leg stump was dispatched in style.

Hasaranga's stand of 53 with captain Dasun Shanaka (26) kept Sri Lanka in the hunt but their chances essentially evaporated with some stunning fielding from Roy. 

Roy performed heroics at the long-off boundary to flick the ball to Sam Billings before falling over the rope to dismiss Hasaranga. In fourth place with two points, Sri Lanka's hopes of progress are hanging by a thread, but England can begin to start thinking about the semi-finals.

Buttler's historic innings

Buttler became the fourth English men's batter to score a T20I hundred and, in doing so, joined Heather Knight as only the second England cricketer to record a century in all three international formats.

Morgan leads the way

This was Morgan's 43rd win as captain, the most by a skipper in T20I cricket, taking him past MS Dhoni and Ashgar Afghan. The only blemish for Morgan was a quad injury for fast bowler Tymal Mills.

Liam Livingstone hailed Jos Buttler as "the best hitter of a white ball in the world" after he blasted England to an eight-wicket T20 World Cup thrashing of Australia.

England moved to the brink of the semi-finals with a third crushing victory in three games, demolishing their great rivals at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.

The bowlers once again set up a statement win, Chris Woakes (2-23) outstanding with the new ball as Australia could only post 125 all out.

It might have been much worse for Australia, as they slumped to 21-4 in the seventh over, but captain Aaron Finch hung in there with 44 before Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc provided the sort of lusty blows the top order failed to come up with.

Chris Jordan (3-17), Adil Rashid (1-19) and Livingstone (1-15) were also outstanding in another near flawless performance from Eoin Morgan's side in the field, with the in-form Moeen Ali not called upon to bowl.

Buttler then took centre stage with an explosive 71 not out from 32 deliveries as England reached their target with 50 balls to spare, going two points clear at the top of Group 1 with a far superior net run-rate to their rivals.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler struck five huge sixes as he took the Australia attack apart and Livingstone lapped up a masterclass from his team-mate.

He told Sky Sports: "It was a pleasure watching that Jos innings, the bowlers have been phenomenal, and Mo's been our best bowler and hasn't even bowled today.

"We have great depth in our line-up, then a pleasure to watch genius at work [Buttler]. He's the best hitter of a white ball in the world. A clinic of white-ball hitting."

Finch also doffed his cap to Buttler and vowed that wounded Australia will regroup after dropping below South Africa into third place.

"When we lost a few wickets in the powerplay, we had to hang in there, get to a total we thought would be defendable if we got it right with the ball," Finch said.

"Woakes is a brilliant exponent when there's seam early. We had to bowl them out, no issues there, but Buttler played a hell of an innings.

"We got off to a poor start, but a couple of days off to recharge, we'll dust ourselves off and come back for Bangladesh."

Jos Buttler blasted a brutal unbeaten half-century as England thrashed fierce rivals Australia by eight wickets to stand on the brink of the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Both sides came into the showdown at Dubai International Stadium on Saturday with two wins from two, but it was England who made a huge statement to go two points clear at the top of Group 1.

Australia were all out for 125 off their 20 overs after being reduced to 21-4 in the seventh over, Chris Woakes (2-23) setting the tone for another brilliant performance in the field from Eoin Morgan's side.

Chris Jordan (3-17), Adil Rashid (1-19) and Liam Livingstone (1-15) also bowled superbly as only Aaron Finch (44 from 49 balls) made a notable contribution after Morgan put Australia in.

Tymal Mills was expensive with 2-45 from his four overs as only a late flurry of runs got Australia from deep in the mire to three figures, with the in-form Moeen Ali not called upon to bowl by Morgan.

England made light work of chasing down their target as Buttler produced a masterclass, smashing 71 not out off only 32 deliveries.

Buttler and Jason Roy (22) put on 66 for the first wicket from 6.2 overs as the Australia bowlers came in for some painful treatment, with England's wicketkeeper-batsman and Jonny Bairstow finishing off the job with 50 balls to spare.

A third resounding win leaves England in command of Group 1 with a huge net run-rate, while Australia drop below South Africa into third place.

 

Australia rocked by Woakes wizardry

Woakes got England off to a dream start, getting David Warner caught behind with his second delivery and trapping Glenn Maxwell in front after leaping to take a fine one-handed catch to send Steve Smith on his way.

Australia were in deep trouble at 21-4 in the seventh over when Rashid snared Marcus Stoinis lbw without scoring and Livingstone was also outstanding, sending Matthew Wade on his way.

