An incredible unbroken opening stand between Jos Buttler and Alex Hales saw England book their place in the T20 World Cup final with a stunning 10-wicket victory over India in Adelaide.
Hardik Pandya fired five sixes in an excellent 63 from just 33 deliveries and Virat Kohli also made a half-century before being dismissed by Chris Jordan (3-43), brought in to replace the injured Mark Wood, as India finished strongly to post 168-6 after being put into bat.
England made a blistering start in reply, with Hales bringing up 50 from 28 balls and Buttler reaching his half-century from 36 deliveries, with the opening pair annihilating the Indian bowling attack as they raced towards their victory target.
Hales blasted seven sixes in his unbeaten 86 from 47 balls and put on an unbeaten 170-run stand with Buttler (80no), who signed off with a maximum to see England home with four overs to spare.
How England booked their place in the final
England made two changes from the side that defeated Sri Lanka in the final Super 12s match, with Wood undergoing a scan on a right hip problem and a groin injury seeing Dawid Malan replaced by Phil Salt, while India stuck with the same team that played Zimbabwe.
Electing to bowl first, England made an early breakthrough when Chris Woakes found the edge of KL Rahul (5) which presented a simple catch for Buttler, before captain Rohit Sharma (27) put on a 47-run stand with Kohli until he was removed by a smart catch from Sam Curran in Jordan’s first over.
Adil Rashid (1-20) claimed the key wicket of Suryakumar Yadav (14) and India only reached 100 with the final delivery of the 15th over, before a sparkling innings from Pandya and key partnership with Kohli pushed them towards a competitive total.
The pair put on 61 for the third wicket until Kohli was dismissed the ball after reaching his 50, with Rishabh Pant (6) falling in the final over and top-scorer Pandya out when he trod on his stumps from the last ball of the innings.
Buttler made three boundaries inside the opening over of England’s reply as they immediately pulled clear of the required run rate, reaching 63 inside the power play as India’s bowlers failed to control the power hitting of the opening pair.
Hales brought up his 50 in the eighth over and continued his aggressive play, while Buttler reached his half-century by pulling Pandya (0-34) for a six in the 13th over as England moved closer to a big victory.
India’s best chance to break the stand came when Yadav dropped a sliced shot from Buttler and saw the ball trickle for another boundary off Mohammed Shami’s (0-39) bowling, with Buttler then blasting Shami over his head two overs later to seal victory in style.
Sharma: India ‘did not turn up’
England captain Jos Buttler: “The character we have shown ever since [the loss to Ireland] has been [excellent] and we put in our best performance so far, against top-quality opposition as well. We came here very excited, there was a really good feel around the group, and I felt everyone from one to 11 stood up today.”
India captain Rohit Sharma: “It’s disappointing how we turned up today. We batted pretty well at the backend but we were not good enough with the ball. It was definitely not a wicket where a team should chase that down in 16 overs.
“With the ball we did not turn up. Knockout stages are about keeping calm and handling pressure and the way we started with the ball was not ideal. It shows we were a little nervy but you have to give credit to England.”
Watch the T20 World Cup final between England and Pakistan, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event on Sunday. The game will start at 8am UK time.