England stuns India in 'ridiculous' T20 World Cup semi-final act

India had no answer to England's batting masterclass in their T20 World Cup semi-final in Adelaide. Pic: Getty
India had no answer to England's batting masterclass in their T20 World Cup semi-final in Adelaide. Pic: Getty

An extraordinary and flawless run chase has propelled England into the final of the T20 World Cup, after openers Alex Hales and Jos Buttler humiliated India in Thursday night's second semi-final in Adelaide.

After more than three years in the wilderness, Hales helped guide England into Sunday night's final against Pakistan with a match-winning knock against a thoroughly outclassed India side.

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Chasing 169 to win, Hales blasted an unbeaten 86 from 47 balls, combining expertly with his captain Buttler (80no from 49 balls) to chase down India's target without the loss of a wicket, and with 24 balls to spare.

England's stunning 10-wicket triumph in Adelaide sets up a Sunday night final against Pakistan at the MCG, with India unable to set up a rematch of the iconic group stage match at the same venue, earlier in the tournament.

India posted 6-168 with Hardik Pandya (63 from 33 balls) smacking five sixes and Virat Kohli (50 from 40 balls) making his fourth half-century from six knocks in the tournament.

But Hales and his captain Jos Buttler launched an audacious chase: they took 63 runs from the initial six overs and reached a century stand from just 10.1 overs.

Hales was banished from England's white-ball set-up after a second failed drugs test for recreational substances ruled him out of the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

He didn't play for his country again until less than two months ago when recalled to the T20 squad after prolific run-scoring in Australia's Big Bash League.

The powerful opener, who was also involved in Ben Stokes' brawl in Bristol in 2017, stunned India with a daring innings featuring seven sixes and four fours.

England's devastating display of batting left the cricket world gobsmacked, with fans describing the "ridiculous" performance as one of their greatest ever in the T20 format.

"To get the chance to play for England again at a time when I feel like I am playing the best T20 cricket of my career is a great feeling," Hales said.

"It's maybe a chance I didn't think would come around again."

England's openers put India to the sword

Hales' knock overshadowed his skipper Buttler's superb contribution: the skipper set the tone in the opening over of the chase by smacking Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three boundaries.

India, despite enjoying majority support in the 40,094-strong crowd, never recovered as Hales and Buttler (nine fours, three sixes) shredded their bowlers.

The pair put on the highest-ever partnership in T20 World Cups. Their feat was also England's highest opening stand in T20 cricket and the nation's second-largest union for any wicket in the shortest format.

Pictured right to left, England's Jos Buttler and Alex Hales celebrate their T20 World Cup semi-final victory over India in Adelaide.
England's Jos Buttler (right) and Alex Hales celebrate their T20 World Cup semi-final victory over India in Adelaide. Pic: Getty

"Their partnership was fantastic, they put the pressure on us," said India coach Rahul Dravid.

Earlier, Kohli boosted his tournament record to 296 runs at an average of 98.67. Hardik also provided late fireworks as India smashed 68 runs from their last five overs.

Hardik cracked five sixes and four fours in an onslaught which ended on the last ball of the innings when he trod on his stumps facing Chris Jordan (3-43).

Jordan replaced fellow paceman Mark Wood (stiffness) in England's side while Phil Salt was summoned for Dawid Malan (groin).

Both are rated a chance of recovering for Sunday night's final against Pakistan, who downed New Zealand by seven wickets on Wednesday night.

with AAP

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