Ashton Agar chipped in with 20 off as many balls and Pat Cummins struck his first two balls from Mills for six, but he was bowled by Jordan, who had Finch well caught in the deep by Bairstow off the previous delivery in the penultimate over.

 

Brilliant Buttler makes Australia suffer 

Buttler and Roy got England's run chase off to a flyer, racking up the most runs in the powerplay in the tournament with 66.

Adam Zampa came on to get Roy lbw before Buttler raised his bat after scoring the joint-fastest half-century in the tournament from 25 balls with a six off Australia's premier spinner.

The Australia bowlers had no answer to the class of Buttler, who produced an exhibition of clean striking, hitting five sixes and as many fours.

Jos Buttler promised England would take a united stand against racism before their T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh – after South Africa's Quinton de Kock refused to take the knee.

De Kock was conspicuous by his absence from South Africa's team for their victory against West Indies.

An initial announcement that he missed the game for personal reasons was followed by a fuller explanation, after it became abundantly clear why De Kock was playing no part.

Cricket South Africa had ordered their players to take the knee before the remainder of their games in the tournament, and such a demand did not sit right with the wicketkeeper-batsman. South Africa said the 28-year-old made himself unavailable.

The anti-racism gesture, linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, is one the England team have embraced previously, and Buttler said there would be a team-wide message sent out ahead of their next match too.

Asked about the De Kock situation, and whether England would be taking a knee on Wednesday, Buttler told a news conference: "Yeah, I think our position as a team is we stand against any form of discrimination.

"What we would like to do as a team is take a moment of unity which we did at times during our summer. We all need to reciprocate the opposition. West Indies like to take a knee, so we wanted to reciprocate that in the first game.

"But yeah, hopefully we can make some form at the start. But as a side and our culture as a team, we of course stand against any form of discrimination, and we are very passionate about that."

There is no suggestion De Kock has taken his stance for any reason other than believing there should be a right to choose how and when to oppose racism. He has in the past refused to take the knee, saying the reason for doing so was "my own personal opinion". He may be asked to expand on that in light of being absent from Tuesday's World Cup game.

Buttler was asked whether it was the job of cricket boards to impose such demands on players, and said: "I'm not sure, to be honest. I can only speak about myself and our team. I think it's something we feel strongly about. It's an important part of our culture as a team, and that's all I can say on that."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter that it should be "down to the individual" and that a player should not be kept out of games for refusing to engage with such movements.

Whether England take the knee or not against Bangladesh may depend on what stance the opposition consider most appropriate.

Asked whether he knew exactly what gesture England would make, Buttler said: "No, I don't. I think it's something we'd like to do as a team. I think you have to get some clearance from the ICC [International Cricket Council] for that, as well.

"It's something we would like to do as a team, but I don't know the specifics behind it at the moment."

Jos Buttler said England have their "fingers crossed" that the fifth Test against India will go ahead at Old Trafford after the tourists were hit by a new COVID-19 case.

A member of India's support staff, reported by the Times of India to be a junior physio, has tested positive for coronavirus, and the team did not appear for a net session or hold a news conference on Thursday.

On the eve of the match, the last in a series in which India hold a 2-1 lead, it remained to be seen whether there could be an issue with it going ahead as scheduled.

India do not want to concede the match, yet this is the latest case in their camp, after head coach Ravi Shastri and two members of his staff also tested positive and were sidelined during the fourth Test at The Oval.

England wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler said: "At present we're fully expecting the game to go ahead. We're preparing to play tomorrow and fingers crossed the game will go ahead.

"Things are all fine in our camp and we trained well this morning so, hopefully, we're looking forward to the game tomorrow."

The Oval defeat for England came as India carved through the hosts' batting line-up on the final day, reducing them from 100-0 to 210 all out, earning a 157-run success.

"It was a fantastic Test match for the neutrals," said Buttler, who missed the game as his wife gave birth. "The team played some brilliant cricket for large parts of that game but couldn't quite get it done.

"As a group we're determined to win this Test match and level this series. Spirits are high and so it's one last big push this summer for a must-win game for us."

England have a proud Old Trafford record against India to defend, having never lost in the nine matches the teams have contested at the ground. England have four wins and five draws in their head-to-head, winning by an innings and 54 runs when the teams last played in Manchester, in August 2014.

An Old Trafford draw in 1990 featured the first Test century of Sachin Tendulkar's stellar career, the then 17-year-old making 119 not out in the fourth innings of the contest.

