India’s hopes of winning the T20 World Cup were ended in brutal fashion by a ruthless batting performance from England’s openers in Adelaide. Chasing 169 to win, England reached their target without losing a wicket and with four overs to spare.
What threatened to be a closely fought contest by the end had turned into a one-sided romp.
It means that England will now play Pakistan in Sunday’s final at the MCG in Melbourne. India must head home and try and work out where it all went wrong.
England were forced to make changes to their starting line-up due to injuries to Mark Wood and Dawid Malan, and Chris Jordan and Phil Salt were the men drafted in to replace them.
They won the toss and invited India to bat first, enjoying early success with the dismissal of KL Rahul.
However, Virat Kohli showed why he is the leading run scorer so far in the tournament with another half-century. But despite that, England seemed to have contained India well with some good and disciplined bowling until Hardik Pandya came to the crease.
He managed to put a completely different complex on the innings by blasting 63 off just 33 balls, including 5 sixes and 4 fours. And by the time he was dismissed of the last ball, he had helped India post what seemed a highly competitive scored of 168/6.
England, though, who had struggled to show their real potential as a batting line-up earlier in the competition chose this evening to demonstrate what they are capable of when they are really firing.
Alex Hales – later named Player of the Match – was only recalled to the T20 team after three years in the international wilderness, and who only got his chance after Jonny Bairstow suffered a freak injury two months ago to set the tone by making a rapid start.
His captain and opening partner Jos Buttler was initially content to play second fiddle, but had almost caught up by the end and showed why he was voted MVP in the last edition of the Indian T20 league.
The Indian bowlers just had no answers on the day.
Later, India’s captain Rohit Sharma admitted that his team had buckled under the pressurebut had no excuses for the manner of defeat.
The powerplay made the difference
When India look back on this match, they will reflect that the difference between the two sides is what they did in the powerplay overs. India managed just 38 from their first six overs, whilst Hales and Buttler managed 63 between them.
This is not the first time that India have been accused of taking a safety first approach at the start of an innings, but seldom can they have been punished for it so badly. It suggests that if they want to win World Cups in the future, a more aggressive approach might be needed.
Although India have coped well without the injured Jasprit Bumrah, this was the day on which he was really missed. Not only does he have the ability to take vital wickets, but he could have brought a degree of control which would have slowed the England scoring rate.
With Bumrah’s long-term fitness a continuing concern, there is a clear need to develop a viable alternative.
Mixed batting performances
Although Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav can return home with their heads held high, other members of their batting line-up have been less impressive.
Rahul was inconsistent, whilst Sharma appeared weighed down by the burden of captaincy. And he never was able to set the tone for an innings as opener.
England deserve some credit
Whilst from an Indian perspective the emphasis will be how they choked on the big occasion, it would be a disservice to England, who outplayed them in most aspects of the game.
Earlier in the tournament they had come in for a lot of criticism in losing to Ireland, with critics accusing them of being too conservative. They seem to have heeded some of those lessons.
Had India been able to make any breakthroughs, it might have been a different story. But in the event, nobody got to find out.
Now they have to do it again in Sunday’s final against Pakistan.
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