India storm into T20 World Cup final with 68-run drubbing of England

Providence (Guyana): Team India stormed into the T20 World Cup final with a comprehensive 68-run win against defending champions England in a semifinal delayed by showers and subsequent interruptions on a slow pitch at the Guyana National Stadium on Thursday.

They will now take on South Africa in the title match to be played at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday.

Chasing a strong 171 for 7 that was built on a half-century from captain Rohit Sharma (57), a fine 47 by Suryakumar Yadav and some late hitting from Hardik Pandya (23), Jos Buttler’s side were bowled out for 103 in 16.4 overs courtesy some fine spin bowling from left-armers Kuldeep Yadav (3/19) and Axar Patel (3/23).

Buttler (23), Harry Brook (25) and Jofra Archer (21) were the only English batsmen who could put up decent scores as India tightened the screws with an allround show in the field.

It was sweet revenge for India, who were beaten at the same stage by England in the Cup’s previous edition in 2022 at Adelaide, Australia.

Put into bat here, the Blues got off to a shaky start. Rohit played and missed the first ball from left-arm seamer Reece Topley and got an edged boundary past short third man on the second. The Indian captain continued to live dangerously, getting away as a cut off pacer Archer on the last ball of the second over went right through Phil Salt’s hands at point. He was on 5 then.

Virat Kohli looked like he would turn it on from the other end as he thumped Topley for a six before trying to repeat the shot, missing the line and losing his leg stump for just 9. India 19 for 1 in the third over.

Rohit then picked out Topley in the third over, pulling the tall pacer for a boundary and then unpacking a drive that raced past cover to the fence.

Left-arm seamer Sam Curran was introduced in the sixth over and struck with his second ball as Rishabh Pant tried to hit him over mid-on, only to balloon a catch to Jonny Bairstow after making 4. India 40 for 2.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid came in next and was swept and reverse swept for boundaries by Rohit as the Indian total picked up momentum. Surya too got into the act with a six over fine leg off fast bowler Chris Jordan before rain returned and forced players off the ground at 12.23 pm local time. India were 65 for 2 in 8 overs then.

The game restarted at 1.40 pm, which meant over two-and-a-half hours of play was lost —earlier, light drizzle and wet outfield had delayed the start of the match by an hour and 15 minutes.

Rashid could not quite come to grips with the ball, sending down full tosses as India picked 10 runs off the over to be 77 for 2 at the halfway stage.

Rohit launched Liam Livingstone into the sight screen from the other end as the score began to swell. It reached the triple figure mark in the 13th over as Rohit carted Curran over square leg for a six. SKY too got a maximum and a boundary as they accumulated 19 runs from the over.

Soon, Rohit was bowled, done in by the low bounce as he tried to blast Rashid out of the ground. Surya followed, caught by Jordan in the deep as he attempted a six off Archer.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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