 

BUTTLER SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Buttler made a Test ton against India at Trent Bridge three years ago, and a return to that level of form would be welcome after a run of low scores, with 25 his highest across five Test innings in this series.

"I haven't played my best by a long stretch," Buttler said. "I think I've felt like that the whole season. It's on yourself as a player to put the work in, to train hard and make some runs.

"I've been working hard on that and that's the challenge of the game: can you do the work to give yourself the best chance to perform in the middle?"

For the Lancashire player, home advantage may help in the coming days.

ANDERSON COULD TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Another player relishing the chance to shine at his county ground will be James Anderson, England's evergreen paceman.

The 39-year-old has 15 wickets at an average of 24.66 so far in this series, and Buttler is confident Anderson and fellow quick Ollie Robinson will be raring to go after a heavy Oval workload.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and bowled fantastically well," said Buttler. "They've rightfully taken rest in the few days since the last game.

"But they seem to be pulling up well. Jimmy is a fantastically fit guy who looks after himself and Ollie's exactly the same. Fingers crossed they'll both be in good shape and available for selection."

Robinson has a series-high 21 wickets at 21.33, and his contribution could be important as England target a fourth straight win in Tests at Old Trafford. 

The last and only time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue was a four-match span from July 2006 to June 2010. England have not lost consecutive home Tests against India since June 1986, which was the first time that had occurred.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– India last won a Test series against England, in England, in 2007. To deny them, England will be chasing a win that would be their 50th in men's Tests against India. They have passed that landmark against three other Test teams previously: 110 wins against Australia, 64 against South Africa and 51 against West Indies.

– England have not lost back-to-back men's home Tests since July 2008, when South Africa were the opposition.

– India captain Virat Kohli is 40 away from becoming the fifth player to score 2,000 runs in men's Tests between England and India (Tendulkar – 2,535, Sunil Gavaskar – 2,483, Alastair Cook – 2,431 and Joe Root – 2,353); however, Kohli's Test batting average (43.6) against England is his second lowest against any country (43.3 v West Indies).

– England skipper Root (1,455 in 2021) is 27 away from recording the most runs in men's Tests by an England player in a calendar year (Michael Vaughan – 1,481 in 2002).

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has returned to England's squad for the fifth and final Test against India, which starts at Old Trafford on Friday.

Buttler missed the fourth Test, a 157-run loss to India at The Oval, to be present at the birth of his second child.

Jonny Bairstow took over wicketkeeping duties in Buttler's absence as England went 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Sam Billings, who was included in the squad for the fourth Test squad as cover for Bairstow, has now returned to Kent.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach is also named in the 16-man party for the match.

He was in England's squad for the first two Tests against India but not selected, and has not featured in a Test match since March.

Leach would give England captain Joe Root another spin option alongside Moeen Ali.

Fast bowler Mark Wood, who has returned from a shoulder injury, and left-arm seamer Sam Curran, dropped for the fourth Test, are both available.

England coach Chris Silverwood acknowledged that, with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson having toiled at The Oval, he may need to freshen up a fatigued attack.

"We have got some aching bodies, I'm not going to deny that," Silverwood said.

"So we obviously have to keep an eye on that. He [Wood] could come back and if he does, he will obviously add that pace for us.

"If the pitch is abrasive as it usually is at Old Trafford there should be reverse swing."

Lancashire seamer Anderson, England's record wicket-taker, would be loathe to miss out on playing at his home ground.

Silverwood acknowledged that with a short turnaround between Tests he will need to have a discussion with the 39-year-old over his fitness. 

"James knows his own body. He will certainly give me an honest opinion of where he is at, and it's certainly something I will listen to," Silverwood explained.

"It'll be a discussion that he and I will have together. He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt.

"I know what it's like, he won't want to miss any cricket. We have to make sure we look after him.

"Although there is a gap between the final Test and what's in front of him, he's certainly someone I want to make sure is looked after."

England squad for the fifth Test against India at Old Trafford:  Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

England will change a winning team for the fourth Test against India, with Jonny Bairstow taking over wicketkeeping duties from the absent Jos Buttler.

Buttler is skipping the Oval clash as he and his wife await the birth of their second child, meaning batsman Bairstow will take the gloves, and England have called in Sam Billings as cover.

It means at least one change will be made to the XI that beat India by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley to square the series, and it appears likely Ollie Pope will be the beneficiary, coming in to fortify the middle order in a match that gets under way on Thursday.

Chris Woakes is another option for head coach Chris Silverwood, who has recalled the Warwickshire all-rounder after he recovered from a heel injury.

Paceman Mark Wood also comes into contention, as he shows signs of recovering well from the shoulder injury that kept him out of the Headingley match, but Saqib Mahmood has been released to Lancashire duty.

Silverwood said: "It is very pleasing that we have Chris Woakes returning to the Test squad. He has bowled well over the past week with Warwickshire without any real concerns with his heel injury.

"He is an asset we have been missing both with the ball and his ability to score runs in the middle order. We are looking forward to seeing him prepare at The Oval as we go into back-to-back Tests.

"Mark Wood is making excellent recovery from his jarred right shoulder. He bowled in the middle on the last day at Headingley with our bowling coach Jon Lewis and was starting to get through his spells pain-free.

"For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series.

"We would like to wish Jos and his family all the very best for the impending birth of their second child. Unfortunately, he will miss this Test, and we'll then see if he returns for the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

"Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties, which he is relishing. As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over from Jos and the ability to score crucial runs in the middle order if called upon.

"Sam Billings, who was in the Test squad for the New Zealand series earlier this summer, returns as reserve keeper. He understands how we want to approach our cricket and is a popular member of the group. He will fit in well with the rest of the group."

The absence of Buttler means England lose their vice-captain, and his replacement in that role has not yet been specified.

 

England squad for the fourth Test against India at The Oval: Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

England took complete control of their third Test with India after bowling out their opponents for just 78 on day one at Headingley and replying with 120-0.

The tourists, leading 1-0 in the series and seeking back-to-back Test wins in England for just a second time, were wiped out in just over 40 overs after electing to bat first.

Virat Kohli's side surrendered their last six wickets for 30 and England made a more-that-steady start to their reply by the end of play on Wednesday thanks to Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.

Star man James Anderson got England off to a flier as he picked up three wickets for the loss of six runs in his opening spell of eight overs, dismissing KL Rahul (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Kohli (7) in quick succession.

India were in trouble at 21-3 and, while they were given temporary respite by Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, the latter was soon sent packing by Ollie Robinson for 18. 

Robinson picked up from where he left off after lunch with the wicket of Rishabh Pant, who edged straight into the hands of Jos Buttler for just two runs.

That was Buttler's fifth catch and England were not finished there as Craig Overton, in for Mark Wood, got Sharma – India's top scorer with 19 runs – caught trying an awkward pull shot.

Mohammed Shami was then caught at third slip by Rory Burns for a golden duck, before Sam Curran got Ravi Jadeja (4) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) both out lbw.

Mohammed Siraj (3) was the last to fall for a shocked India, the ball coming off his bat and landing in the hands of Joe Root at slip, leaving India with their ninth-lowest total in Test history.

England had the chance to get some runs on the board before the end of play and their batters steadily backed up their bowlers' hard work.

Burns and Hameed produced an unbroken century stand for the first wicket to give England a lead of 42.

Burns reached 52 by the close of play – his 10th Test half-century – and partner Hameed will resume at 60 not out on Thursday as England look to close in on an emphatic victory to level the series.

 

Headingley horror for India

India posted their third-lowest total against England with 78 runs and their lowest since 1974 when skittled for 42 at Lord's.

It was India's third-lowest score ever after electing to bat first, meanwhile, behind the 76 they managed against South Africa in 2008 and 75 against the West Indies in 1987.

England were rampant and Anderson in particular was in inspired form, setting the tone early on. Buttler also deserves special praise as he took five catches in an innings for a second time, previously doing so against the West Indies in 2015.

Hameed steps up on return to top two

Burns and Hameed refused to be budged as England became only the third side in Test history to bowl out the opposition and end day one in the lead with both openers still in play.

That is the 22nd new opening partnership used by England in the past nine years, with Hameed opening the batting in Test cricket for the first time since 2016 after jumping the order following Dawid Malan's recall.

Both men faced more than 100 balls but looked comfortable for large parts, with England's opening partnership registering a century at home for only the third time in five years.

Jos Buttler will not be joining up with Rajasthan Royals to complete the 2021 Indian Premier League season in the United Arab Emirates.

This year's tournament was suspended indefinitely back on May 4 amid a rise in COVID-19 cases within the bio-secure bubbles set up for the teams in India.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India have since announced the final 31 games will be staged in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi instead, starting with Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians on September 19.

While the Royals sit just outside the top four ahead of the resumption overseas, they have been dealt a blow following confirmation Buttler will miss the rest of the campaign.

The England wicketkeeper-batsman is expecting a second child with his partner and will not be part of the Rajasthan squad, as confirmed by the team on social media on Saturday.

New Zealander Glenn Phillips has been signed as a replacement for Buttler, who scored 254 runs an at an average of 36.28 in his seven appearances earlier this year, including making 124 – his maiden T20 hundred – against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Buttler is currently part of England's Test squad taking on India in a five-match series on home soil, which will be followed by a busy winter schedule.

The rearranged T20 World Cup takes place in October and November, while the following month sees the start of the Ashes series in Australia.

England's three-pronged spin attack proved to be the difference as the hosts squared the T20I series against Pakistan at Headingley with a 45-run win.

Jos Buttler returned to skipper England as captain Eoin Morgan sat out and he top scored with a stunning 59 from 39 deliveries at the top of the order.

Moeen Ali (36) and Liam Livingstone (38) supplied explosive middle-order contributions, but England lost wickets frequently and there was a suspicion their 200 all out in 19.5 was a touch shy of what was required in perfect batting conditions in a sweltering Leeds.

But a Pakistan batting line-up that posted 232-6 in a 31-run win at Trent Bridge on Friday were effectively shackled by leg-spinners Adil Rashid (2-30) and Matt Parkinson (1-25) and Moeen's off-spin (2-32), with paceman Saqib Mahmood the pick of the attack thanks to 3-33 that began with the vital wicket of visiting captain Babar Azam (22).

Jason Roy set the tone for England's innings with a huge six and a four off slow left-armer Imad Wasim (2-37) before holing out within the first over.

Dawid Malan scratched around for one off five deliveries – top-edging a sweep off Imad to be caught by Azam Khan – although there were no such problems for Moeen in his blistering 16-ball stay, nor Livingstone, who followed up his incredible century in Nottingham by bludgeoning two fours and three sixes. One of those remarkably cleared the grandstand at the Football Ground End.

Buttler was in typically sublime touch through extra cover and only fell to Mohammad Hasnain (3-51) with a thunderous hit straight to Babar at mid-off.

Jonny Bairstow, Tom Curran and Chris Jordan came and went without being able to produce anything of similar substance and the sense England had been slightly wasteful was heightened as Babar and Mohammad Rizwan (37) added 50 for the first wicket.

Babar skewed a cross-seam delivery from Mahmood to a diving Malan and, as Rashid and Parkinson got into their work, Pakistan were unable to regain their momentum.

A fine return catch from Rashid accounted for Rizwan, while Moeen had Mohammad Hafeez caught behind for 10 and bowled Fakhar Zaman with a beauty to scoop the player of the match award.

Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the remainder of England's white-ball encounters with Sri Lanka by a calf injury.

Buttler was named man of the match in the first Twenty20 International of the series after scoring a blistering unbeaten 68 not out in a crushing eight-wicket win on Wednesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman damaged his right calf during that match at Sophia Gardens and missed a series-clinching five-wicket victory at the same venue on Thursday.

Buttler underwent an MRI scan on Thursday morning that revealed a small tear, which will keep him out of the final T20 at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday and all three ODIs.

The 30-year-old will return home to commence a rehabilitation programme on Friday, with Jonny Bairstow expected to keep the gloves in Southampton.

Dawid Malan, the top-ranked T20 batsman in the world, has been added to the ODI squad following Buttler's withdrawal.

England maintained their 100 per cent record in Twenty20 games played at Sophia Gardens thanks to a resounding eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their series opener.

Jos Buttler made 68 not out as England made it seven wins from seven at the venue in Cardiff, this latest triumph sealed with 17 balls to spare as they easily overhauled Sri Lanka's below-par 129-7.

Jason Roy gave the chase a fast start with 36 from 22 deliveries in an 80-run opening stand with Buttler, who hit eight fours and a six during his 55-ball knock.

Wanindu Hasaranga did excel with the ball for the tourists, giving up just 12 runs in his four-over spell, while Isuru Udana bowled Dawid Malan for seven off 14 balls. Jonny Bairstow finished up unbeaten on 13.

Sri Lanka had earlier been indebted to a half-century from Dasun Shanaka, his second at international level in the format, having opted to bat first after winning the toss.

Danushka Gunathilaka made 19 at the top of the order and captain Kusal Perera contributed 30, but the tourists struggled for momentum as they slipped to 79-5 at the start of the 14th over.

Adil Rashid claimed 2-17 in four economical overs, while there was a wicket for Liam Livingstone too. Shanaka made sure Sri Lanka at least finished strongly, hitting three fours and a pair of sixes as 25 came from the final two overs, but their total was no problem for England's powerful batting line-up.


Opening role just perfect for Buttler

Buttler has made clear his desire to continue opening in T20 action for England - and the numbers support his case. This was his ninth half-century in 20 innings at the top of the order, with the milestone arriving from 38 balls with a pulled four to the square leg boundary.

Tourists toil again in format

Sri Lanka have lost 10 of their previous 11 completed T20 matches, a worrying run of form with a World Cup to come later in the year. They do not have to wait long for an opportunity to draw level in this series at least, as the teams meet again at the same venue on Thursday.

Eight of England's 11 players involved in the Indian Premier League have returned home following the indefinite suspension of the tournament.

The decision to call a halt to this year's competition was taken on Tuesday amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in India.

After two cases were confirmed among the Kolkata Knight Riders, Monday's game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed. A Sunrisers Hyderabad player then also tested positive ahead of their fixture with Mumbai Indians.

Focus is now on seeing participants leave the country safely, with fears players would need to self-isolate in India and also return a negative coronavirus test before attempting to get a flight.

However, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy all boarded a flight that landed at Heathrow on Wednesday.

They will have to quarantine in government-approved hotels for the next 10 days.

The remaining three England players who were on duty - Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan - are expected to leave India within the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley has confirmed the contingent of Australian IPL players will be moved to the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the coming days.

The Australian government has blocked citizens returning home within 14 days of being in India, meaning they will first have to isolate elsewhere.

Jos Buttler smashed a majestic century as Rajasthan Royals compounded Sunrisers Hyderabad's Indian Premier League misery with a dominant 55-run victory.

The Sunrisers, bottom of the standings with six defeats from seven, made the dramatic decision to strip David Warner of their captaincy on Saturday and there was no place in their XI for the deposed Australia opener.

Buttler proceeded to provide the sort of fireworks at the top of the order that are seemingly beyond Warner at present, plundering a maiden T20 ton in style as he smashed 124 from 64 deliveries, with 11 fours and eight sixes, to account for the bulk of an imposing 220-3.

Despite the promise of first-wicket stand of 57 between Manish Pandey (31) and Jonny Bairstow (30), Hyderabad's chase never really threatened and they limped to 165-8 – left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman (3-20) the pick of the Rajasthan attack.

Although he had twice come close with knocks of 49 and 41, Buttler entered the match without a half-century to his name in six previous attempts this season.

The England star was not initially at his fluent best, gutsing his way to a 39-ball fifty after surviving an lbw shout from Rashid Khan on seven, the leg-spinner dismissing Buttler's opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal for 12 in similar fashion.

Supported by skipper Sanju Samson (48) in a 150-run stand for the second wicket, Buttler cut loose. The 15th over, Mohammad Nabi's sole contribution with the ball, disappeared for 21, and by the time Sandeep Sharma (1-50) forced him to drag on, Buttler had already walloped three sixes and a four from the penultimate over.

Pandey and Bairstow made light of Warner's axing, although Mustafizur bowled the former off his pads with a slower ball and the procession that followed Buttler's England colleague perishing at long-on off Rahul Tewatia (1-45) showed Hyderabad's problems are myriad.

New skipper Kane Williamson scored 20 off 21 deliveries and any lingering hope was gone when he became Kartik Tyagi's first IPL wicket.

Kedar Jadhav's run-a-ball 19 was the best any one else could muster and he was bowled to be one of three victims for Chris Morris (3-29).

Patience pays off for Buttler

It seems unusual to flag up how a batsman who flayed the opposition to all parts actually played within himself initially, but Buttler shrewdly recognised his way out of a relative slump. "I think sometimes you have to swallow your ego when you're not in perfect touch," he said when receiving the man-of-the-match award.

"You have to give yourself time and find your way. I tried to stay in and keep the belief that something will click." As the final 25 deliveries Buttler faced disappeared for 74, it was fair to say something exploded.

A new role for Rashid

Khan was into the attack early for Hyderabad, Williamson breaking from Warner's habit of using the spinner in the middle overs. The skipper was partially vindicated by the early wicket and it would have been a very different contest had Buttler not survived.

However, Khan's allocation being used by the 11th over arguably left the Sunrisers exposed to one of the most destructive batsman on the planet and lacking the means to check his charge.

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